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Found 39 results

  1. To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour William Blake Auguries of Innocence So starts one of the world’s best poems (always for me). It harks of lost days when we used to stop to examine a flower, or chase a grasshopper, or lie on the green carpet of grass, or kick the waves in the sand. When we were kids, unafraid of anything, free of the chains of fear. How does that relate to Zakouma? The newly opened park is exactly that – a paradise for me, and a haven for animals. The poem descends into a whirlpool of depression and repression, but for Zakouma, the opposite is true – it has rebounded from the repression and the loss, the forgotten and the hopelessness. For me, the trip to Zakouma began on a whisper of hope and ended with buckets of optimism, even if tinged with fears for the future.
  2. Here is Last October APN monthly report: Highlights on: - the birth of cheetah cubs in Liwonde, - big sentences to rhino and elephant poachers in Malawi, - MOU between Chand and South Africa for the reintroduction of black rhinos in Zakouma. - Sinia Minia agreement to be included in APN portfolio.
  3. From the moment that @@Paolo posted his first report from Zakouma it has moved to the top of my bucket list. Unfortunately all the trips I could find were beyond my budget. The logical next step was to put together my own itinerary. So I did. The itinerary is not very long - at the moment it is just 8 nights - but could easily be made longer if that is what people want. However this will give you an idea of costs. Proposed departure date is February 2018 Itinerary 1 - arrive N'Djamena - overnight in Mercure Hotel (dinner not included) 2 - en route - overnight camping 3 - arrive Zakouma - Tinga Lodge, twin share 4,5,6,7 - Zakouma National Park - Tinga Lodge 8 - en route - overnight camping 9 - arrive N'Djamena, trip ends Cost per person: In a group of 4 people is Euro 3,160 In a group of 2 people is Euro 3,740 Included: 4x4 vehicle(s) specially equipped for desert expeditions. (for a party fo 2 people there would be 1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser, for a party of 4 there would be 2 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers) English speaking guide (European with extensive knowledge of Chad Government travel permits local taxes full board for days 2-8, cook and all kitchen equipment provided accommodation: 1 night N'Djamena, 2 nights desert camping, 5 nights Tinga Lodge, Zakouma all camping equipment (except sleeping bags and pillows) park entrance fees 10 game drive activities in Zakouma Excluded: International flights Visas travel insurance personal expenses tips meals other than breakfast in N'Djamena drinks So there you have it. Is anyone interested???
  4. Great news from Chad, including rhino relocation- The Government of the Republic of Chad and African Parks announced on Tuesday October 10th the signing of an agreement for the management and protection of key reserves Siniaka Minia, Bahr-Salamat and wildlife corridors around Zakouma National Park, to create the Greater Zakouma Functional Ecosystem. African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages protected areas on behalf of governments across Africa, has managed Zakouma National Park since 2010. The results achieved in Zakouma enabled the extension of the mandate to manage a much larger landscape, securing vital habitats beyond the national park. Zakouma National Park is home to the country's largest population of elephants, which was reduced by 95% due to rampant poaching between 2002 and 2010. In the seven years since the Government of Chad delegated management to African Parks, law enforcement measures and community programmes have practically eliminated poaching and the elephant population is on the increase for the first time in a decade. "The Government of Chad has shown extraordinary vision in committing to the conservation of its irreplaceable parks," said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. "Through our partnership in Zakouma, our actions have produced stability and security for both local communities and wildlife, paving the way to incorporate the Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat Wildlife Reserves, and important corridors between them within our management mandate. We are immensely grateful for this partnership, and for the support of the European Union and other funding partners who have made this possible." The key priorities will be to reduce poaching and human-wildlife conflict through the improvement of law enforcement; to promote national capacity; and to contribute to socio-economic growth. On Sunday October 8th, the Governments of Chad and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable African Parks to translocate a founder population of black rhinoceros from South Africa to Zakouma for reintroduction to Chad next year. This commitment to fortifying security and eliminating poaching to facilitate the safe return of key species is a critical component of the restoration of Zakouma, and the larger ecosystem. "The satisfactory results that we have achieved in this public-private partnership stem from the foresight of His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic, Head of State," said Chad's Minister of Environment and Fisheries Ahmat Mbodou, "The conservation and sustainable management of resources is in perfect coherence with Chad's 2030 vision and the objectives of sustainable development."
