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Where is African parks planning to upgrade next?


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#41 wenchy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:49 PM

As someone who is resident in West/central/sahel 85pc of the year I hope AP does not implement their Zakouma model to pendjari in terms of restrictions.

Hopefully guides like @Tony Busanga & other wildlife enthusiasts go into the west/sahel/central parks. Visit Gola, W, niokolo koba, bioko, kanji, benoue, lobeke, tai etc etc.

Two recent trip reports had pygmy hippo sightings at Gola! You can find African manatee in Senegal!
Just go!!

These regions are not merely black holes on a map. They have industry, infrastructure, development​ happening. They have available logistics.

As for cost - the average traveller needs to understand west/central/sahel is exquisitely expensive for EVERYTHING. That price does not necessarily reflect quality either. It's just how it is. Operational & logistics for Zakouma would be enormous. 390k revenue is pittance.
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#42 inyathi

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:05 AM

@wenchy Interesting suggestions, since AP is protecting a sizeable chunk of the Congo Basin Rainforest in Odzala Kokoua it would be good to take on an area of Upper Guinea Rainforest as well such as Tai NP in Cote D’Ivoire.

 

Gola Forest straddles the Sierra Leone/Liberia border it supports a good variety of endangered wildlife and is particularly noted for its birds which is why the newly created national park on the Sierra Leone side is well supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Gola has been one of the RSPB’s main overseas projects for some time now they were instrumental in helping to get the forest declared a national park. I’m not sure how things have progressed but it is hoped that Gola can be turned into a transfrontier Peace Park so that both sides of the border are protected. The RSPB quite often have updates from Gola in their magazine with camera trap images of some of the wildlife including chimps and pygmy hippos. Obviously Sierra Leone’s fledgling tourist industry was very hard hit by the Ebola crisis but since that ended tourists have started going back. I’m not sure how many people go into Gola NP but certainly small numbers of tourists visit neighbouring Tiwai Island Sanctuary which is one of the best place to see primates like the beautiful Diana monkey. The island is in the middle of the Moa River next to Gola Forest and there is if you are extremely lucky a chance of seeing pygmy hippos if you go out at night. 

 

Gola Rainforest National Park


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#43 wenchy

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:03 AM

Thanks @inyathi . If you have any interest in going I have the senior researcher working in gola & coordinating guest guiding logistics email info. The trip reports were not camera traps but actual sightings by tourists. I'd recently considered it after pendjari & arli but opted for tai instead.
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#44 Soukous

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:13 AM

@Soukous

 

Surely the prime goal of any business is satisfied clients.

 

If its just a business yes but no if its not just a business. Tinga's foremost objective is to cater to the expat population in Chad and governmental people and some not too fussy and demanding international visitors ( surprisingly so far it has done a good job of attracting them). It is another story when someone experiences Camp Nomade and tries to recreate that ecosystem in Tinga so even lower dollars than CN can be paid and experience can be maximized.

 

Is that the future for Tinga? No idea, time will tell and I am 100% confident APN will make a plan that works for Zakouma, park management and the ultimate stakeholders- the Chadians and the wildlife. I will not pretend to know what it is.

 

However my personal opinion:

At 6500 bed nights and roughly 25% occupancy I think its fine with 3 vehicles or so except during Xmas-NY break, Easter maybe as average occupancy is currently 10-15 people per day? If you have a reputable agent who has honestly booked the vehicle in advance ( last I checked Tinga had bookings on an itemized basis -room, food, game drives, private vehicle), there should be no need to worry. If you drive in as an expat in your own car to Tinga and have not booked vehicles and you manage to come on the Easter weekend ( or these two trips in March with STers- I think there is also a German tour group coinciding in one of those weeks :-D) then maybe those poor expats from NDJ will face a problem. Noone buys 6-8 vehicles at these levels of occupancy to keep them idle for most of the time in a park which has only 20 weeks of tourism.

 

Hypothetically, I will tell you one major concern about getting guides into Tinga who have or have not experienced CN ( maybe even worse if they have) and this did not occur to me till 2-3 days back and I was pondering if one should discuss it or not but in good faith, here goes - 

 

Private guides in general break small rules, they are very good with respecting rules which disturb animals but not so much around tourism. The guests will push the guide and the local Tinga guide. These trips are marketed using pictures while staying at Camp Nomade. Technically, one is not allowed to fly camp from Tinga, but lo behold now you have someone who has experienced Camp Nomade and now wants the full Camp Nomade fly camp infrastructure ( which is a full day job for the troops who put up the camp and food). They will sneak in and out of Riguek which is strictly not allowed when Camp Nomade guests are there ( we saw this happen once with a Tinga vehicle even without a freelance guide, now add in his/her efforts to maximizing viewing). This needs to be avoided and unfortunately its easy to say " I am happy with CN guests getting priority in everything" because we know this can be broken when noone is looking :-)

 

No argument there @Anita your knowledge of Zakouma and African Parks far exceeds my own.

and if, as you say, the risk of insufficient vehicles only occurs at peak periods then it is a relatively easy task to avoid those periods.

