Dzanga Sangha safari 2020

TOUR DETAILS
TOUR DATES
25 April 2020 - 3 May 2020 Fully booked

Dzanga-Sangha reserve

There is an untouched wilderness in the far south-western corner of the Central African Republic (CAR) known as the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve which forms part of the wider Sangha Tri-National Park and covers an incredible 6,865 miles (750,000 ha) of unspoiled and pristine rainforest in the heart of the Congo. It is here, within this wilderness that some of Africas most astounding wildlife encounters happen. Western Lowland gorillas roam the forest floors and in open clearings, called bai’s, normally wild forest elephant and bongo congregate in large numbers for some spectacular viewing and photography. Prolific birdlife flits around the lodge and tree pangolins are probably the most unexpected animal you will expect to encounter- but here in the Congo, you will see them.

Much of the forest is completely unaffected by human activity and features a wide range of humid tropical forest ecosystems with rich flora and fauna. Forest clearings support herbaceous species and Sangha is home to considerable populations of forest elephants, critically endangered western lowland gorilla, and endangered chimpanzee.

 

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Dzanga Bai

The Bais of the park offers the best wildlife sightings, with the Dzanga Bai being the most famous. A favourite of the forest fauna, this remains one of the most jaw dropping sites you will have the privilege to visit in Africa. Roughly translated to “the village of the elephants”, Dzanga offers viewing of some tremendous wildlife interaction from the comfort of a treeline hide. Predominantly populated by the grunts and snorts of hundreds of forest elephants, gorillas are occasional visitors to the fringes of the Bai, congregating on this forest clearing in order to access mineral salts and clay from the earth -  there can often be hundreds of elephants in the Bai at any one time. Other wildlife includes chimpanzees, often seen and heard whilst tracking through the rainforest, sitatungas, giant forest hogs, red river hogs, forest buffalos and duikers, making it an exceptional place for wildlife enthusiasts to get up close and personal with central Africa’s revered wildlife.

 

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Gorilla trekking without the mountains

Many people know about East Africa’s mountain gorillas, but few travellers have had the chance to see western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat. Dzanga-Sangha has one of the largest populations of western lowland gorillas in Africa. we will head out with local pygmy trackers who will be our key to finding them. Two habituated groups live in the park and it is almost guaranteed that you’ll see them on a trek (with a 98% success rate). Once a group is found, you will be allowed to spend an hour with them. Importantly, you won’t have to contend with the mountainous terrain of the Mountain gorillas environment. Unlike their mountainous cousins, these great apes can be spotted meters above the ground in the treeline. If you’ve made the long journey to Dzanga-Sangha, then a trip is not complete without spotting one of these beautiful creatures.

Consider this safari an adventure. An adventure into one of the last pristine, untouched rainforests in Africa. When you get there, you will understand why you decided to join this trip. Naturally wild, it is also photographically very rich and ultimately, exceptionally rewarding.

Please read on for more information about this amazing safari offer. Note, that for your convenience and to help with the overall logistics of the trip, this safari starts and ends in Nairobi, Kenya. Overnight in Nairobi and the flight from Nairobi - Bangui is included in the safari cost.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Enjoy tracking western lowland gorillas, With one of the only habituated family of lowland gorillas in Africa this offers an incredibly intimate experience.
  • Pristine African landscapes with thick forests that are largely unexplored, which will appeal to those looking to explore a path less travelled.
  • Expect wild encounters with rare wildlife; from forest elephants to lowland gorillas.
  • The ‘wildest’ part of the Congo forest currently offering a tourism option.
  • Dzangha Bai, the best place in Africa for forest Elephants, Forest buffalo and Bongo.
  • Excellent Lowland Gorilla viewing, the best of the Congo forest reserves.
  • A comfortable, established camp, with excellent views over the Sangha River.
  • Forest walks to hidden waterfalls.
  • Day time and night time walks in search of Dzanga-Sangha’s native pangolins.
  • Learn more about true animal rehabilitation activities at Sangha Lodge.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • Expect high humidity in the rainforests
  • There are long walks to the Gorillas and also to Sangha Bai. Expect to walk 2 km through forest landscape. The walk to Sangha Bai includes a 200-300m stretch of water that you walk through. His is sometimes ankle deep, but can be knee high and slightly higher. It is clean water, with no known issues from people walking through it.
  • Rain covers for camera bags are essential.
  • We plan a sleep out on the forest platform overlooking the Bai. This is one of the most incredible experiences ever, sleeping under mosquito nets, watching hundreds of animals below you.
  • Expect unexpected highlights such as gorillas walking across your path whilst walking to the Bai... Such is the nature of the Congo forests!