  5. I was very pleased to see a familiar face in one of this morning's papers amongst the winners of this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards, the winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2017 is Rian Labuschagne, a very worthy winner of this lifetime achievement award. For six years from 2010 he was the Director of Zakouma National Park in Chad. The security plan that he put in place completely transformed the situation for the park’s elephants from a point where their numbers had dropped to under 450 and herds were so stressed that they were no longer breeding, to the situation now where their population is rising and has passed 500. Were it not Rian and Lorna and African Parks, Zakouma’s elephants (and much of its other wildlife) could have been lost and with them one of Africa’s great national parks. Last year they left Zakouma and returned to work for the Frankfurt Zoological Society in the Serengeti in Tanzania, where they had been based before moving to Chad. While in Tanzania Rian helped to improve the protection one of the country’s last black rhino populations the Ngorongoro Crater and prior to that he was instrumental in seeing black rhinos reintroduced to Malawi, to the rhino sanctuary established in Liwonde NP. I’ve no doubt that he could not have done so much for the conservation of Africa’s wildlife without the help of his wife Lorna, what they have together achieved is just extraordinary. While not everyone here on ST will have the good fortune to visit Zakouma, many will be able to visit (or already have visited) Ngorongoro and the Serengeti and should you be fortunate enough to see a black rhino when you're there, it will in part be thanks to Rian’s hard work. Tusk Conservation Awards - Rian Labuschagne Rian giving a bull elephant a drink in Zakouma Here are a couple more Tusk videos and if you go to YouTube you can find more videos on the other winners and finalists at this year’s awards.
  6. Here is the August 2018 APN Monthly newsletter: APN is working hard to reintroduce black rhinos in Zakouma in the next dry season, and are working closely with the governmente of Chad to manage the new Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve in the North of the country. They are also working on an extension of the area under their management in the larger Zakouma region. Lions reintroduction in Liwonde is planned for next year, where the cheetahs are still going well. The situation is still very dificult in Chinko because of the civil crisis in CAR. Bangweuleu game reintrouction is going well, with large herds of pukus reintroduced in the last weeks.
  7. I had not intended to post this trip on ST, but now that it has been referenced here, I thought I may as well put it up here for any of you who may be interested in joining. We are running 2 back-to-back trips in March 2018, led by Doug MacDonald. There are 6 spots in each group. Group 1 is fully booked and group 2 has 4 slots remaining, so feel free to PM me if interested. The details of the trip can be found here: With all the new rules and restrictions being envisaged for 2019 onwards, this looks more and more like a pretty good deal Doug and I started putting this trip together a long time ago, and it makes us very happy to think of it as a solid model for the future.
  8. Here is the last newsletter from African Parks. Interesting is to note that Liuwa current Manager Robert Reid will take the position of Field Operation Manager in Siniaka Minia, Chad. I have tried to find further information about this news, but I did not find anything about. APN's interest in Siniaka Minia was released in an article a couple of years ago, but no official communication from the Chadian authorities or from our preferred NGO was done until now on this matter. I hence understand that there is a new conservation project in the air in Chad, which is great and shows the strong commitment of this country for conservation of its wildlife and natural national heritage. There are some important advances in OROA in the Swahilian ecoregion, Ennedi was declared as a World Heritage in 2015 with a project with APN to manage this area as a natural and cultural reserve, Ounianga lakes few years before, Zakouma administration was given to APN in 2010.
  9. Here is the NGO 2016 anual report: There are huge efforts to reintroduce species and recover landscapes in difference parks. - Zakouma: elephant population has reached 500 animals. - Chinko: APN is securing a core area where wild dogs, lions, elephants and lord derby elands are to be found. - Garamba: Since Junce the NGO has successfully stabilized the situation after a loss of 3 rangers and 100 known elephants carcasses. - Akagera: Lions population has doubled in less than two years after the big cat reintroduction. - Odzala: Efforts are pursued to control the bushmeat crisis in the Central Africa wilderness. - Liwonde/Majete/Nkhotakota: Big game species and elephants translocation to Nkhotakota project phase 1 was a major success. - Liuwa: Large predators continue to recover in this park holding the second largest wildebeest migration in the world. - Banweuleu: Plans are underway to reintroduce game species. Plans are underway at Ennedi (Chad), Pendjari (Benin), Bazaruto (Mozambique), Buffalo Springs and Shaba (Kenya) to ad new adquisitations to the portfolio. The Ethiopian authorities blocked the NGO bank accounts and plans are compromised at Gambella.
  10. I let you the March-April 2017 APN Monthly report: Here is Peter Fearnhead's letter:
  11. Hello all, We have a very exciting offer available! Doug has secured dates for a private safari in Zakouma for February next year. The price is based on three people in single rooms including all regional flights, accommodation, transfers, private vehicle in the park and will be guided by Doug. See all information and quote on the itinerary: Zakouma National Park with Doug Macdonald 6-14 Feb 2018 If you are interested please contact me Chloe as Doug is currently away on safari. Looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully sending you on your way to the hottest place for safari right now!
