Chad & Cameroon: Ennedi Region, Zakouma NP & the Cameroonian Highlands I 2019
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|Tour Price (Per Person)||Price to be announced|
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This all-encompassing and groundbreaking tour will spend 18 days traveling in Chad throughout the mind-blowing Ennedi Region of the north and the wildlife-rich and elusive Zakouma National Park in the south before flying to Cameroon and exploring the villages, wildlife and beauty of the Cameroonian Highlands.
- Visit sponsorship and travel permits for group travel.
- Full services of an Out of Bounds Tours leader with local guides and drivers.
- All transport within the itinerary.
- All accommodations.
- All entrance fees, sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary.
- All meals from arrival until departure.
- Drinking water provided.
|Tour Fact Sheet|
|Max Group Size||12 with 1 Out of Bounds leader and local guides|
Day 1, 2 & 3: N’Djamena, Salal and Kalaït
We will arrive in N’Djamena on an early morning flight and be met by our guides for the the adventure ahead.
From N’Djamena, we follow the big track running into the alluvial plains of the Lake Chad as far as Massaguet, where we begin to follow the track towards Moussoro, in the Kanem region. The landscape, between the savannah and the Sahel, crossed by numerous temporary water-courses and flooding plains, evidence of the ancient Paleochad system, is characterized by a various and luxuriant vegetation, represented by several kinds of acacias (Raddiana, Nilotica, Balanites Haegiptiaca), by callotrophis (Meli of Sodoma) and by small forests of doum palms (Hiphaene Tebaica). People, here, are represented by Kanembou, Peul, Kanouri, Kereda and Daza.
The track follows and then skirts the depression of the Bahr el Ghazal, the gazelles’ river, an ancient effluent river of Paleochad period. Where there is water the human work is always surprising, like in the luxuriant gardens of “Cheddra”.
After the small villages of Salal and Koubba Oulanga, we continue eastward; the ground and the landscape become completely Sahelian, but are characterized by a very wild Sahel rich in animals (gazelles, bustards, hyenas and jackals). The environment is almost devoid of settlements, except for a few huts of Arab nomads, living off stock-raising and wild graminaes picking. The track, that follows the natural course of the Oued Achim, ends in Oum Chalouba village; nowadays, after the sad war vicissitudes that found in this place an important Libyan military-base, the local population preferred to move to the nearer and more pleasant village of Kalaït. Overnight camping.
Day 4, 5 & 6: Kalaït – Region Of Archei
We finally reach Kalaït, true Saharan crossroads for its trade, and we aim to north. Now we are in a desert region, on the southern borders of Ennedi, inhabited by populations Gaeda, Tama and Zagawa, semi-nomadic farmers.
We enter into this massive following the direction of the Wadi Archei, gigantic green riverbed with hydro-graphic direction North-East / South-West, lined and bordered by a magnificent series of sandstone Tassillian formations which takes extravagant forms of castles and cathedrals lapped by stripes of sand.
The wadi , which winds for about thirty kilometers, ends in a huge verdant and rocky amphitheater where begin the real gorges of homonym Guelta, permanent water point where you can easily meet Toubou nomads with their herds of camels.
Water point and hub of life, this millennial Guelta is the incredible location of the last living specimens of Saharan crocodiles (Cocodrilus niloticus), evidence of ancient times. In the entire region of Archei, immersed in a landscape of unforgettable beauty, considerable stations of cave paintings are scattered in natural shelters, executed by unknown ancient cultures that leave us the difficult but fun task of ‘interpretation.
We should arrive on the afternoon of 4th day in the region of Terkey, which is the start of the nicest Ennedi rocky area. Overnight camping.
On the 5th day, we’ll visit the rock art (the “amazing flying horses” and the “big cow”) in Terkey east side, then a visit of Toukou massif with their spectacular arches – close to the Archei canyon there’s again a dramatic paintings cave. Camp in the Archei river bed. Overnight camping.
The 6th day we’ll hike (1h30 each way) following a rocky track to reach the best point of view on the Archei guelta where is possible to see the both side of the canyon and enjoy the camel movement and watch the sand crocodiles bathe. In the afternoon, we will follow the Archei river bed (northwest direction) approaching other incredible areas called Bechike and Abayke. Overnight camping.
Day 7 & 8: Fada, Mourdi and Derbili
We reach the track joining Monou to Fada, which will be followed northward as far as Fada, prefecture of the Ennedi and characteristic Saharan village formed by houses made of banco, gathered around the old French colonial fort and the little, but animated, market. The inhabited center is situated in a verdant oasis with numerous date-palms.
Once having finished all the bureaucratic formalities – sometimes very long – we are going to start the crossing of the massif, and we will go up along a slow sandy and stony track that will lead us to the Mourdi, a wide region of cordons of dunes and isolated mountainous groups.
We continue on north/north-east direction, overcoming some difficult cordons of dunes of the Mourdi, following the ancient caravan route that connected the salt-pits of Ounianga region (Demi, Teguedei and Ounianga) to the southern Chadian villages and the northern Libyan oasis. Overnight camping.
