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Hello,

 

Just back from a safari taken place at the remote NE corner of Chad (Ennedi Mts.), Ounianga Lakes. I have spent good part of the last 20 years with travel, but this was certainly among the most incredibly beautiful place I ever been. The landscape is undesribable, Ounianga Lakes are fantastic. As a zoologist, I was focusing a lot on wildlife of course. Unfortunatelly addax and scimitar-horned orys, dammah gazelles are all gone. There is still a good and viable population of Dorcas Gazelles, especially in the Tibesti-Mourdi Depression. Jackals are very common, I also heard hyenas at one spot. Also there are some Barbary Sheep in Ennedis. The rarest and most special animal is the desert crocodile, of which the latest population, 6 specimen lives in the Guelta D'Archei. Six specimen left, no female, so game is over. Birdlife is very abundant, we observed lots of Marbled Ducks, Sahara Eagle Owl, Nubian Bustard, Barn Owl, Verreaux Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Lanner, and many more.

The trip was organised through Spazzi d'Avventura. We flew from Marseille/France to Faya-Largeau, and than we took three Land Cruisers. Organisation, food was absolutely perfect and spotless. We slept every night in our own tents (provided by operator, also mate). We were accompanied with a cook, food was excellent. There is no safety issues, the recent turmoil of Mali and Niger not infiltrated into Chad.

Mrs. Marina Rava: info@spazidavventura.com
www.spazidavventura.com

This was one of my best trips ever, also one of the remotest, the only more remote place I ever been was the Uweynat Mts. of the Libyan/Egyptian/Sudanese border triangle.

Can't wait to return back later this year, to Zakouma NP by this time.

Best regards,
Layosh

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kittykat23uk

Wow, sounds like a bit of an adventure! Did you take any photos? Any chance of a longer trip report? :)

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Game Warden

Layosh: this topic needs some photos...

 

What were the costings, location of the campsites, did you see any evidence of poaching? (Bearing in mind the large numbers of elephants being killed in Chad?)

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Hi Guys, Lots of photos of course, I took 45GB pictures, but no time in the moment, I am just heading to Madagascar for two months.

The total cost of the trip for me was 6300 USD which included everything from my house to house, airfares, tips, airport beers, etc. Poaching... yes, however no first hand experiences, but our drivers and guide said thats why all the dorcas were extremely cautious, and yes, they were. Very contrasty eg. to Djibouti, where there is no hunting, and Pelzeln's Gazelles just wondering on you within 20 meters, even they don't stop chewing. So, still there are many addax and oryx horns on sale at local people too, they are all oldish, as the last picture of oryx was taken in the wild by John Newby I think in 1983, and addax also long gone from this area (still same on the Niger border). The habitats looks fantastic, the country is safe, and if there is no coup or rebellion, it could be a heaven for some safari investments to re-establish sahara wildlife. During the 1930 addax, oryx and dammah were in their tenthousands, I saw some old pictures, was awesome. There are no designated campsites in the area, you just sleep wherever you decide or like. No checkpoints, tickets, its still the wildest Africa... fantastic!

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Nature Traveler

Absolutely amazing images. I cannot wait to see more!!! Chad is on my list but the lack of mammals make put it back on list a bit nowadays... But the scenery is enough to put it back near the front! Cheers and good luck in Madagascar!

 

Coke

 

www.cokesmithphototravel.com

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Sounds awesome! Any talk of cheetahs in the area? And talk of wild dog in the country? Too bad for the crocodiles, but with 6 males some genetics could be preserved. Maybe some females from another desert or otherwise a nearby population could be possible. What's the state of the wildlife/environmental authority in Chad?

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twaffle

What an incredible experience that would be. Feel pretty sad about the desert crocodiles and the other missing species, but pleased about the peaceful conditions.

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Atravelynn

So you're going back. That says a lot! How wonderful you could visit such a remote and captivating place.

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Hi Guys, Thanks for all the kind words! Some fast replies, ladies first :))


 We will go almost surely in February. Thats well into the drier season and locals said that would suit best our needs for certain kind of photography. Mammals around the waterhole, huge flocks of Quela finches, Crowned Cranes, etc.

-Egilio: Yes, there are cheetahs! Both ecoform, the regular ones in Zakouma are still in a good sized population. The desert form at the North is very rare however, but the area is incredibly vast and some parts (Mourdi, Erdi) are totally unexplored. Gazella population seems healthy, so hopefully they can survive if the french presence can keep further away the gun infiltration which cause a catastrophe in Libya, Algeria, Niger, etc. and may be easily the reason of extinction of the last fragments of Addax in Niger, etc. Wild dogs: "yes", in southern Algeria, however now with the recognition of the new wolf species its a bit debatable, the wild dog records (tracks, etc.) may refer for this wolf. However the wolf also extremely rare, only 47 specimens exist in museums, and I was the lucky one how did the only ever pictures of it in Egypt. More here: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/egyptian-wolf.html#cr and here: http://www.greeneye.org.uk/news_0035_jackal.htm Wildlife authority... thats a good question... seems there are some good progress indeed. Zakouma is certainly a success story, now managed by African parks. SCF now planning a reintro project of Addax and Scimitar-horned Oryx to Wadi Achim area. I think the guarantee of the status is the very strong french presence. Its very strong and welcomed by locals in the moment, as long as they are there, order, safety and stability is guranteed.

-Coke: If its about mammals, than don't miss Zakouma, thats a world miracle! from there you can get to Ennedi too, it takes about 4 days drive. The country is huge so anybody taking a consideration, plan with a lot of time!

