If the mysterious rainforests of Africa fascinate you then this is the expedition for you – a journey into the untouched rainforests of the Central African Republic.
Venture into the Dzanga Sangha National Park, a vast rainforest spanning three countries that is sparsely populated with Bantu tribes, Ba’aka tribes and nomadic groups of Pygmies. Explore the fascinating lifestyles of these hunter-gatherer tribes by joining them as they hunt and forage through the rainforest for their daily meals, learning secrets of the forest along the way. Take a boat ride along the river, before spending time hiking up pristine waterfalls for a panoramic view over the canopy of the forest while the possibility of seeing the extremely rare and endangered Grey-necked Rock fowl which will excite even the faintest bird-watcher. The Central African Republic is also home to the rare and unique Black Bellied Pangolin.
Exploring Dzanga Sangha is a privileged experience as it is one of only three locations in the world to track the rare Western Lowland Gorillas where the population was almost devastated by Ebola and is slowly repopulating. The Central African Republic is rapidly reinventing itself with ecotourism roots for preserving and observing unique and rare flora and fauna.
Whilst the country has had its civil confrontations, the Dzanga Sangha has been unaffected due to its isolation from the countries power bases, importance and UNESCO world heritage status and the tireless assistance of the WWF.
We look forward to welcoming you on this once-in-a-lifetime experience of education, conservation and otherworld wildlife and tribal encounters.
Welcome to The Central African Republic, the heart of Africa. You will be met on arrival at Bangui M’Poko International Airport and transferred to your charter flight to Dzanga Sangha where you will be driven to your hotel for check in. If time permits, 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)
Dzanga Sangha Reserve is populated by Forest Elephants, Western Lowland Gorillas, 16 of the country’s primate species (such as De Brazza’s Monkey with their distinctive white beard), hundreds of bird species, reptiles and frogs, making it the perfect destination for any animal lovers.
Seven nights at Sangha Lodge
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before heading out to begin a full day of Gorilla Tracking. You will proceed to Bai Hokou where you will spend time tracking a group of Western Lowland Gorillas. Dzanga Sangha and its neighbours in Congo Nouabale-Ndoki National Park and Odzala are the only places in the world where you can find habituated Lowland Gorillas.
Spend the day trekking through the magnificent Dzanga Sangha National Park in search of these elusive primates and learn from your local guide of the threats to survival that the gorillas face and what conservationists are doing to reverse the drop in their population. In the evening, return to Sangha Lodge for a relaxing dinner and rest after your day of trekking. (B,L,D)
Today, after breakfast is served at the lodge, you will head out to visit Dzanga Bai and witness an impressive gathering of Forest Elephants. Dzanga Bai is large 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 various spots throughout the Bai.
There are many groups of Forest Elephants that come to this clearing, watching the interaction between these groups will leave you amazed for hours. There is also the possibility here to spot some other normally shy forest creature like Bongo, Giant Forest Hog, Red River Hog, Sitatunga and Forest Buffalos. (B,L,D)
Today is truly unique experience – one that must be experienced to fully appreciate it. Following breakfast in your lodge, you will head out with a group of Ba’aka net hunters as they go about their daily hunter-gatherer lifestyle. It is amazing to this see this fascinating group as they walk through the dense forest with complete confidence and are comfortable in this ever changing environment – see their eyes dashing, their ears listening to calls of birds and movement of animals – even those beneath the ground! Their hunting skills are incredible to witness in action.
The Ba’aka hunters will show you will several types of plants they use for medicinal purposes, as their hunt continues. The excited cheers of the hunters will alert you if they catch something.
Dinner will be served at your lodge and remainder of the evening is free for you relax and reflect on the incredible day you have just had. (B,L,D)
Note: 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.
Breakfast will be served at the lodge this morning, before taking a boat ride up river to witness some of the most spectacular waterfalls in all of Africa. The boat ride will take you through some of the best examples of prime, untouched rainforests. Departing the boat, you will have the chance to take a short hike up to the pristine waterfalls, whilst enjoying the beautiful forest and contorted shapes of decade old trees. Climbing to the top of the falls will provide panoramic views over the canopy of the forest while the possibility of seeing the extremely rare and endangered Grey-necked Rock fowl will excite even the faintest bird-watcher. Return via boat in the late afternoon to the lodge.
Following dinner in the lodge, you will have the opportunity to 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 more. (B,L,D)
Today is another full day of exploring the Dzanga Sangha National Park. A picnic lunch will be served in the park as you walk around a series of clearings in the forest in hopes of spotting some more animals. The chance of finding buffalos, elephants and several monkey species today are very high, so be sure to bring your camera with you for this one!
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 behaviour is part of a long term study in the region. (B,L,D)
Today is free for you to relax at the lodge or join in on some optional activities. These activities 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 laid out in the forest around the lodge. (B,L,D)
Your final breakfast before it is time to depart for Bangui. You will be transferred to your chartered flight and upon your arrival transferred to Bangui M’Poko International Airport for your onward flight connections. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.