 

I do have confidence though that African Parks will get it right.


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#45 Anita

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:21 AM

@Soukous my knowledge is very limited but like you my confidence is very high :-)
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Ask not what a park/an organization/a country can do for you; ask what you can do for them ;-)


#46 inyathi

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:32 PM

Thanks @wenchy there’s obviously a better chance of seeing a pygmy hippo than I thought. I had hoped to visit Sierra Leone a few years ago but that didn’t work out, hopefully I may get there sometime although at the moment I’m not sure quite when that might be. Even so yes if you have some contact emails you could PM me that would be great.



#47 jeremie

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 01:23 AM

@Anita / @Soukous

 

Central Africa and more generaly the Sahel region has now a very bad reputation, especially in France, because of the Boko Haram terrorism issue. I have no doubts that one day (mid to long term) the situation will stabilize and that europeans, especially Italian and French citizens will travel back to Niger, Mali and Chad. These travelers should be interested to combine Zakouma with the Saharan more clasic destinations.

 

If restrictions have been reduced to travel in Chad lastly, business is still at its low.

 

What I want to state is that the security context is not favoring traveleres, businessmen and expats to visit Zakouma today, and it is likely that Zakouma will continue to need donors for a long time to finance the needs of the park. Chad is a corrupted, undeveloped country. This is a very diferent situation compared to Rwanda with its steep economic growth, which offer stability and good conditions for international and local tourism (Akagera earnings from local tourism is about $600 kUSD.

 

Meanwhile, APN has always showed to develop good strategies and businessplans, I am sure they will continue to slowly increase their revenues in the Park. I have great hopes that the development of Ennedi as a protected area will boost tourism back to Chad if the region continues to be safe (what would hapen is Deby leaves is another story), the Northern region is safe, contrary to the regions neighboring Cameroon, Nigeria (Boko Haram), Darfour (Chadian rebels and unstable region) and CAR (the government hardly control some neighborhoods of Bangui with th help of the French army). 

 

As @inyathi I hope one day Manovo will recover, but I am very pesimistic. Eastern Chad is a no go zone, Bangassou in the South is now controled by the Seleka militias and refugees had to flee to safer areas (Chinko is actually the safer place in the area). Same for the Northern region of CAR. Borderline with Southern Sudan is infected with rebels of the LRA and other groups. The Ugandan and American special units left the country and stoped the track of Joseph Kony, which will probably lead to more instability. And things are going worse and worse.

 

Given this situation, I am deeply impresed about the results of APN in these two protected areas, but more especially to be able to stabilize the larger area surrounding the parks. APN parks are not only well managed on the conservation point of view, they proved to be great oportunities for security, development, work oportunities for the local populations around the parks. It is thus  mistake to try to evaluate the results of the NGO only focusing on the economic results of the protected areas.


Edited by jeremie, 23 May 2017 - 01:31 AM.

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#48 Anita

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 03:48 AM

@jeremie very well said and with great insight. Many great points in your post, for everyone to remember when we turn myopic about places and their transactional/transitory tourism potential to us as tourists and agents and then sometimes even loosely and inaccurately dramatic - there is a big picture APN needs to work towards. I am not on a computer but if you can, should share the links of the annual reports here too as it would greatly help people who read this thread to also get a gist of APN more thoroughly - even if one just reads the Chairman and CEO message and the map showing their imminent plans.

Well said again - so important to understand what conservation in these places means!
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Ask not what a park/an organization/a country can do for you; ask what you can do for them ;-)


#49 jeremie

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 04:10 AM

True @Anita, I will follow your recomendation.

It is very interesting to read these reports to understand what are they really doing. You can easily suscribe to receive the newsletters.

 

Here is the anual 2016 report I have published in the Newsletter section of ST:

http://safaritalk.ne...rt/#entry224543

 

And here is the last monthly report:

http://safaritalk.ne...monthly-report/

 

Hope this will help to better understand APN job with huge issues such as: be involved on many fronts for massive wildlife restocking, fighting to stop poaching, securing areas in unlaw areas, protect locals from rebels, promote sustainable economic and social development for the comunities around the parks...

 

I do not think APN will try to get another park in these dificult areas, they already have huge challenges with Garamba (with the largest ranger forces and the larger bugdet of the portfolio), Chinko, Odzala and Zakouma.