  12. In January, 4 new elephants were shot down by poachers at Zakouma National Park, Chad. But as the title of the articule states, Zakouma is one of APN best conservation story.
  13. Zakouma 2015 Returning to Wildest Africa in Style A quick note before starting, when writing reports I always like to go the extra mile for the more remote off the beaten track destinations that I love, because although I would hate to see these places spoilt they do really need just a few more tourists to help ensure their survival. So I'm very glad that we wrote last year's report the way that we did however putting it together did require considerable effort such that prior to this trip both Paolo and I agreed that we would not do another joint report in the same vein as last year's. So I have decided to shoulder the burden of putting a report here on ST, this report will therefore be a largely solo effort though I'm sure Paolo will still contribute whenever he sees fit. When thinking about how I would put together this report I decided that for the main part of the report Part Two that will eventually follow I did not want to write the further adventures of Paolo and Inyathi/Rob in Chad that I would instead try to keep it much simpler and just concentrate on the photos and videos. I thought that just posting a few photos and videos would cut down my workload considerably and indeed it would if only I really could limit myself to just a few but in my case despite my best intentions just a few nearly always turns out to be rather a lot. So this report may turn out to require almost as much effort as last year's but I want to do justice to the majesty of Zakouma and it was always my intention to upload a sizeable selection of my photos and videos to the internet regardless of this report. All photos and videos were taken by myself using a Canon EOS 50D & an EOS 70D and a 15-85mm and 100-400mm MK II. Part One Last year’s trip report was called Zakouma: One Week in Wildest Africa but when I uploaded the photos to Flickr I chose to call the album Unknown Africa – Zakouma NP in Chad, even for me going to the park on that trip was a journey into the unknown. It is incredible to find somewhere that supports such a truly staggering abundance of wildlife and yet remains almost unknown to the outside world. That Zakouma is so little known is really down to the fact that it is in Chad and that in itself is remarkable it is hard to believe that such abundance could still exist in a formerly troubled and war torn country like Chad. What also makes Zakouma very special is to have such a wealth of wildlife in what is still a very wild, very undeveloped and basically unspoilt wilderness this is a rare combination these days. There are large areas in the park like Rigueik that are perfect for game viewing and yet there are almost no tourists at all throughout the entire season of around three months when the area is accessible; anywhere else you would expect to find at least half a dozen tourist camps and have to share some of your sightings with at least one or two other cars but not in Zakouma. You can also still find other places that have the same sense of real wilderness that Zakouma has but not the wildlife spectacle to go with it. If you go right off the beaten track outside the main tourist areas in some of the big Tanzanian parks like Ruaha and Katavi you can still find unspoilt wilderness devoid of tourists but inevitably there’s a trade off. These more remote areas generally haven’t already been opened up for tourism for a reason, to enjoy a true wilderness experience in parks like these you have to sacrifice the great game viewing on offer in their “core” tourist areas. Of course you can with luck still enjoy some quality wildlife encounters but you do have to work hard to find the animals. Either animal densities are naturally low because of the nature of the habitat which may be predominantly miombo woodland (not a good habitat for game viewing) or simply these more remote areas are not as well patrolled by park rangers allowing the animals to fall victim to meat poachers. In the days some fifteen years ago when Katavi NP was still very little known and there was only one very small seasonal camp at Lake Chada it was common to hear gunshots at night and to still find meat drying racks out in the bush. Not so in Zakouma remarkably the wildlife seems to be just as abundant throughout including in the more remote and least explored (even by the Park’s management) corners where you might imagine there would be fewer animals and this is a testament to just how well protected Zakouma is. In the previous report I did address the obvious concern about security and whether or not Chad and Zakouma is a safe place to visit, having visited before I had no concerns this time at all. So all I will really say this time is that the extraordinary abundance of large game ‘meat on the hoof’ seemingly throughout Zakouma is a very good sign of just how safe the park is. In general the remote African bush is a very safe place to be and the fact that the wildlife including the elephants is safe means that you really have very little to worry about security wise in Zakouma. Our first safari to Zakouma in late April last year was a chance for @@Michael Lorentz to go on a second