Jump to content

Recommended Posts

inyathi

gallery_6520_1031_158386.jpg

 

At the start of our trip Squack asked Mahamat if he could take over the driving Mahamat readily agreed moving to a seat at the back from which he could act as navigator and advisor when required. So nearly all of the driving was done by Squack except on a couple of occasions when Darren drove us. In the evening Mahamat would move back to the front row to operate the spotlight.

 

Camp Nomade is intended to run on an entirely exclusive basis so there will normally only ever be one group in camp at a time. This means there’s no need to have set meal times or any kind of rigid schedule giving your guide complete flexibility to plan each day according to your preferences. Every evening we would discuss our plan for the morning with Squack and agree a wake up time and meal times could then be arranged to suit us. Generally we would get up at crack of dawn usually about 04:45 and have coffee and a rusk and or breakfast before setting off on our morning game drive. Stop for coffee and a muffin somewhere nice around mid morning and then back to camp for lunch at around 11:30-12:00. Then siesta until about 16:00 have tea before setting off again on the afternoon drive ending with a sundowner and a night drive back to camp. Some nights we might decide to only have a short night drive back to camp and then go out again after dinner.

 

When we drove down south to our camp at Am Kalam, we were out all day so were supplied with sandwiches, after arriving at the perfect spot on the banks of the Bahr Salamat, we simply got out put down some mats and had a picnic.

 

17275029320_5924d257bc_o.jpg 

Preparing our Picnic Lunch by the Salamat

 

17462615745_10ac93d3b4_o.jpg 

Relaxing in the shade watching the wildlife on the Bahr Salamat

 

We then just sat and relaxed in the shade until we decided it was time to move on, where else in Africa can you just get out of your car in a national park and have a picnic anywhere you want. The great joy of Zakouma is having all of these freedoms that you don’t have elsewhere, in that if you want to get out and walk you can, also if you want to just go and sit on the river bank and watch a pool to see animals coming to drink you can.

 

Perhaps the best thing about Camp Nomade is that being fully mobile, it can be put up literally anywhere that’s suitable which means it will always be located, as close as possible to wherever the best wildlife is, which obviously changes through the season. With Darren regularly flying over the park, he always knows where the animals are, so your itinerary and activities can be arranged to ensure that you really see the best, that Zakouma has to offer. This we certainly did, as I shall shortly start to reveal in part two.

 

On one day, we were able to join Darren for an afternoon flight over the park, this proved to be just as exciting as our flight with Rian had been the previous year. So before moving on to part two, here’s a quick taste of Zakouma from the air.

 

17542779236_29ae85cb7e_o.jpg 

 

 

 

16948802703_0f4feacab9_o.jpg 

 

 

 

 

16948797023_3dfc981a8f_o.jpg 

Game Trails

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 309
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • inyathi

    162

  • jeremie

    18

  • Marks

    14

  • graceland

    12

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Camp Nomade   The beautifully designed camp is decorated in a style that evokes a Chadian/North African nomad camp.         The spacious main or mess tent has a comf

Zakouma 2015 Returning to Wildest Africa in Style       A quick note before starting, when writing reports I always like to go the extra mile for the more remote off the

Elephants   At the time that the park was established when Kordofan giraffes were in serious trouble elephants were still common in Zakouma and the wider region. However in the last decade t

Posted Images

Michael Lorentz
On 5/12/2015 at 8:38 PM, inyathi said:

 

On 5/12/2015 at 12:06 PM, graceland said:

@@inyathi,

 

Any thoughts on what you'd add to the itinerary to complement the Zakouma portion? Wildlife oriented of course...no beaches, cities, etc.

 

Apart from the cost this is the big issue with Zakouma as a safari, combining Zakouma with Ennedi does seem to be the best option. One of the companies now offering Zakouma trips Steppes Travel offers this possibility they also suggest combining with CAR and Cameroon. Which is a little odd as they don’t actually offer trips to Cameroon in any case you’d want to stay away from the north of Cameroon at the moment because of Boko Haram. Also any of the national parks in the north of Cameroon would be a big disappointment after Zakouma, combining the park with somewhere in the rainforest has much more appeal but I think CAR would be a better bet (and maybe Congo Rep as well). Just for the contrast combining Zakouma with Dzangha Sangha in CAR would make for a fantastic trip the difficulty is trying to find a way to get from one to the other. It is possible to fly direct from N’Djamena to Douala in southern Cameroon (on the coast) it is only about 1hr 45 mins, from there I presume you can get a charter flight to Bayanga in Dzangha Sangha this certainly used to be possible. Whether it still is possible to charter a plane from Douala and how much it would cost I don’t know and whether the flight from N’Djamena to Douala would even work with Camp Nomade’s dates I’m not sure either. Even if it proves possible and not too complicated I imagine it might be pretty expensive but other than Ennedi this is the combination that appeals most to me. @@graceland Of course the select few travel agents that will be offering Zakouma trips will be looking for an answer to your question and may well come up with a way to combine Zakouma with CAR or elsewhere.

