16+
Age
Jan-May
Dates
14 Days
Duration
Central Africa Rep. – Cameroon
Location
4/10
Physicality

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.
INCLUDED
Meet & greet and airport/hotel/airport transfers Double accommodation in the mentioned hotels
Overland transportation in non-air-condition vehicle All visits and entries as described in the program
1x Gorilla permit in Dzanga Sangha A guide
Ferry to and from Kinshasa in the D.R.C. Cultural activities and other mentioned in the program
Water transfer on the Sangha River (Ouesso – Dzanga Sangha – Libongo)
NOT INCLUDED
Visa, flights and travel insurance
Meals and beverage
Unforeseen circumstances and force majeure
Paperwork for visa
Any other upgraded service (must be arranged in advance)

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.

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Day 1: Brazzaville Résidence Moungali

Meet and greet at the Maya-Maya International airport upon arrival in Congo Brazza. Our team member will be expecting you and available to lend you airport assistance if necessary, before ushering you to your car for the transfer to the hotel. Résidence Moungali is an average class hotel located about 3km from the airport. It features good amenities by local standards, and it is clean and cosy, combining a good price and warm service. Depending on traffic, which in turn depends on your time of arrival, you should expect anything from a 20min – 1h ride to reach the hotel, your base from which you will be exploring both Congo Brazza and Congo Kinshasa, that lies just across the majestic Congo River.
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Day 2: Brazzaville Résidence Moungali

After breakfast, we will explore Brazzaville.
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.
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Day 3: Brazzaville – Kinshasa – Brazzaville Résidence Moundali

Kinshasa, the capital of the other Congo (D.R.C.) lies just across the Congo River; together with Brazzaville, these two cities form one of the very few capitals in the world that share boundaries. Our exploration of Kinshasa this day brings us across some of the most obvious highlights that the city has best to offer. In the morning we drive to the pier where we board the ferry and take a 20 min ride across the mighty Congo River for Kinshasa. From the pier in Kinshasa, we board a private car and embark on an excursion to ‘Lola Ya Bonobo’ the world-famous sanctuary of the Bonobo, next to which also lies the Lukaya, Ma Vallée Lake. The sanctuary is a habitat for more than 100 Bonobos, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee, a primate subspecies that is only found in the DRC. The Bonobo Chimpanzee is popularly known for its high level of sexual behavior; sex functions in conflict appeasement, affection, social status, excitement and stress reduction. It occurs in virtually all partner combinations, and in a variety of positions. This high level of sexual activity is a major factor in the lower level of aggression seen in the Bonobo society when compared to the common chimpanzee and other apes. The Bonobos are perceived to be matriarchal; females tend to collectively dominate males by forming alliances and using sexuality to control males. A male’s rank in the social hierarchy is often determined by his mother’s rank. Along with the common chimpanzee, the Bonobo is the closest relative to humans.
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.
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Day 4: Brazzaville – Makoua Akoua Guest House or Similar

Makoua lies about 600km north of Brazzaville, to which it is linked by a sealed road. Marking the southern fringe of the northern Congo forest and traversed by the Equator, Makoua is a strategic stopover for the night en-route to Ouesso that is just 3 – 4 hours ahead. As we leave Brazzaville early in the morning, we embark on a long scenic drive across the northern countryside, spending the greatest portion of the day driving through picturesque habitats, villages, vast spans of forest and dramatic and various landscapes, just to name few. We may stop at a few of the lively towns along the way, including Ngo, Gamboma, Oyo, and Owando, which is the most important neighbouring city. Makoua itself isn’t a major highlight – except for the Equator line and its strategic position as a crossroad between the north and the west; however, it is the best midway place to stop and recuperate for the drive to Ouesso, then Dzanga Sangha in the Central African Republic. After spending approximately 9h drive this day, we expect to reach Makoua in the late afternoon and check-in at Akoua Guest House, a basic accommodation with limited facilities and services, yet the best bet you will have in Makoua. With some amount of forbearance, you will be able to spend a cosy night in readiness for the great adventure to Dzanga Sangha the next day.
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Day 5: Makoua – Ouesso – Dzanga Sangha Doli Lodge