recce trip to the park but it was also a recce for Paolo who was already planning a proper safari to Zakouma this year accompanied by Anita. That trip despite nearly being derailed by early rain had been a huge success, so much so that once I was back home I knew I had to return to see more of this fabulous park but also much as I might want to selfishly keep it to myself I knew that other people needed to come and see it and in doing so help pay for its protection. So I wanted us to write a report that would help if only in a small way to make Zakouma a little bit less unknown and if possible help it take its rightful place on the safari map of Africa. Of course we didn’t want to as it were shoot ourselves in the foot and find that we couldn’t return when we wanted to because everything was booked up by people who’d read our report. Whatever our small contribution the fact that Zakouma is now starting to appear on the tourist map is really down to Michael’s hard work and we knew from him and from African Parks that things would really start to happen this year and if we wanted to be part of it and to be amongst the very first tourists to visit Zakouma in proper safari style then we had to put our names down straight away. So when Paolo asked me if I’d be able to join him on this safari I didn’t hesitate for too long before deciding as I had last year that I would be crazy to say no. In January of this year African Parks set up a mobile camping operation in Zakouma called Camp Nomade and we would have the privilege to be amongst the very first guests to stay in the new camp. Ahead of us African Parks would be hosting some groups consisting of travel journalists (like Financial Times’s Sophy Roberts), and selected people from the safari industry, especially some of Africa’s top professional guides it is hoped that they will return with some of their clients and this will then help to fund the protection and management of this of this special and vitally important wildlife paradise. Camp Nomade will be exclusively marketed and sold through these accredited guides (or the companies they work for) but it is worth noting since staying at the camp will not be cheap that all of the money paid to Camp Nomade goes straight back in to the park. A tourism model that is probably unique within the safari industry. After our pioneering trip last year we had hoped to be the first ever tourists to stay at Camp Nomade but in fact it turned out that Colin Bell and Ralph Bousfield both participants on the guide’s recce trips immediately returned with clients. So we had to settle for being the third group of tourists, the third amongst what I hope will become a small but steady stream of tourist groups to visit Camp Nomade in future seasons. The last of these three guide groups would still be in residence on the night of the 31st of March the day that we planned to arrive in Chad so it was agreed that we should stay the night in N’Djamena before flying to the park on the 1st of April. Spending a single night in NDJ before transferring to the park will be the norm for future tourist groups visiting Zakouma.
  14. I am very happy to see that some progress is being done to manage Pendjari in Benin, which is the best protected area of West Africa.
  15. This is the last report from APN.
  16. Here is May APN monthly report: New cubs in Akagera National Park, Rwanda, raising the current population of lions to 14 animals, including 7 cubs. A new strategy to limit elephant poaching at Garamba National Park, DRC. Preparation of a massive elephant (and big game) translocation in Malawi. Securing 3000 km2 at Chinko, CAR.
  17. This is APN 2015 anual report:
  18. Hello all Following on some recent discussion about travel opportunities in Zakouma National Park, Chad I have pleasure in outlining two invitational safaris that my company will be running to Zakouma next year. If anyone is interested in booking a space on either safari, please contact me on my email: Spaces will be reserved on a fist come basis and I want to highlight that these invitationals are not limited to Safaritalk members, but will be offered to a broader audience. Some spaces have already been reserved. The description of the safaris can be found on these 2 links: INVITATIONAL ONE <> INVITATIONAL TWO <> And then for costs and further info please see the attached pdf: Invitational Safaris to Chad - MarchApril 2016.pdf Each safari will have 2 guides, so therefore 2 vehicles, which will mean no more than 4 guests per vehicle, allowing for excellent photographic opportunities. I hope this will be of interest to some of you and look forward to hearing from you. Zakouma is an extraordinary destination!! Michael Lorentz
  19. Here is the last report from APN. As far as I know, there was no release for March. Great news for Zakouma where the last census/Survey concluded to an increase of large game species, with more than 80 elephants calves seen since 2014. The NGO is about to share the results of Liuwa census in the following weeks. Lion cubs seen in Akagera. Wild dogs, lions and large giant eland herds spotted at Chinko. At Garamba, the situation is bleak, but APN is trying to raise further funds to reinforce staffing, and develop new tactics, to halt elephant poaching which is on the increase.