 

If you are flying Ethiopian  combining with Ethiopia makes sense but there’s so much to see in Ethiopia that only spending a week there would be a shame. However after Zakouma, hiking in the Simien Mts or going to the Bale Mts and if possible adding a visit to the rock hewn churches at Lalibela (not wildlife but certainly spectacular) would still make for a great trip.

 

Now back to Zakouma

 

We are running one safari to Zakouma next year that combines with Ennedi and I believe this is an excellent choice - it is however expensive as it entails long charters with dead legs. It should also be noted that the best time to visit Ennedi is November through to February. March and April, whilst excellent in Zakouma are not good in Ennedi as its way to hot and dry.

 

Ethiopia is the most obvious combination and offers many choices. Uganda also works with flights - I did this link last time I was in Chad on my way to Garamba and it was easy and smooth. Left Zakouma in the am and was in Entebbe that night just after midnight!

 

Then there is Sudan...

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

Part 2

 

Having decided that I didn’t wish to write another day by day account as we did last year I decided that for this next part I would group together our sightings of all different the mammals to form a sort of illustrated checklist of what we saw and where we saw it. Then going on to the birds, at least that’s my intention however separating the mammals from the birds in Zakouma is an impossible task so whether it will turn out exactly as I’d hoped I’m not entirely sure I suspect it may have to just evolve as I go along.

 

Mammals of Zakouma

Kordofan Giraffes

 

Zakouma National Park was established back in 1963 largely to protect the endangered Kordofan giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum so it seemed fitting to start with these beautiful majestic animals symbols of Zakouma.

 

gallery_6520_1031_1439591.jpg

The park’s logo is inspired by an ancient Chadian rock engraving of a giraffe

 

16710744663_e5882d7a8b_o.jpg 

As was often the case, these three having been drinking, were sporting dark mud socks

 

At the time that Zakouma was established there were just 70 of these giraffes left in the park now there are over 1,000 of them. We saw them every day wherever we were in the park at Rigueik, along the Bahr Dikere, the Salamat and in the Maniam area down in the south. One morning at Rigueik we counted 33 of them all together out on the open plains quite extraordinary.

 

 

17143214738_b223151569_o.jpg 

 

Giraffes at Rigueik

 

17330603011_a5f34db510_o.jpg 

 

 

17143211758_bc5b4c35ea_o.jpg 

Seen here with a herd of tiang

 

17330599181_7fb4f7ef2c_o.jpg 

 

 

17148177979_5f337965c4_o.jpg 25 of the 33 giraffes we saw at Rigueik (click the photo to access the largest version on Flickr)

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

 

17126943637_ecc6f570e7_o.jpg 

 

Fighting

 

17333989161_8684673147_o.jpg 

 

 

 

 

17332488852_aa76b3345f_o.jpg 

 

 

17334384065_c6764513db_o.jpg 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

I also saw a good few giraffes from the air including some from our MAF flight on the way into Zakouma and all of these from my flight with Darren.

 

 

17388097480_5b80b5824e_o.jpg 

With knob-billed ducks

 

17371062382_fba9032720_o.jpg 

 

17372693941_d53647da82_o.jpg 

There are also Lelwel hartebeest in the foreground and Saddle-billed storks in the background

 

17185224228_c687dff746_o.jpg 

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland
On 5/12/2015 at 8:38 PM, inyathi said:

 

On 5/12/2015 at 12:06 PM, graceland said:

@@inyathi,

 

Any thoughts on what you'd add to the itinerary to complement the Zakouma portion? Wildlife oriented of course...no beaches, cities, etc.