Day 9 & 10: Demi, Teguedei and Ounianga Lakes
We continue northward until we reach the Eyo Demi, a reddish sandy formation; at its feet rises the homonymous village, composed by a few palms and poor houses made of sand. This inhabited center, situated in a background absolutely wild and inhospitable, lives of the slight trade of “red salt”, obtained with a very rudimentary method of drawing from the open-air salt-pits, which is brought, later, to the southern oasis by the caravans, especially of the Tébu Ounias and, then, exchanged with millet and sorghum. All along this track it is easy to meet one of these caravans.
From Demi we turn to the West, to the Ounianga Serir, passing through Teguedei, a palm-grove inhabited seasonally for the date harvest, as the small silos made of sand and stones, show. In Teguedei there is the first lake of Ounianga region, situated in a sandy basin surrounded by the palms and rocky sceneries of multicolored sandstones.
Skirting the Nabar falaise, keeping its right, we reach the first lakes of the Ounianga Serir oasis. The landscape is incredible: lakes surrounded by palm-groves that spring up from the sand, rocky formations of multicolored sandstone from the white to the red and golden dunes that descend to the water, are one of the most amazing visions of the whole Saharan scenery. The water is fresh and comes out from the sand but, because of the salty soil, also the lakes are very salted with several densities and colorings, from the blue to the green, respectively more and less salted. We will spend the whole day making excursions on foot along the sandy banks and the palm-groves with the opportunity of a bath in the lakes. Overnight camping.
Day 11 & 12: Ounianga Serir, Kora, Bichagara and Kalaït
From Ounianga Serir we head south-west to Kora, one of the entrance gates to the Ennedi massif. The initially barren and bleak landscape becomes more appealing with small Tassili and stripes of sand. The vehicles puff and struggle in this mixed and challenging terrain. After last difficult dunes of Kora we’ll quickly cross the plane that exceeded the well of Ouei will lead us to the magnificent sandstone cathedrals of Bichagara, stone islands on the west border of the massif, also known for their site of cave paintings. Then we reach the great track which runs along the Ennedi up to Kalaït for the last supplies. Overnight camping.
Day 13, 14 & 15: Ouaddai Region, Abeche and Zakouma National Park
From Kalaït we follow a different route, leaving the homelands of the Tubu and entering in a more populated area, encountering Arab nomads and settled villagers. We reach Abeche, Chad’s fourth largest city and the only place of any real size that we encounter since leaving N’Djamena. We have now left the Sahara behind and are in a Sahelian landscape, with acacia trees and large herds of cattle. We continue South/West and we enter in a more lively and populated Africa; nomadic herders gradually make room to stable farmers. We pass through the villages of Oum Hadjer and Mangalmè and we are now in the heart of the Sahel close to limits of Savanna. A fast track will lead us through this untouched Africa until we reach Zakouma National Park.
Day 16 & 17: Zakouma National Park
This is a park in the strict sense of the term, where visitors are not voyeurs watching animals in a zoo from the top of a minibus, but where nature is exactly how it should be without the interference of men.
The animals live in a totally natural environment thanks also to the characteristics of the area which, being flooded for about six months of the year, remains inaccessible. We will be able to take advantage of an extraordinary possibility: discover, the thousands of elephants, buffalo’s and antelopes, the nine hundred giraffes, numerous felines and birds that populate this land of our dreams.
Day 18 & 19: Rural villages, N’Djamena and departure
We leave Zakouma Park to continue north, through a huge Savannah plain, to the village of Mongo, located on the border of the Aboutelfane region, ancient hunting territory, made of a compact hilly ensemble, within which stands the Mount Guedi, 1,500 meters high, furrowed by wide inhabited valleys. We’ll get closer to this hilly set through the most interesting villages of the area. Going west in the direction of Bitkine and Ab Touyour, two small villages with colored and lively markets, places of trade for local people. They are located in a mountainous region, which stands out the pic de Guera; Here assumes great importance the ethnic group of Aadjerai (from Arab “the inhabitants of the stone land”), people who live off agriculture and hunting. Outdoor field-camp on 18th night and arrival in Ndjamena on 19th day, where we will tour the city of N’Djamena and a transfer to the airport for our onward flights.
Day 19: Yaoundé, Cameroon
On arrival at Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport, you will meet our your guides and transferred to our hotel for the night, depending on the time of your arrival, there may be an opportunity to visit the city. Overnight in Yaoundé.
Day 20: Foumban via Bafoussam
Today we leave Yaoundé and stop off first at Bafoussam, the third largest city in Cameroon and a major hub for Bamiléké culture. We visit the town and the Chief Palace and its museum. Next, we will arrive in Foumban, the capital of the Bamoun people and was the historic capital of the Bamum Kingdom. We will pay a visit to the handicraft market, which is the most important center for artisans in northwestern Cameroon and where we can see craftsmen carving the wood or working with metals such as bronze, silver, copper. The town is also a collecting center for coffee, cocoa, and tobacco sent by road to Douala for export. There are coffee-processing plants in the area and a chocolate factory several miles west that we may have the opportunity to visit. Overnight in Foumban.