We leave Makoua early by around 5 a.m. and drive to Ouesso that lies 245km ahead and is attainable after approximately 3hours. Ouesso is relatively a big city as per local standards and is the starting point for the voyage to Dzanga Sangha National Park. Upon arriving at Ouesso, we drive to the pier where our private boat is ready for 8 – 9h voyage to Bayanga, the closest village to the world- renowned Dzanga Sangha National Park. Sailing over the majestic Sangha River, the ride is a revelation in itself, an odyssey in the middle of the wilderness. The Sangha River is a cross boundary river for three major wildlife parks in the northern part of the Congo Basin, including Nouabalé Ndoki National Park in Congo, Lobeke in Cameroon, and Dzanga Sangha in the Central African Republic. Along the way we have few stops in Bomassa (Noubale Ndoki National Park) and Lindjombo (the first border post for Dzanga Sangha National Park) for exit and entry formalities for Congo and Central African Republic, respectively. In between both locations, Libongo is a lively district in Cameroon where we can stop if necessary to purchase some cool beer and other sundries before entering the jungle. Upon arrival in Dzanga Sangha, we disembark the boat and collect the keys to our rooms that are within walking distance, just at the edge of the river.
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Day 6: Dzanga Sangha: Gorilla Tracking and Agile Mangabey in Baï Hokou Doli Lodge

Early in the morning (6:00 a.m) after breakfast, we leave the lodge and head on for Baï Hokou, the Gorilla research camp from where our Gorilla trek starts. The road to Baï Hokou is a dead forest track with bumpy portions, potholes and at times obstructed by wind-felled trees and logs, but easily accessible with no major difficulties. From the research camp we join the team of Gorilla researchers and follow them across the jungle in quest of the Gorilla. Depending on the location where they nested the day before, it might take anything from 45 min to 1.5h until we can encounter the Gorilla group. The trek is quiet, under the leadership of our hosts the Ba’aka Pygmies, whose role in the Lowland Gorilla conservation is crucial, as they know the forest and its dwellers better than anyone else in the group. The expedition is led by an eco-guide. Upon meeting the Lowland Gorilla family, we are allowed to stay one hour in their vicinity before heading back to Baï Hokou from where we undertake a second expedition through a short walk close to the camp, to watch a huge flock of Agile Mangabey interacting in their natural habitat. In the afternoon, we drive back to our Lodge for dinner and night.
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Day 7: Dzanga Sangha: Elephant, Buffalo, Sitatunga, Bongo, Birding etc… in Dzanga Baï Doli Lodge

After breakfast, we board our 4WD and drive across a bumpy track on the way to Dzanga Baï. After approximately half an hour ride, we reach the entry point of the Bai and embark on a 20min forest walk crossing a shallow stream (water levels can reach up to the knees) and make our way to the stilt platform in the middle of the forest. From this elevated watchtower, we spend the day watching ahuge number of African Forest Elephants in the Dzanga clearing, as well as numerous other species like the rare Bongo, Sitatunga, Dwarf Buffalo, and a varied number of birds. In the early morning (7am), the baï is home to a massive flock of African Grey Parrots that mostly start their day scavenging for shellfish or other invertebrate in the rich mineral pool of the clearing.
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.
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Day 8: Dzanga Sangha – Libongo – Yokadouma Elephant Hotel

After breakfast at the Sangha-overlooking stilt bar/restaurant, we descend the stairs leading directly to the anchor and board the boat on schedule for Lindjombo then Libongo, the entry point to Cameroon. Sailing downstream on the Sangha River, we have numerous encounters with fishermen and farmers paddling on the way to their respective businesses, as well as renewed chances to spot some fishing birds, different species of fish, marshy forests on both sides of the river, and if very lucky, some hippopotamus and crocodile. We’re required to stop in Lindjombo – the last village of Central Africa – for exit formalities, and a bit further in Libongo that lies just fifteen minutes ahead, for Cameroon entry formalities. From Libongo, we board our private car and drive over a forest road to Yokadouma which we attain after about 08hours. During the scenic drive, we encounter a series of Baka Pygmy settlements along the banks of the dirt road, as well as clusters of local tribes including the Mvonvong, the Mbimo, the Bangando and the Yanguele, all of whom mostly make a living from farming and hunting, if not employed in one of the numerous timber companies around the area. In Yokadouma, we spend the night at Elephant Hotel, the only average accommodation site available in the town. If you feel like visiting the city, provided we reach before dusk, we may walk around and visit the hectic market before it closes, the central place of the city (not too far from the hotel) which is lively, dusty (or muddy), chaotic and noisy, but provides a rewarding experience that helps you soak up the local ambiance of this timber-rich city. There is also a series of bars in which to hangout before dinner and night in the hotel.
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Day 9: Yokadouma – Ndélélé - Bertoua Mansa Hotel

