Wildlife Group Tour

Chad Group Tour - Zakouma and Wildlife of the Sahel

8 days

from £5,875pp
  • Gain a privileged insight into African Parks' pioneering conservation
  • Search for the park's large herd of 400 elephants, renowned for their unique behaviour
  • Explore a landscape that seasonally floods and is alive with migratory birds
  • Benefit from the expert knowledge of one of the few guides to have visited Zakouma

Led by Doug Macdonald, explore one of Africa’s most remarkable parks. Spend a week staying at the simple but comfortable Tinga Lodge, setting out on a series of game drives and bush walks through this fascinating landscape.

If this group fills, we will reduce the price to £4,550 per person, refunding all six clients £1,325 per person.

Zakouma National Park

Flourishing under the stewardship of African Parks, Zakouma is squeezed between the sands of the Sahara and the jungles of the tropics. Famed for its resurgent elephant population – once poached almost to extinction – the park forms a haven for the region’s wildlife, which includes Kordofan giraffes and West African savannah buffalos.

Explore during the dry season, when this impressive landscape can be accessed at will. Wildlife abounds in Zakouma. And whilst it is the elephants that steal the headlines – moving as they do in one vast super herd – the sheer number of other species is just as impressive. Lions, leopards and numerous antelope species all inhabit the park, whilst recent sightings have confirmed the presence of cheetahs.

On the ground and in the air, the birdlife is also spectacular. Huge flocks of black crowned cranes inhabit Zakouma, as well as pelicans, Abyssinian ground hornbills, maribou storks and black-capped gonoleks.

Doug Macdonald

Doug is a professional safari guide who is based in Zimbabwe and has been leading safaris for over 20 years. Knowledgeable and personable, he is extremely experienced in guiding across Africa. Despite the remoteness of Zakouma, he is lucky enough to have visited several times before and is one of the few guides that can claim to really know the park.

Why We Like It

Zakouma is a unique safari destination, but it is not for the first-time traveller to Africa. If you are lucky enough to have visited Africa a few times and are looking for something different then Zakouma certainly offers that. It also affords a level of exclusivity rarely found elsewhere, with Tinga Lodge the only conventional safari lodge in the park.

What Happens on a Typical Day?

Each day will be slightly different, but the focus will be on wildlife and exploration throughout. Early starts guarantee better sightings, particularly given the hot temperatures that Chad experiences during the middle of the day. Therefore, days are likely to be long, usually with time to rest during the hottest part.

What Is the Accommodation Like?

Tinga Lodge is simple, but comfortable. The rooms are cool, have mosquito nets over the bed and have en-suite bathrooms. In N’Djamena, the Hilton is of an excellent standard and is easily the best accommodation available.

What Will the Weather Be Like?

Dry and hot. Rain at this time of year is almost unheard of, but daytime temperatures can reach the mid-thirties. However, the night is much cooler, with temperatures falling to around 15ºC.

Do I Need to Be Fit?

A high level of fitness is definitely not required, with relaxed bush walks the most exerting part of the trip. However, it is important that you be able to cope with the heat, which is certainly more challenging than during a South or East African safari.

What Wildlife Will I See?

Whilst Zakouma is renowned for its elephants, sighting them can never be completely guaranteed. However, with a week spent in the park, the odds are good. Other commonly encountered animals include lions, leopards, hyenas, antelopes, giraffes, buffalos, servals, jackals and possibly cheetahs.

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arrive in NDjamena off flights arranaged by you

You will be staying at Hilton N'Djamena, Room only

Day 2

Travel from N'Djamena to Zakouma (Air Transfer Journey)

Zakouma is 3,000 square kilometres, a sixth of the size of the Kruger. Its habitat is varied and in parts reminiscent of Kafue and Luangwa in Zambia and also Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. The park is largely flat riverine forest and grassland plains. Large pans, around which numbers of wildlife and birdlife congregate in the dry season, are dotted throughout the park. Lonely inselbergs rise up on the horizon.

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 3

Game drives in Zakouma National Park
Much of the time on game drives will be dedicated to tracking down Zakouma' s remarkable elephant population. Extraordinarily the elephants in the park all live in one single super-herd, however they are difficult to get close to as they spend a lot of their time in thick acacia seyal forest.

The elephants are the poster boys of Zakouma and a rare conservation success story. Their numbers spiralled down from an estimated 4,000 in 2005 to around 450 in 2012. However, since the involvement of African Parks, security has improved, so too community engagement and the decline in elephant numbers has been reversed.

Until January 2016, not a single elephant had been poached in three years and numbers are once again rising. Due to hundreds of years of persecution they are still very wary of people, but thanks to conservation efforts are becoming more tolerant and habituated. Breeding herds are a little edgy, but the bulls are settling down.

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 4

Game walks in Zakouma National Park
With a private guide and accompanied by an armed ranger, a walk or walking safari is a great way to appreciate a very different side of the landscape and learn more about the intricacies of the ecosystem. It is not a forced march and a walk may last from half an hour to a couple of hours. It is about going slow and taking time to admire the landscape. The focus is on insects and plants, discussing their role in nature.

Whilst Zakouma may be most famous for its vast elephant herds, it is the staggering amount and diversity of wildlife that make this park unique. It is an entirely different experience to a safari in southern or eastern Africa. The utter profusion of wildlife, often seen in groups of hundreds or thousands of animals at a time, is incomparable. The birdlife is also incredible, with pelicans, geese and cranes seen in their thousands.

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 5

Night drives in Zakouma National Park
This evening there might be a chance to embark on a night drive. Night drives in Zakouma are a real treat. The chance of seeing nocturnal predators is always a thrill, but there is also an abundance of Africa's smaller predators. The chances of seeing servals, pale foxes and civets are good. The glint of crocodiles' eyes in torchlight along the Salamat River is also quite a sight.

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 6

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 7

You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, Full board

Day 8

Travel from Zakouma to N'Djamena (Air Transfer Journey)

N'Djamena is one of the poorest capitals in the world - its international airport must be one of the smallest international airports in a capital city.

Surprisingly, N'Djamena is home to a thriving horse scene. Every Sunday from December to June, the residents of N'Djamena flock to the spectacle of racing on a dusty track not far from the presidential palace. As a result it is worth trying (although it is not always possible) to coincide your visit so that you have a Sunday at the races.

Depart NDjamena


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Tinga Lodge

Tinga Lodge

An old government-style lodge of some fifty years ago overlooking the Rosse River....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Chad

Bridget Cohen, Travel Expert

"Bridget had a great knowledge of the areas being looked at and given I have spent time in both countries, it required someone who completely understood the type of camps preferred."

"Bridget's service was very personal and friendly whilst maintaining a professional manner. All my questions were dealt with promptly and efficiently."

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Illona Cross, Travel Expert

"Illona was quite simply brilliant. She listened and carefully noted what we thought we wanted, made suggestions and came up with an itinerary which suited us down to the ground."

"Excellent personal service; well-informed local knowledge; dependable outcome; quality of experience."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Enquire about this holiday:

Group Size:

Min 4 / Max 6

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

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