Located 10km from the present Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, the village of Bayanga is home to the headquarters of the Administration of the Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Special Reserve: the Dzanga Sangha Project (PDS). It is also home to the Doli Lodge, a place of hospitality and accommodation for tourists, located on the shores of the Sangha River, starting point for the tourism activities proposed by the ecotourism team of the PDS and by the community tourist guides.
Dzanga Sangha is known for its high density of local fauna and low density of tourists ! It is an ideal observatory for watching forest elephants, primates and other rare mammals, within a dense forest region.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Brazzaville/ Résidence Moungali|
|DEPARTURE TIME||07h AM. Please be prepared for departure at 1 hour before.|
In the camp of Bai Hokou live permanently several researchers from different continents as well as the members of the teams responsible for identifying and following every day the families of gorillas. Early in the morning, at sunrise, a team leaves the camp with information about where the gorillas have settled for the night. As soon as the nests are found, the team follows the tracks of the gorillas left by their movements and food activities.
Day 1: Brazzaville Résidence Moungali
Day 2: Brazzaville Résidence Moungali
The museum and memorial of De Brazza is in close vicinity of your hotel, so we start our city tour with a visit to the memorial dedicated to Pierre Savorgnan De Brazza, the 19th century Italian-born Count who is rightly credited with Brazzaville’s founding for France, as well as for establishing French sovereignty over much of western Central Africa. Newly independent countries were quick to change their names, or those of their important cities, if they reflected their previous colonial masters. Brazzaville has not, which speaks volumes about de Brazza’s character and the respect in which he is still held. De Brazza’s remains as well as those of his wife and children were moved to Brazzaville’s museum to commemorate its opening a few years ago.
Brazzaville’s local markets are open every day but are in full swing on weekends. Poto-Poto market, located in a « quartier » of the city with the same name, and among the liveliest of Brazzaville, has an entire street devoted to West African fabrics from which both Congolese women and men fashion their colourful clothing. Poto-Poto quartier is a good place to look for West African music cds. The market sells primarily vegetables and household sundries, but you will also come across protein in the form of fruit bats and caterpillars. Both markets are jammed with people, therefore between the crowds, heat, refuse, and noise, they are not destinations for the faint of heart, but are, nevertheless, an immensely rewarding cultural experience.
Sunday is a perfect day to visit Brazzaville’s Basilica St Anne’s, or any church you come across on your walk for that matter. You will be welcomed inside where the beautiful hymn-singing cannot fail to move you.
The artisanal market is open all week; a tin-roofed collection of dark, ramshackle stalls selling your best bets for souvenirs. Some of the vendors offer old Congolese artefacts as well. However, if you buy wooden products, you must purchase a customs clearance in order to take them out of the country.
The National Theatre or the Centre de Formation et La Recherche en Art Dramatique (C.F.R.A.D) are the places to go to watch the practices of traditional dance troupes or sign up for drum or senza (thumb piano) lessons. Private performances can be arranged.
Although closed on Sundays, L’ Ecole des Beaux Arts in the Poto-Poto quartier is well worth a stop to look at their students’ paintings, which are for sale and superior to anything you can buy on the streets. During the week you can watch the budding art students at work.
Eight kilometres out of Brazzaville is Les Rapides, the set of cataracts which marks where the Congo River meets its tributary, the Djoue River. These are the same rapids which stopped Victorian era explorers Stanley and de Brazza in their quests to find a navigable trade route from the Atlantic Ocean into the heart of Africa. Les Rapides is a popular place on weekends for beers, local foods and music.
Brazzaville’s Mpila quartier is where the ports are located for the large barges which ply the Congo and Ubangui Rivers. The port is a hectic place, but should you stop by, you might be lucky enough to catch sight of one of these barges, preferably loaded for imminent departure.
