- Camp in remote Lobeke National Park, rarely visited by outsiders
- Watch forest elephants dig for mineral salts at Dzanga Bai
- Trek for lowland gorillas and mangabeys in the jungles of CAR
- Meet pangolin researchers studying these heavily-trafficked animals
The rainforest of the Congo Basin holds many secrets. Rare forest wildlife hides between the trees, hard to spot. But in certain places, the forest fades away to reveal magnificent bais – or clearings – where the mineral-rich soil attracts all kinds of wildlife.
This trip explores the bais and surrounding jungles of remote Lobeke National Park, in Cameroon, and Dzanga-Sangha National Park, in CAR. The former offers a wild, untamed experience, exploring a park that few have visited. The latter is one of the best places to spot forest elephants but also offers the chance to see lowland gorillas, pangolins, mangabeys and picathartes.
We are still finalising details of this trip, which we are expecting to depart in December 2020. Please enquire to register your interest.
Lobeke National Park
Few places make Dzanga-Sangha seem on the beaten track, but Lobeke does just that. Although part of the same tri-national reserve as Dzanga-Sangha and Nouabale-Ndoki (Republic of Congo), Lobeke is the least known of the three.
Hidden in a remote corner of Cameroon, separated by several days of driving from Yaounde, this park receives only a handful of visitors each year. Almost no infrastructure exists within the park, meaning camping is the only option.
However, this remoteness and lack of development make for a wild, forgotten feel. In spite of the threat of poaching, wildlife survives here, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, forest buffalos and sitatungas.
A number of bais dot the park, but one of the more prolific is the idyllic, palm-fringed Petite Savanne. Camp here and spend time at the observation platform, which looks out over the grassy bai. It is a question of patience, as you wait for the wildlife to come to you. But this bai offers the best chance of seeing elephants and gorillas in Lobeke.
Dzanga-Sangha National Park
Famed for the prolific Dzanga Bai, this park survives in spite of all of the problems in CAR over recent years. Time at the observation platform that looks over Dzanga Bai is the highlight of any trip, with this muddy expanse regarded as arguably the best place to see forest elephants. There is also a slim chance of seeing bongos - unheard of elsewhere.
However, unlike Lobeke, accommodation is not quite as rustic. The simple but comfortable Sangha Lodge remains the best place to stay and is managed by the incredibly knowledgeable Rod Cassidy - a South African guide who has made this park his home, staying through thick and thin.
As well as the bai, Dzanga-Sangha offers a range of other experiences that are almost unique to the park. Track habituated families of both mangabeys and western lowland gorillas, join the local Ba'Aka people on a net-hunting expedition and meet pangolin researchers. This is one of the best places to spot pangolins and there will the chance to head out at night in search of them.
The trip will be led by Guillermo Casasnovas, an expert in the region who has guided extensively throughout West and Central Africa. Guillermo is based in Douala, in Cameroon, and has explored the country thoroughly during the years he has lived there. These travels have taken him to the country’s remotest corners, including Lobeke, and across the border into CAR.
ACCOMPANIED BY ONE OF OUR TEAM
As with our other Pioneering Group Tours, this trip will be accompanied by one of the Steppes’ team. This not only means that a friendly face will be there at all times – willing to help out and deal with any issues that might arise – but it also gives us the chance to explore a destination that is just as new for us as it is for you.
This trip will be accompanied by Rob Gardiner, Steppes' Africa Product and Sales Manager. Rob and Guillermo have travelled together before, accompanying our successful pioneering trip to Gabon in January 2019.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.