Edited by jeremie, 23 May 2017 - 04:15 AM.

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#50 wenchy

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Posted Yesterday, 10:48 PM

@jeremie

" Central Africa and more generaly the Sahel region has now a very bad reputation, especially in France, because of the Boko Haram terrorism issue. I have no doubts that one day (mid to long term) the situation will stabilize and that europeans, especially Italian and French citizens will travel back to Niger, Mali and Chad. These travelers should be interested to combine Zakouma with the Saharan more clasic destinations. "

BH is largely restricted to lake Chad region affecting only northern Cameroon ( garoua and beyond ) & diffa on Niger side ( ie you can travel to zinder without fear of bh incursion ).BH does not affect central Africa

Southern mali is still accessible. Security precarious but ok in bamako. Even djenne is accessible. Any further north is absolutely off limits/NOT safe. Between Al sahwari /mujao & the now merged Al mourabitoun , ansar dine & aqim along with the multitude of independent group banditry Mali is only going to further deteriorate in the future.

Niger - niamey, tahoua, W np are very accessible and safe. zinder much the same with termit being accessible with obligatory military escorts. I was in arlit and agadez area with safety being an issue due to human/drug trafficking routes and the economies that have spring up around it. The positive is that northern Niger is FULL of surveillance security ( vs no man's land in northern mali )

In Chad both spazidavventura & FJ are still active in treks to ennedi, tibesti ( eastern , mtns ) emi kousi , etc. FJ heading to tassilli n'ajjer(algeria) and sudan as well. However I did tibesti and there are land mines still plaguing the region. Clearing operations underway but still present and the closer you are to the Libyan border the more precarious no matter how desolote a region.

Nigeria - BH only operates kaduna region to borno. Otherwise parks like kanji, cross river no, afi mtns are very much unaffected by BH.
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#51 jeremie

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Posted Today, 05:19 AM

@jeremie

" Central Africa and more generaly the Sahel region has now a very bad reputation, especially in France, because of the Boko Haram terrorism issue. I have no doubts that one day (mid to long term) the situation will stabilize and that europeans, especially Italian and French citizens will travel back to Niger, Mali and Chad. These travelers should be interested to combine Zakouma with the Saharan more clasic destinations. "

BH is largely restricted to lake Chad region affecting only northern Cameroon ( garoua and beyond ) & diffa on Niger side ( ie you can travel to zinder without fear of bh incursion ).BH does not affect central Africa

Southern mali is still accessible. Security precarious but ok in bamako. Even djenne is accessible. Any further north is absolutely off limits/NOT safe. Between Al sahwari /mujao & the now merged Al mourabitoun , ansar dine & aqim along with the multitude of independent group banditry Mali is only going to further deteriorate in the future.

Niger - niamey, tahoua, W np are very accessible and safe. zinder much the same with termit being accessible with obligatory military escorts. I was in arlit and agadez area with safety being an issue due to human/drug trafficking routes and the economies that have spring up around it. The positive is that northern Niger is FULL of surveillance security ( vs no man's land in northern mali )

In Chad both spazidavventura & FJ are still active in treks to ennedi, tibesti ( eastern , mtns ) emi kousi , etc. FJ heading to tassilli n'ajjer(algeria) and sudan as well. However I did tibesti and there are land mines still plaguing the region. Clearing operations underway but still present and the closer you are to the Libyan border the more precarious no matter how desolote a region.

Nigeria - BH only operates kaduna region to borno. Otherwise parks like kanji, cross river no, afi mtns are very much unaffected by BH.

 

 

Yes, as you said, the only classic destination in the region that can still be visited safely is Northern Chad. It is now very unsafe to visit the Cameroonian Extreme North (Waza, Maroua) and North region (Garoua).

I hope I will go with SVSTchad (same as Spazzi Rocco Rava's company) to visit the Ennedi in a couple of year.

 

French trekking agencies now longer offer trips in Southern Algeria (Adrar, Tassel), Lybia, Mali (Dogon and Gourma regions, Extreme North), Mauritania and Niger. (Aïr) Chad because of AQMI and Boko Haram has very bad press, and few companies still have demands for this country, which unfortunately led many agencies to close their programs in Chad.

 

Yes Northern Niger is full of security, principally due to the Uranium mines of Arlit, Taza, Akouta, Imoumaren, and other mining concessions all West to the Aïr mountains. But Agadez is also the main gate to cross the Sahara for the migrants trying their luck in Europe. My ants used to travel in Northern Niger, they are not ready to come back (she also visited Socotra and Yemen and the Afar region, which shows they are not to closely regarding about the destinations).


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