Day 21: Bamenda via Foumbot
After breakfast we will visit the palace of the Bamoun sultan that dates from the 18th century and houses the Foumban Museum of Bamum Art, containing examples of wood carving, realistic masks in copper and terra-cotta, and collections of weaponry and bamboo and raffia furniture. After visiting the palace and museum, we will witness the parade of for the sultan before the Friday Muslim prayer: it’s a unique occasion to assist on a deployment of all the folklore of this sultanate. Later, we drive to Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region, via Foumbot. Overnight in Bamenda.
Day 22: Bafoussam via Bemenda and Bafut
This morning we will have a short visit of Bamenda, where we visit the main market, one of the largest in Central Africa and an atmospheric place full of meat, vegetable, and household goods vendors. Continuing on, we then drive to Bafut to visit the palace, which is surrounded by a sacred forest in the heart of northwest Cameroon. The Bafut Palace has been the center of political power for over 400 years and embodies the Bafut cultural identity and remains a center for religious rites and traditional ceremonies. Over 50 houses are clustered around the site’s spiritual core, Achum Shrine, and are used by the Fon (king), his wives, and the royal court. This shrine, built of wood and bamboo and covered with thatch, houses a valued devotional object, typically referred to as a fetish, and is an impressive example of traditional religious architecture. Our visit to the palace will end with traditional dances performed by the prince and princess of the palace. We will then drive back to Bamenda and leave directly to Bafousam, where we arrive in the evening. Overnight in Bafousam.
Day 23: Kribi via Ekom-Nkam Waterfalls and Douala
Today we drive to the famed city of Kribi, a beach town on the Atlantic Ocean, where first we will enjoy a stop at the beautiful Ekom-Nkam Waterfalls, one of the largest in Africa, where we can enjoy a hike to the bottom of the falls and admire the powerful falls and bird life.
Later, we will stop in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, for lunch on Boulevard de la Liberté, the thriving heart of the city, and take a panoramic tour before finally arriving on the coast. Overnight in Kribi.
Day 24: Kribi area
This morning we will enjoy our morning around the busy harbor of Kribi before taking a short city tour and visiting the fishing village of Londji. Next we will drive to the Waterfalls of Lobe, a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only place in the world where a waterfall enters the Atlantic Ocean through a water cascade.
The falls are considered as cultural jewels, as they are of great cultural significance to the Batanga people playing host to many traditional rituals. They form an important site for rituals leading to the enthronement of their chief and also serve as the consecrated spot where the people invoke their water gods and spirits. This lavished pool of water also plays a therapeutic role for them as the sick are submerged in it for healing and purification. Later, we will take a local boat ride up the Lobe River to visit the pygmies of Bagyeli village (Bagyeli), before returning to Kribi and enjoying this pleasant, seaside town. Overnight in Kribi.
Day 25: Yaoundé via Lolodorf
After breakfast we will drive roughly 265km from southern Cameroon to the central region in Yaoundé, admiring the countryside dotted with many villages, where we will stop off in Lolodorf, where we will have lunch. Once we arrive in Yaoundé and check into our hotel, we will have the evening at leisure after dinner. Overnight in Yaoundé.
Day 26: Ngaoundéré
This morning we will catch the train from Yaoundé to Ngaoundéré, where we will arrive by mid-day and transfer to our hotel for lunch. Later we will drive to visit the small and interesting village of Idol. Overnight in Ngaoundéré.
Day 27: Bouba Njida National Park via Bénoué National Park
We will have a very early morning breakfast before embarking on our longest day of the trip, driving to Bouba Njida National Park. We will make our first stop in Bénoué National Park for a game drive, which is a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve and known for its West African lion, African elephants, waterbuck, kob, spotted hyena, warthog, and herds of hippos on the banks of River Benoue, among other animals. The park is also an Important Bird Area (IBA) with an estimated 300 bird species-both forest endemics and water birds. Later, we will continue to Bouba Njida National Park where we will have dinner and rest in the evening. Overnight in Bouba Njida National Park.
Day 28 & 29: Bouba Njida National Park
Sadly, in 2012, heavily armed poachers from Chad and Sudan massacred some 200 savannah elephants while on horseback, thus wiping out more than half of the elephant population of the Bouba Njida National Park. In the years since, the NP has been on a slow but steady rebound from this tragedy and is well worth a visit to see its diverse wildlife and bird life. We will be spending the next two days fully exploring this beautiful park, with numerous game drives planned over both days and night spotting for mammals and bird life. Overnight in Bouba Njida National Park.
Day 30: Garoua
After breakfast, we will take our last game drive of Bouba Njida NP before driving 250km through the countryside to the port city of Garoua, where we will visit the bustling town, the nearby Kapsiki volcanic dykes, and have a farewell dinner. Overnight in Garoua.
Day 31: Yaoundé – Depart (Flight)
Today we leave Garoua and fly direct to Yaoundé, where we will catch our onward flights.