Lobéké National Park, part of the Congo Basin, is located in the extreme south-east of Cameroon. It covers an area of 217,854 ha. Created on March 19, 2001, the management of the Park is part of the transboundary conservation initiative, known as the Tri-national de la Sangha (TNS).
It is a priority biodiversity conservation landscape that includes, in addition to the Lobéké National Park, the protected areas of Dzangha-Sangha (RCA) and Nouabalé-Nkoki (Congo Brazzaville). Lobéké has a network of marshy glades especially on the eastern side of the park.
THE TRI-NATIONAL SANGHA (TNS)
The main protection area of the TNS includes the National Parks of Lobéké (Cameroon), Dzanga-Ndoki (RCA) and Nouabalé Ndoki (Congo). The peripheral area contains production forests (industrial logging concessions, communal forests, community forests), wildlife management zones (sport hunting concessions, community hunting zones) and agroforestry areas and residential areas.
The TNS is a pioneering model for cross-border conservation initiatives and the development of a forest policy in the Congo Basin.
THE ECO-TOURISTIC SITE OF DJEMBE
Djembé is a camp based on the banks of the Sangha River, a natural border between Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville. On the base of Djembé, one meets wild species like the elephant, the gorilla, the sitatunga, the buffalo, the bongo and the wild boar.
Tourists attest to having met the elephants feeding on bamboo, churning gorillas, sequestered in the thickets and the ferocious buffaloes on the road that leads to the base camp.
Djembé is connected to a network of paths that lead to 4 small swampy glades regularly visited by gorillas and elephants. From Djembé, tourists have the privilege to contemplate the forest elephants that cross the Sangha River in a migration corridor between the 3 protected areas of the TNS. Tourists also have the opportunity to practice fishing on the Sangha River and to go up the course of the said river by canoe, thus glimpsing the picturesque landscape offered by the region.
Large forest clearings, sometimes the size of a football field, can be found in Lobéké National Park. These glades, also called Bai, are rich in salt pans. They are real attractions for wildlife. The clearings are large grassy savannas, with unique vegetation, found in the heart of the forest ranges.
These spaces are used by mammals such as elephants, gorillas, buffaloes, antelopes, bongos and sitatungas for their food. In Lobéké, 6 clearings are subject to special monitoring. These are the glades of Bolo, Djangui, Ndangaye, Ngoa, Djaloumbe and Petite Savane. Observation towers (lookouts) were built in these Bais. Lookouts are wooden structures that serve as a platform for viewing visiting animals in clearings. These structures are capable of supporting the weight of 5 people:
- Bolo is a marshy clearing located southwest of the Park. It is accessible from Mambélé (65 km by road and 3 km of hiking). Sitatunga is the dominant species of wildlife likely to be found in this clearing at all times. The elephants wander there from time to time to enjoy the saline of Bolo. Each year, between January and July, the buffaloes also visit Bolo; just like the grey parrots of Africa who operate sporadic invasions there. Tourists can also visit the Bolo Falls a few 3km from the trail that leads to the clearing.
- Ndangaye is located northwest of Lobéké. An entirely swampy clearing, Ndangaye is famous for its sitatungas and wild boar. Gorillas and buffaloes complete the picture of regular visitors.
- Ngoa is the largest clearing in Lobéké. It is a focal point for wildlife species (forest elephants, gorillas, sitatungas, monkeys, wild boars). Located north of the Park, Ngoa is totally inaccessible in the rainy season.
- Petite Savane is a marshy clearing about 47 km from Mambélé. It is regularly visited by some 14 groups of lowland gorillas. Very difficult to observe, the gorillas of the Petite Savane are easily frightened by the slightest noise or the signs of the human presence. The probability of meeting forest elephants is high. Sometimes, they arrive in groups of five and spend some time in the clearing. They also make night visits there. Petite Savane is easily accessible from Mambélé. Tourists can travel 41 km by car and 6 km on foot. La Petite savane is equipped with a viewpoint that facilitates animal observation.
- Djangui is a marshy clearing located in the center of the Park. It is the ideal place for grey parrots of Africa. Every week nearly 200 parrots and other green pigeons invade Djangui. Gorillas and elephants also frequent this clearing; including buffaloes and colobes monkeys. Djangui is a kingdom of mammals, monkeys and birds.