 

Apart from the cost this is the big issue with Zakouma as a safari destination, combining Zakouma with Ennedi does seem to be the best option. One of the companies now offering Zakouma trips Steppes Travel offers this possibility they also suggest combining with CAR and Cameroon. Which is a little odd as they don’t actually offer trips to Cameroon in any case you’d want to stay away from the north of Cameroon at the moment because of Boko Haram. Also any of the national parks in the north of Cameroon would be a big disappointment after Zakouma, combining the park with somewhere in the rainforest has much more appeal but I think CAR would be a better bet (and maybe Congo Rep as well). Just for the contrast combining Zakouma with Dzangha Sangha in CAR would make for a fantastic trip the difficulty is trying to find a way to get from one to the other. It is possible to fly direct from N’Djamena to Douala in southern Cameroon (on the coast) it is only about 1hr 45 mins, from there I presume you can get a charter flight to Bayanga in Dzangha Sangha this certainly used to be possible. Whether it still is possible to charter a plane from Douala and how much it would cost I don’t know and whether the flight from N’Djamena to Douala would even work with Camp Nomade’s dates I’m not sure either. Even if it proves possible and not too complicated I imagine it might be pretty expensive but other than Ennedi this is the combination that appeals most to me. @@graceland Of course the select few travel agents that will be offering Zakouma trips will be looking for an answer to your question and may well come up with a way to combine Zakouma with CAR or elsewhere.

 

If you are flying Ethiopian then combining with Ethiopia makes sense but there’s so much to see in Ethiopia that only spending a week there would be a shame. However after Zakouma, hiking in the Simien Mts or going to the Bale Mts and if possible adding a visit to the rock hewn churches at Lalibela (not wildlife but certainly spectacular) would still make for a great trip.

 

Now back to Zakouma

 

Thank you as well @@inyathi - my OH did express interest in this safari of yours...he is a wild and crazy fellow always looking for the next adventure. He is S-O happy I am on safari talk! But as I said, 7 nights is just not enough to consider flying all the way to Africa (although I did an 8-nighter with the Ladies in Feb...but that was just ME...girls getaway)

 

So he asked me to find out what we could add. Now that I have some options, we'd certainly consider it. Of course I cannot travel through 2016 with family problems, but would give us time to research and explore!!

 

Both of us are really enjoying the report, and thank you for taking so much time off to answer my queries.

 

And back to Zakouma1

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

17372691621_64224e22d2_o.jpg 

A nice dark bull

 

17391008029_562b990571_o.jpg 

Another fabulous Zakouma scene giraffes and spurwing geese at Machtour

 

17347069126_1bdc361a66_o.jpg 

With olive baboons

 

17373029805_67089495f6_o.jpg 

 

 

17185205968_3e914ea0d3_o.jpg 

 

 

17185421320_6dbd1d87d4_o.jpg 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
Safaridude

@@inyathi 

 

All of this is just extraordinary… and you have just started.

 

I don't know what to say except now I dream of Zakouma often.

 

And thanks for all the logistical notes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

I have flown in with you but avoided the bumpy landing, unless I suddenly fall off my chair unexpectedly. Great aerial views of all your flights.

 

Hilarious hotel quote.

 

"I 'had been slightly nervous about signing on for this trip fearful that it could never match up to the amazing time that we’d enjoyed last year " Every trip seems to take on almost a personality of its own.

 

Your grace under pressure example cannot be beat!

 

"The park’s logo is inspired by an ancient Chadian rock engraving of a giraffe." Now that is honoring the past!

 

Your photos show this is giraffe heaven! Love the narrow panorama!

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-02346600-1431476674_thumb.jpg post-49296-0-72055400-1431476687_thumb.jpg

~ inyathi:

 

Your images are distracting me from my work — for which I'm grateful.

They're glimpses of a slice of the globe I'm unlikely to ever see.

The sheer number of giraffes exceeds anything that I'd ever imagined.

There are a pair of my students who are infatuated with giraffe biology and paleohistory.

When I see them on Saturday morning I'll refer them to your trip report.

Enjoying the tale as it unfolds.

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

Elephants

 

At the time that the park was established when Kordofan giraffes were in serious trouble elephants were still common in Zakouma and the wider region. However in the last decade the situation has almost reversed, giraffes as we saw are doing remarkably well and it’s elephants that are in serious trouble. From a population of just over 5,000 in 2005 their numbers were reduced by relentless poaching to fewer than 500 at the time of our last visit the main herd numbered just 450. Giraffes may be the symbol of the park but the poaching crisis has made elephants Zakouma’s most iconic species.

 

While they were in real trouble, thanks to the security measures put in place by African Parks the situation is really looking up not a single elephant has been poached in the park since 2011. Severe stress from almost constant attack had caused Zakouma’s elephants to virtually stop breeding but now things are returning to normal and they are back to breeding again, I believe at least 40 new calves have been seen since our visit last year.