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About your host, Isak Pretorius

Isak was born to be a photographer, but before he discovered this, he became an engineer. Once he picked up a camera, his engineering career came to an end and Isak has now established himself as one of the top bird photographers in Africa. The benefit of his engineering training is his flawless technical knowledge of camera systems and the post processing software that accompanies them.

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Day 1 - 2

Serena Hotel, Kenya

Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. You will be transferred from the airport to the Serena Hotel for your one nights stay.

 

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Day 2 - 9

Sangha Lodge, Central African Republic

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the Airport for your international flight to Bangui M’Poko International Airport in the Central African Republic. On arrival at the airport, you will be met and showed to your charter flight to Dzanga Sangha. A Sangha representative will meet you at the airstrip to transfer you to the lodge (20min drive) for your 6 nights stay. 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 Gorilla tracking.

DAY 3 - 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.

 

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DAY 4 - VISIT TO DZANGAI 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 ensures 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.

 

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DAY 5 - BA’AKA HUNTERS
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.

DAY 6 - RIVER ACTIVITIES & 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. 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.

 

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DAY 7  - PARK ACTIVITIES.  
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 is 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.

 

Day 9

International flight

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airstrip for your charter flight back to Bangui. On arrival, you will make your way to international departures terminal to catch your international flight back to Nairobi, Kenya. This is the end of your safari.

Serena Hotel

Justly famed for its exceptional standards of efficiency, service and five-star hospitality, the elegantly sophisticated Nairobi Serena Hotel is a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ and was selected as ‘Kenya’s Leading Business Hotel’ and ‘Africa’s Leading Green Hotel’ at the World Travel Awards 2016.  Despite its pivotal central hotel location in Nairobi, Kenya; the Nairobi Serena remains true to its title and offers an oasis of serenity amidst the bustle of one of Africa’s most vibrant capital cities.

The interior décor reflects an entirely pan-African theme featuring art and inspiration from Ethiopia, the Maghreb, West Africa and East Africa. Offering a wide range of dining experiences, The Nairobi Serena is renowned for its ‘Mandhari’ fine-dining restaurant, which is universally acknowledged as one of Kenya’s finest. The Nairobi Serena Hotel also offers a world-class Conference Centre and the exclusive ‘Maisha’ Health Club and Spa.

Nairobi’s undisputed business venue of choice, for visiting executives and regional corporate event planners alike, the Nairobi Serena offers an unrivalled choice of executive suites, global connectivity, business support, conference-planning proficiency, product launch expertise and high-profile international corporate events venues.

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Sangha Lodge

The lodge consists of 7 well-appointed bungalows, each with its own en-suite bathroom, with hot and cold running water and flush toilets. (5 standard rooms as in the picture below and 2 rooms with shared bathroom). See Rates for more details.

There is a well-stocked bar with cold beer and drinks, ice is made with Bottled water and is safe to add to your drinks. A small kitchen produces simple yet tasty Western and African foods.

 

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$12 800.00 price per sharing person

$14 400.00 price per single person

Max 8 clients with one guide.
30% deposit confirms your booking. Balance payable 8 week before tour start date.

Above costs include

  • International flight from Nairobi Kenya - Bangui, CAR (return).
  • Meet and greet at Bangui airport and all road transfers to and from the Lodge.
  • All accommodation and meals on a full board basis.
  • All activities listed below:
        1 x Gorilla tracking permit.
        1 x Mangabey tracking permit.
        1 x Bai walk per person.
        1 x Dzanga Bai visit per person.
        1 x Day’s Net hunting and Ba’Aka (pygmy) activities.
        1 x Sunset cruise.
        1 x Night walk.
        1 x Palm wine tour.
        1 x Hike to the Valley of the Giants OR to the Waterfall and Picathartes site (Rock fowl).
  • All rates include one local Guide or Tour Leader.
  • Private wildlife photographic guide: Isak Pretorius
  • Park entrance fees for the activities included in the selected Option.
  • Charter flights to and from Bangui.
  • Bottled water.

Costs not included

  • International Flights not mentioned above.
  • Visas and Vaccinations.
  • All soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.
  • Extra activities not mentioned above.
  • Purchases of a personal nature.
  • Gratuities to staff and guides.



Day 1

Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. You will be transferred from the airport to the Serena Hotel for your one nights stay.

Day 2

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the Airport for your international flight to Bangui M’Poko International Airport in the Central African Republic. On arrival at the airport, you will be met and showed to your charter flight to Dzanga Sangha. A Sangha representative will meet you at the airstrip to transfer you to the lodge (20min drive) for your 6 nights stay. You will enjoy a variety of activities during the duration of your stay.

Day 9

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airstrip for your charter flight back to Bangui. On arrival, you will make your way to international departures terminal to catch your international flight back to Nairobi, Kenya. This is the end of your safari.

 
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