  20. I'm always keen to draw attention to some of Africa's less familiar parks so I thought I'd post this about a park that is sadly on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites under threat. While looking on YouTube for videos of Zakouma NP I came across this amazing French film “La Rivieres des Lions, la Gounda” Gounda the River of Lions filmed in Manovo Gounda St Floris NP just to the south of Zakouma over the border in northern CAR. Ever since I first read about this park many years ago in a copy of the East African Wildlife Society’s magazine Swara I’ve wanted to go there as much as anything to look for Derby’s “giant” eland. Almost constant instability has made this part of CAR pretty much off limits or at least very difficult to visit and has allowed poachers particularly from Sudan free reign to destroy the areas wildlife. The once very abundant but now entirely extinct western black rhinos were wiped out some time ago and elephants have been receiving a severe hammering from the Janjaweed horsemen from Sudan so just how many elephants are left there now I’m really not sure. Quite what the situation is as far as the other species is concerned I’m not sure either but I fear that in the recent chaos most of the wildlife will have been lost to meat poaching I really hope this is not the case. There is no doubt also a severe problem with illegal grazing which can only have got worse in recent years. Perhaps one day peace will be restored to CAR and the country will have a proper government for once, then maybe if there is some wildlife left this once glorious national park can be restored and protected like Zakouma now is.The following film which is entirely in French is dated 1998 so it just goes to show what an amazing place Manovo Gounda St Floris NP still was very recently and I hope could be again one day.
  21. I would like to share the february 2016 APN monthly report. New elephant poaching cases in Liwonde and Garamba, where giraffe and elephant collaring were underway. In Zakouma, some few sightings of cheetah in the Eastern side of the park. Preparation of the massive elephant translocation in Malawi and rhinos reintroduction in Akagera.
  22. I would like to share with you the first APN newsletter of the year 2016: The NGO starts again with monthly reports.
  23. I have recently returned from a fascinating safari to Zakouma NP in Chad, staying at Camp Nomade. Here I have attached some of my images which I hope give you an indication of the wildlife on offer in this truly remote, wild and most intriguing of wildlife destinations. Feel free to fire away with any questions about the place, there is almost too much to say on here! The trip started and ended in N'Djamena (the capital) where we flew into and out of via Paris on Air France. It was amazing that in just over 5 hours you can be looking at the Eiffel Tower and then Hippos (a small pod can be found in N'Djamena, right outside the new Hilton Hotel). A 2 hour long internal flight the next morning took us from N'Djamena to Zakouma airstrip, a fascinating (if expensive) little flight where terrain changed from the a-typical dessert/sandy soils around N'Djamena to the acacia scrub and pan/wetland systems of Zakouma. Overall feelings were that this is a truly quality wildlife destination with genuinely plenty to see. Buffalo were particularly numerous, with herds of hundreds up to thousands being common. Other notable species of interest were Lelwel's Hartebeast, Tiang, Buffon's Kob and Roan (who seemed to be a rather dark fore-legged morph of what we see in the Kafue). Night drives were the best I have had anywhere with Honey Badger and Serval particularly evident, plus a sighting of the apparently relatively common melanistic White-tailed mongoose. Lion were in good number, seen almost daily, generally a little flighty on average. Cheetah and dogs in theory exist in Zakouma but sightings are sporadic at best for Cheetah (last sighting in the main tourism area was 2014) and dogs are seen sporadically outside the park in the more peripheral habitats, they have never been sighted inside the park (neither has their spoor). Leopard are seen from time to time but not very often. The Elephant of Zakouma are well documented and we saw them well from air and fortuitously on one game drive. The Elephant tend to spend time in the denser acacia thickets which is pretty much impossible to get in to, however they did come out to the core of the park when we were there after a poaching incident the day previous made them head towards the relative sanctity of the park headquarters. I was impressed with both the sheer number of game and birdlife but also by the variety of habit types, something I hadn't come to expect. Although I am not a fan of comparing any one place to another it was very hard to not drive around Zakouma and see areas which reminded me of the South Luangwa and other areas just like the Busanga Plains in the Kafue (particularly with the large flocks of Crowned Crane on the open plains, flanked by Roan antelope and lion). On the face of it the wildlife seemed very familiar in many ways, but when you had a closer look, everything was actually slightly different, from the Abysinnian Roller's pretending to be LB Rollers, to the Buffon's Kob pretending to be Puku... Overall a fascinating place, well worth a visit for those who are up for adventure, and have around 9 to 10K$ to spend!
  24. Wow! The pack was photographed just outside the park (probably in Bahr Salamat) for the first time, though they've been reported to occur in this area for a while. They don't look much like other arid-adapted Wild Dogs (compare these to the scrawny, dark animals in Ishaqbini or even in Laikipia) - lots of white and gold on their coats.
  25. I don't remember I've seen the following article on the website. It was published in the 2015 September issue of the National Geographic magazine I read in the afternoon. I follow the situation very carefully in Central Africa, but I did not realize the magnitude of the challenge that APN was facing in Garamba, Chinko and Zakouma. This article was devastating for me. I really admire the bravery of APN. Cutting the traffic is clearly the key to make peace in this remote corner of Africa...

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