Cheers and thanks for your interest again,
Lajos

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egilio

Thanks Lajos!

Still cheetahs in both areas, sounds good. Cheetahs can survive at very low densities, especially in those desert areas. The wild dogs of central africa and west africa are less well known. I know of photographic evidence of 2011 from the Niokola Koba area in Senegal. Supposedly southern Algeria. They haven't been recorded in Cameroon for a while now. But Chad, both Sudans are a big question mark.

 

Very jealous at your wolf pictures! But at the same time very happy you published them!!!

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Sangeeta

Lajos, yours the very pictures I've been telling people about!! How wonderful to meet you here on ST. Could we possibly prevail on you to give us some background and story about the wolf pics? I would love to know how it all happened.

 

Re: Zakouma, getting a sense that some scenic flights may be necessary to get a real sense of those ele herds etc. Do they have reasonable tracks? If not, are they okay with off-roading? Those rangers sound like such a dedicated lot. I think it would be great if some commercial tour companies began using them as trackers, scouts and even guides.

 

Have you been to Gambella?

 

So many questions, I know, but hope you can find the time to tell us more. Thanks for sharing your observations about Ennedi.

Edited by Sangeeta
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GreenEye

Dear Sangeeta, thanks a lot for your kind words! Well, the wolf story is quite short, nothing else but about luck. We were birdwatching with a good friend american lady who lives in Egypt, driving on the quiet western bank of the Nile between Luxor and Assuan, when the wolf crossed the road towards the desert. Automatically I shouted to stop, because I have some wolf experience from Eastern Europe and from the Himalayas, and a lot of experience with Jackals, and the phisycal structure and moving of the wolf is extremely different. You really can feel the strenght of the animal, different body, muscles, robust moving, very powerful. The animal recognised that we stopped, and run out towards the sand sea, where slowed down, so I had a chance to take some pictures, also watch it with a high magnif. spotting scope. Buy the time this taxon wasn't recognised, so when we discussed the issue on Egyptian bird forums where we have some mammal experts, like Dick Hoek, etc., it was a big dispute, however the pictures were quite supportive, its everything but a jackal. But for me it was much more than pictures, so it was clear for me that its sensational, and so called ssp. lupaster has nothing to do with Golden Jackal, its a real wolf. Than somehow the news hit the ear of Prof. Collin Groves and his team in Australia who are experts of the species-complex, and thats how I have got more info, and was clarified that these are the first ever pictures taken in the wild. And than later the Oxford team came up with the genetical conclusion. I think taxonomically its still a question if its just a subspecies (Canis lupus lupaster), or a real full species (Canis lupaster), and honestly, I think its the latter (I was a taxonomist before).

 

Zakouma: I still know a little, I know there are very good game drives, usually two a day, break at the middle of the day, plus you can ask for extra night drives. There is a very little tourism, so at some days pretty much the all park is "yours". Its not allowed to camp in the park (the official accomodation is Tinga Camp), but the crew happy to organise a night out, which is pretty much a organised camp-out in the bush, sleeping in tent, food and drinks provided, plus you have a guard (lots of carnivores), etc. As about scenic flight, as far as I know there is no commercial plane available in the moment, sometimes researchers are there, and also the managers at African Parks having their private one, which is may be available for deal, this is something I still have to confirm.

 

No Gambella yet, but I NEED Nile Lechwe and have a friend who lived there for decades, so will go there in the next 5 years for sure.

Cheers, thanks, Lajos

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Sangeeta

Thank you for taking the time to tell us, Lajos. To think, 5 minutes later and perhaps no one would have seen anything at all! What a great story and what terrific luck. Gives me hope that other things are hiding out there, safe from encroaching humans.

 

With all this talk of remote, unvisited parks, I suspect you are going to be terrible addition on ST for my safari dreaming habits :D As it is, there are a couple of people here that keep putting new thoughts in my head about new safari places. Now I am thinking lechwe safari!!

 

 

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Sangeeta

After you're done with the TR, could you resurrect that kob thread with your latest findings? We could do a prelim head count and see whether we can take this further? Disneyland sells these spray water bottles with a fan attachment! I may need to investigate that & other personal air conditioning devices!

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GreenEye

Hello, "Terrible" is correct, I usually like to go to places without facilities, tickets and entrance fees, there is just nothing like sleeping in the bush under stars and having a sundowner around the campfire. My recent plans include a trip to Wadi Howar of Sudan with Malha Crater and Meidob Hills, also up to Nukheyla Oasis and Selima. Its all doable, my mate starting a trip from Dongola to Uweynat in 10 days, "unfortunatelly" I have another job by the time, so won't be there. Also I have a plan to visit Eritrea as soon as possible, there is a peninsula still with 400 Somali Wild Ass, the only place where virtually you have a chance to see them. Also would be great to see Dinder National Park of Sudan, which was a major game spot during the 1930's, there are dozens of books written by british, and was amazing. There are still good wildlife, and birdlife must be also very interesting. I believe thats a very special place. As about Gambella, I think the bigest enemy is time, the kob migration is not like a swiss-watch unfotunatelly, so probably the best idea is to stay for quite a while. Also I guess its very difficult without air support. But still I think Gambella is the most reliable place to try the Kob and Lechwe, as the other side in Southern Sudan is just incredibly vast, and I don't know how it would work. I know there is some investments now in S. Sudan for lodges, etc.
Yours truly, Lajos

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