Bertoua, that lies 200km away, is the capital and the most important city of the Eastern Region of Cameroon; often referred to as the ‘rising sun’ region, this part of the country is the ‘lung of Cameroon’ owing to its massive tapestry of rainforest. Other major cities of the region encompass three mid-size cities like Abong Mbang, Batouri and Yokadouma. To reach Bertoua from Yokadouma, it takes anything from 6 – 8 hours driving over unpaved road. As tedious as the ride may seem, this road offers an extraordinary highlight as we cross numerous rustic and virtually empty villages(the region has the lowest population density of the country) where the majority of men lazily lay on their folding chairs around a burning hearth, play drafts, drink local wine/spirit or simply smoke pipes of tobacco, for which the region is a notorious producer. Midway through our journey we attain Mepouta next to Ndélélé. The Kadey River is a good habitat for Hippos and in Kambele, next to Batouri, there is a rustic-style gold mining field, whereas in Gadji next to Bertoua, there is a daily local market, all of which we may visit, time permitting. We expect to reach Bertoua in the late afternoon and spend the rest of the day relaxing at the pool in Mansa Hotel. Mansa Hotel is the best available hotel by local standards, but as with the majority of accommodation sites included in this tour, we strongly advise you to keep your expectations very low, as the level of comfort in this part of the world is miles apart from the western perspective.
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Day 10: Bertoua – Abong Mbang – Yaoundé Jouvence Hotel

The road to Yaounde is totally sealed and takes approximately 07h for a total distance of 340km; so, we depart Bertoua by 6 o’clock in the morning hoping to reach Yaoundé in the middle of the afternoon. One of the interesting stops along the way may be in Doumé, a German colonial town next to Abong-Mbang where we drive past some colonial relics including the prison, the prefecture, or visit the ruins of Dr Jamot house and research centre. Dr Jamot was a French-born Doctor who mainly dedicated his life to the research of prophylaxis against the sleeping sickness. He unfortunately left Cameroon for Senegal after three decades of prodigious medicinal work, following a misleading report holding him liable for the blindness of seven hundred sleeping sickness patients. In reality the tragedy was the result of his young and unexperienced Cameroonian team member giving an overdose of Tryparsamide to a group of patients. This occurred in Bafia in 1928.
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.
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Day 11: Yaoundé – Koutaba Paradise Hotel

Early departure from Yaounde this morning after breakfast. Today we embark on an expedition to the famous Western Highlands of Cameroon, a culturally rich region packed with scenically diverse landscapes, and complex river systems with spectacular waterfalls, vast tropical plantations, colourful roadside markets, pleasant weather and wonderfully warm people. On weekends, the area is a playground for all sorts of cultural ceremonies including funerals, naming ceremonies, circumcision, coronation of new kings, family meetings, and traditional court disputes just to name a few. Including various stops on the way as in Bafia or Mankenene and Tonga roadside market, Bandjoun majestic chieftaincy, the Metché falls close to Bafoussam or the Noun plain next to Foumban, we may reach Koutaba late in the evening. The Bandjoun chiefdom is impressively beautiful. It boasts a modern palace where the chief lives, but adjacent to it is the magnificent huge traditional palace opened to visitors. Built with a thatched roof sustained by highly decorated and carved wood pillars, this bizarre hall is the core centre or the civil cabinet of the Bamileke-Bandjoun Kingdom. The king is powerful and highly venerated as a demi-god; he has the right over life and dead in some cases, can ordain expulsion of unfaithful or disobedient members from the kingdom, pick as many wife as he desires (whether teen or mature), and collect fines and other traditional levies from the people. Surrounded by his staff committee made up of the 9 wisemen, they gather here for hearings of matters related to land disputes, infidelity, stealing, domestic violence, polygamy , heritage, inhumation and exhumation, witchcraft and all sorts of critical matters that may negatively impact the reign of the King. Next to the big hall is a traditional museum which displays traditional objects of various facets of the Bandjoun peoples’ life. It is principally a themed museum that recounts the migration of this semi-bantu people, with great focus on their special skill as hunters, farmers, traders and dancers. It particularly emphasizes the tight connection of the Bamileke people and their love for smith work, which explains a lot about the expansion of agriculture and commerce in the region. Other objects on display include masks, musical instruments, beaded stools, leopard skins, portraits of various kings from the dynasty and much more. After the Museum, we stop at the Métché falls, a dramatic cascade with heavy flows of the Métché River. Because these falls was the execution site of the members of the resistance during the French colonial rules, it today holds a sacred value for the Bamileke people; they perform rituals in the form of sacrifices to the ancestors to whom they offer cola nuts, salt, red oil, jujube, blood and others on annual basis. You’ll be able to see traces of these sacrifices on the spot. We then proceed to Kouataba which we attain an hour and half later.
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Day 12: Koutaba – Foumban - Koutaba Paradise Hotel