Brazzaville is a good place for canned and live Congolese music and dancing, especially on weekends. Several city bars are the preferred hang outs of « sapeurs », members of the society of « elegantly dressed people » and certainly one of Congo’s more interesting cultural phenomena. You will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 3: Brazzaville – Kinshasa – Brazzaville Résidence Moundali
After a guided visit to the sanctuary and the adjacent Lukaya falls and Ma Vallée Lake, we drive back to Kinshasa where we continue our visit with an exploratory city tour.
Once a countryside area along the bank of the Congo River, Kinshasa is an old city that started her history back in the 1890. It is a highly populated city that was merely a fishermen village at the beginning and today, it is home to more than 12 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populated cities in the continent. A day tour in Kinshasa drives us through a series of historical vestiges spread out around the city. These include, but are not limited to, the National Museum of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a display of history about the foundation of the country is on offer – the Kabila Mausoleum (former president of the nation) – the Marché Aux Voleurs, the craft market where you will find some of the most ancient Congolese masks and statues – the old Presbyterian Church – the Boboto Center – some of the lively places like the Gombe Avenue and much more. By 3 or 4pm, we make our way to the pier for exit formalities and catch the ferry for a 20 min crossing of the river. The ambiance of the hectic port, combined with the beautiful sundown and the tropical breeze from the river and the horde of fishermen circulating over the river in their pirogues, will set the mood as we close our day. We return to Brazzaville for a well-deserved dinner and night.
Day 4: Brazzaville – Makoua Akoua Guest House or Similar
Day 5: Makoua – Ouesso – Dzanga Sangha Doli Lodge
Day 6: Dzanga Sangha: Gorilla Tracking and Agile Mangabey in Baï Hokou Doli Lodge
Day 7: Dzanga Sangha: Elephant, Buffalo, Sitatunga, Bongo, Birding etc… in Dzanga Baï Doli Lodge
Alternatively, we may combine cultural activities with the Ba’aka Pygmies in the morning and Dzanga Baï experience in the afternoon. This means we follow a group of pygmies on their forest expedition and experience some of their most secret of net-hunting, medicinal plant gathering, building of huts and other cultural practices. In the early afternoon after lunch in the Lodge, we leave for Dzanga Baï where we spend the afternoon watching animals from the stilt platform, and in the late afternoon, we drive back to the Lodge for dinner and night.
Day 8: Dzanga Sangha – Libongo – Yokadouma Elephant Hotel
Day 9: Yokadouma – Ndélélé - Bertoua Mansa Hotel
Day 10: Bertoua – Abong Mbang – Yaoundé Jouvence Hotel
Another highlight may be in Ayos where Dr Jamot also conducted research in the fight against the ravaging sleeping sleekness. Ayos is a good place to stopover, not only for stretching legs or for a cold drink, but it also features a beautiful bridge across the Nyong River, as well as a roadside market. From Ayos, we are less than a couple of hours to Yaounde which we hope to reach during the day and if we still have some energy, we will go for a short city tour before the nightfall. Overnight in Jouvence Hotel.
Day 11: Yaoundé – Koutaba Paradise Hotel
Day 12: Koutaba – Foumban - Koutaba Paradise Hotel
Day 13 : Koutaba – Bafoussam – Dschang – Ekom Nkam - Douala Foyer Du Marin
Through coffee and cocoa farms, we drive to the main way and proceed to Douala, traversing vast plantations of tropical cash crops including palm oil, pepper, banana, rubber, papaya, avocado, and others. We expect to reach Douala in the late afternoon.
Day 14: Douala - Return flight
We end up at the “Marché Des Fleurs”, the local art and craft market. The region of Foumban in the western highlands of Cameroon is the centre of handicraft production of the entire West & Central Africa and most masks and statues in this region have been produced by artisans from this area. The market will offer the opportunity to purchase some souvenirs that reflect the culture of this area. Depending on the onward flight time, we leave the hotel for the airport in readiness for the connecting flight back home. Tour ends.