 

On that trip we enjoyed the unforgettable experience of walking with the elephants following Zakouma’s main elephant herd. Park Director Rian no longer takes people walking with the elephants after a young bull charged on one occasion, this is in fact a very positive thing, a sign that the elephants are starting to behave normally. Although they do still remain mostly bunched together in single main herd keeping very largely to the thick bush it does seem that the herd is perhaps now starting to split up. Over time as they become more and more relaxed they will start to form more typical sized family groups such as you see in other parks rather than one huge herd.

 

In most other parks elephants are just part of the scenery, when you go out on game drives you can expect to always see at least a few of them but not so in Zakouma. On normal game drives you really just don't see elephants, there are some bulls that can be seen quite easily because they hang around the area of the park that is actually called Zakouma where the park HQ is.

 

17392439041_dc3422e5db_o.jpg 

 

To find elephants otherwise and to find the main herd you have to go and search for them. The best way to do this is from the air.

 

 

 

16948786533_6f39237f8b_o.jpg 

On our flight with Darren, we searched for the elephants along the Salamat River

 

 

17352505146_3de3d3aee2_o.jpg 

 

 

17170997557_c75eac520f_o.jpg 

 

 

17190890270_157fb7d1fb_o.jpg

 

 

17192234789_76932cbe49_o.jpg 

 

 

17378468135_519448bd33_o.jpg 

 

 

17352497826_83f9417d15_o.jpg 

 

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marks

@@inyathi I have appreciated your careful attention to detail in the ebola thread, and it's nice to see that you devote the same care to your trip report (which, of course, tends to be a little more upbeat!). You are clearly some of the most intrepid ST-ers.

 

The "game trails" photo is a real eye-opener. I've seen a number of aerial photos on here and don't recall seeing any trails that were so visible before.

 

The last picture in post #36 must be the mother of all panoramas.

 

Those elephant statistics are encouraging!

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

As I said in my last post (unless you are lucky), you don’t see elephants driving around on normal game drives, we’d arrived in Zakouma on the 1st of April and our flight was on the 4th the elephants that we spotted from the air and a few around the airstrip and the HQ, were the first we’d seen. We wouldn’t see any more elephants for another 5 days, once Elephants have been located from the air, then depending a bit on where they are it should be possible to go and see them on the ground. While we were driving back up the Bahr Salamat, from our camp at Am Kalam, Darren was back up in the air searching for the elephants. While we stopped to enjoy a coffee by the river, a message came through from Darren that he’d spotted a cow and calf drinking on the river. He flew over our heads and having established our location, informed us that they were only quite a short distance away back down the river. Squack and I decided we should go for a little walk to take a look, walking along the bed of the river around several bends, disturbing a few waterbuck along the way, it didn’t take us long to find them.

 

17190883110_7b82141065_o.jpg 

 

A very relaxed mum and calf on the Salamat River

 

17378107751_83081168a7_o.jpg 

 

Standing beside the bank quiet and inconspicuous, we watched this magical scene for a few minutes reluctant to tear ourselves away.

 

17170958467_6944e984de_o.jpg 

 

Seeing this cow elephant happily lying on the sand completely relaxed, just occasionally flapping her ear, while her calf drank beside her will always be one of my most treasured memories of this trip.

 

Darren had said to us, that after his flight, he would drive down to meet us and then take us to see the main herd, so we left mum and calf and walked back to join the others.

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

Knowing where the elephants were, Darren was able to take us straight to them, without too much difficulty, we saw them crossing the road in front of us, though most of the herd remained hidden in the thick bush out of sight. We could hear them crashing around indicating, that there were many more there than we could see.

 

17170940307_8b87a330c9_o.jpg 

 

The Main Herd

 

17376418352_929cfb8b26_o.jpg 

 

 

17352395646_b5f0f986bc_o.jpg 

 

 

17377960031_c2e88f7dda_o.jpg 

 

 

17376377262_7fbb36eae9_o.jpg 

 

 

17190741470_ef7a1106c2_o.jpg

 

 

In years to come, as they do become more relaxed and their population increases, they should start to become a lot more visible, becoming part of the scenery as they are in other parks. It is hoped, that the population can be brought back up to at least 1,000 in the coming years. They won’t of course stop breeding at that point and as they increase further, looking after them while keeping the local people on side, will start to become much more of a challenge.

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

As mentioned earlier elephants can often be seen around Zakouma HQ and they are frequent visitors to Rian and Lorna’s house, often coming for a drink.

 

17392793265_5218c07734_o.jpg 

 

In the garden at Rian and Lorna's house

 

17392797725_a9a4421bc0_o.jpg 

 

Indeed Le Directeur looks after his elephants so well that when they do call in for a drink he serves them one from the garden hose. Watching Rian giving this wild bull a drink while we waited for our flight back to NDJ, is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen. After a while I thought well maybe this is just normal for Zakouma, after all everything in Zakouma is extraordinary, so why not give an elephant water direct from a hose pipe. Next time I'm putting out water for my garden birds, I shall think of Rian and his garden elephants.