The day is spent exploring the Bamoun land, a powerful kingdom founded by the Tikar emigrants under the leadership of King Nchare, whose most celebrated and prodigious grandson and successor King Njoya, is still remembered as the most emblematic figure for the expansion and prestige of the kingdom. Smart and elegant, King Njoya was the 17th of the dynasty and is accredited with many innovative reforms of the kingdom, including the invention of the Bamoun script, the invention of a mechanical mill for grinding cereals, the Bamoun religion , the reconstruction of a more modern and bigger palace, and the current impressive royal museum. Opposite the museum is the royal colourful and crowded market, displaying various sort of commodities including sundries of fresh food, Bamoun fabrics, kitchen utensils, cosmetics, fashion, second-hand clothes, Chinese goods, and a long stall line of handicraft shops. Also, in the premises of the market is the Joya gigantic statue, as well as the ‘big drum’ room. Our visit to the sultanate ends up at the artisan’s village, where literally every house is a workshop with artisans on duty. Here you have the opportunity to bargain and bring home some souvenirs. We then return to the hotel for lunch so that in the afternoon, we may drive to one of the surrounding villages to meet a Bororo (cattle herders) family and later on return to the hotel for the night.
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Day 13 : Koutaba – Bafoussam – Dschang – Ekom Nkam - Douala Foyer Du Marin

We then leave the Bamoun Kingdom in the morning heading toward Douala with a couple of stops on the way including the Museum of civilisation in Dschang and the Ekom-Nkam waterfalls as we descend the heights of the Western Highlands. The waterfalls of river Ekom and river Nkam are as spectacularly beautiful as are those we have seen so far. These cascades gained their fame in the 80’s for being used as partial background for the shooting of the movie Greystock (by the famous French actor Christoph Lambert). Spilling over more than 80m heights, the falls empty themselves on a dramatic ravine in the middle of a lush greenery full of birds. The rainbow colours formed by the spill in the ravine only add to the magnificence of the scene.
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.
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Day 14: Douala - Return flight

Today we explore the city of Douala and its close vicinities: Douala is a steamy African port city with many nice places to visit. The city itself is large with a population of more than three million inhabitants and has not much touristic attractions except for its big market, its handicraft center and few places of interest. As the biggest city in Cameroon, Douala doesn’t attract many leisure tourists, but it does receive many foreign business visitors. Located along the Wouri River on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Douala is considered the economic capital of Cameroon and the sub-region. Being a typical West African port city, demographic pressure and poor administration are somehow the main issues the make-up the character of this very lively city. Traffic jams, large overcrowded markets and hawking are some of the feature of Douala’s daily life – it is a city that never sleeps – also because it is very hot during the day. Renowned all over Africa for its nightlife and restaurants, it is a fusion of arts and culture, hometown of the popular Makossa rhythm best edified by the legendary Manu Dibango and replayed by some of the world’s best, including Michael Jackson, Rihana and Shakira. Douala is also known for the quality of its soccer players – with world stars like Roger Milla, Bell Joseph Antoine and one of the world’s best paid soccer stars, Samuel Eto’o Fils, all calling it home. Our city tour will get us into the spirit of this lively city to showcase its energy, the daily life as well as some of its highlights. The city is dotted with a collections of relics dating from the German & French colonial era as seen in the architecture around the heights of Joss, Akwa and Deido along the banks of the Wouri River.
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.

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