Central African Republic
If the mysterious tropical forests of Africa fascinate you then this is the expedition for you, a journey into the untouched rainforests of Central Africa. This vast region, spanning three countries sparsely populated with Bantu tribes and nomadic groups of Pygmies will not disappoint the adventurer and wildlife lover.
Dzanga-Sangha is in the northern section of the Congo Basin. In the reserve are large populations of Forest Elephant, Lowland gorillas, 16 of the country’s primate species (such as De Brazza’s Monkey with its distinctive white beard), hundreds of bird species, reptiles, frogs etc. You can visit a village of the Ba’aka pygmies and if you want, you can join them in a hunt for food into the forests. The woman will share some traditional knowledge of the plants and you learn about their lifestyle in the forest. Sangha Lodge works with the Ba’aka in establishing conservation, especially of Pangolins, but also other small animals common in the bush meat trade. The next few days, may be spent visiting Dzanga Bai, tracking lowland gorillas and hunting with the Ba’aka.
Day 1: The tour begins in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your charter flight and head down to Dzanga Sangha for the first night at Sangha Lodge. If time permits we will venture out in the afternoon to visit the only habituated Black bellied pangolin in the world, followed by a short afternoon sundowner cruise on the Sangha River. [L.D]
Our program will remain flexible as the logistics often dictate but should run closely along these lines:
Day 2: Gorilla tracking. Today you head down to Bai Hokou where you will spend time tracking a group of Western Lowland Gorillas. Dzanga Sangha and its neighbors in Congo Nouabale-Ndoki National Park and Odzala are the only places in the world where you can find habituated Lowland Gorillas. [B,L,D]
Day 3: Visit to Dzanga Bai. Dzanga Bai is large mineral rich clearing in the middle of the rainforest where forest elephants gather in large numbers to indulge in drinking the mineral rich waters that bubble up in places in this Bai. The interaction between so many different groups of Forest elephants ensure that no one can ever get bored at this place, while the possibility of some of the other normally shy forest creature like Bongo, Giant Forest Hog, Red River Hog, Sitatunga and Forest Buffalos visiting the Bai keep us alert. [B,L,D]
Day 4. Today you head out with a group of Ba’aka net hunters as they go about their daily hunter-gatherer lifestyle. It is fascinating and a joy in itself to see how well adapted and comfortable the Ba’aka are in the forest while you may find it overwhelming and almost intimidating. You will be shown several of their medicinal plants while the hunt goes along in the background, and the excited cheers will alert us if they do catch something. THIS ACTIVITY IS NOT CONTRIVED AND THE HUNTERS ARE THERE TO CATCH THEIR FOOD SO PLEASE BE AWARE THAT SOME ANIMALS MAY BE KILLED DURING THIS TIME. [B,L,D]
Day 5. River activities and trekking. Heading upriver by boat you will hike to a series of waterfalls in the area. These will take us through the best examples of prime rainforest that you would ever see. Apart from the amazingly beautiful waterfalls, you will see some of the most spectacular trees imaginable. Climbing to the top of the falls will provide vistas over the canopy of the forest while the possibility of seeing the extremely rare and endangered Grey-necked Rock fowl will excite any birders. [B,L,D]
In the evening you may do a night walk near the lodge with the hope of finding some of the more elusive nocturnal animals such as Potto, Thomas’s Galago, Tree Pangolin, African Palm Civet, Frazer’s Eagle Owl, Vermiculated Fishing Owl and several more.
Day 6. Back into the park today with picnic lunches and you will do a walk around a series of clearings in the forest. The chance of finding buffalos, elephants and several monkey species on this trek are good. You will also visit a group of habituated monkeys called Agile Mangabey and spend some time photographing their interesting antics.
This group of habituated monkeys has over 150 members and their fascinating behavior is part of a long term study in the region. [B,L,D]
Day 7: Today we return to Dzanga bai for a repeat of Day 3.
Day 8: Return to visit the gorillas as on Day 2, but perhaps visiting a different group.
Day 9 & 10: Leisure day for optional activities, you have these days for optional activities….These can range from repeating any of the earlier activities done at Sangha lodge such as Gorilla tracking, or visits to the Dzanga Bai, or alternatively just relaxing or walking on the several hikes you have laid out in the forest around the lodge. NO OPTIONAL EXTRA ACTIVITIES ARE INCLUDED IN THE TOUR COSTS. [B,L,D]
Day 11: Today we take a charter back to Bangui where the tour ends.