 

16770278704_20ee00f1f9_o.jpg 

 

Le Directeur giving his friend a drink

 

16772515913_58baaedccc_o.jpg 

 

 

17392426731_f3b39ae307_o.jpg 

 

17204975848_f41d74f4cf_c.jpg  16772509403_ccccab3303_c.jpg 

 

 

17390791572_73e7bbc2e4_b.jpg 

 

To keep these guys safe, you need to know where they go, so some of them have been radio collared, as have some of those in the main herd, after all the terrible news from the past about Zakouma's elephants, it's great to see how well looked after they now are.

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

yes it will indeed be interesting to see if and how the behaviour of Zakouma’s elephants does change and whether when that calf I saw has grown up they really have reverted to being just like normal elephants elsewhere. I certainly don’t think that 1,000 elephants together in a mega herd would be very good for Zakouma’s vegetation. It was quite noticeable that Zakouma’s trees have not suffered the sort of damage that you so often see in other parks that have large elephant populations. It will be wonderful to see Zakouma’s elephants recover but a bit of a shame if they knock over too many trees.

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

Central African Savannah Buffalos

 

One of our many memorable experiences last year was driving off onto the woodland to see a big herd of buffalos which we managed to get very close to, we also saw some impressive herds from the air, but we never really got to see a herd out in the open. So returning this year we were all very keen to see these beautiful animals, Central African savannah buffalos Syncerus caffer aequinoctialis come in whole range of different shades from very pale brown through to very orange or red brown and on to black almost as if they might be a cross between forest buffalos and cape buffalos. We may not have got as close this time, but see them we certainly did from the moment we arrived and in huge numbers. From a population of just 200, buffalos have grown in number at a rate of 11% a year to in excess of 10,000 and they’re still growing. On our very first afternoon at Camp Nomade a huge herd past by at least as big I would think as any herd you might see in Hwange or Ruaha or even in Katavi. Seeing these enormous herds of buffalo really shows what a remarkable and important wildlife treasure Zakouma is. People who think they know wild Africa but don’t know Zakouma wouldn’t believe that herds of buffalo several thousand strong could be roaming the savannahs of Chad.

 

17366983266_82257bafb5_o.jpg 

The view from in front of my tent at Camp Nomade on our first afternoon

 

17366985226_a6e769b3ac_o.jpg 

 

This is just a tiny portion of the herd

 

17206734159_21d38d1757_o.jpg 

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
Sangeeta

Fantastic reportage, Rob. Love your images and especially your videos - it really brings the park alive. Very happy for you that you got to revisit and enjoy this wonderful wildlife spectacle. Looking forward to much more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

On our drive the same evening

 

 

17205141398_9991b966b8_o.jpg 

 

17390966292_da2239b6f6_o.jpg 

 

17205142968_569ba8ab15_o.jpg 

 

17390962962_71a70c67cb_o.jpg 

 

 

17205357430_bdf9b94038_o.jpg 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

While driving across one of the floodplains/pans (or mbugas as they would call them in Tanzania) at Riguiek we saw a huge herd of buffalos across the other side.

 

17390958562_9b491cd643_o.jpg 

 

16770427734_26c2daa36e_o.jpg 

 

However they wouldn’t allow us to get too close it seems they are still a little skittish when they are out in the open.

 

 

17392942525_c8011bc293_o.jpg 

 

 

17205354750_922263f61b_o.jpg 

 

 

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

On our flight we saw a big herd down in the south of the park, in the Maniam area, but surprisingly when we were actually down in that area, we weren’t able to find more than a few dagga boys.

 

17185489257_506c267203_o.jpg 

 

 

 

17185487917_957e2c0e0c_o.jpg 

 

 

 

 

17366966326_48fb871f2b_o.jpg 

 

 

17206715509_88d2bd8188_o.jpg 

 

 

17206712929_845143017a_o.jpg 

 

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
Sangeeta

This gets more & more insane, Rob!

 

These are amazingly beautiful photos and videos. Never thought I'd find buffalo so incredibly attractive :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
inyathi

A huge herd of buffalos right by Camp Nomade on our final evening

 

 

 

 

 

As well as seeing these huge herds out in the open in the daytime we also often saw or often just heard them while on night drives, listening to thousands of buffalos splashing through the water and mud as they crossed the pan in the pitch dark is another magical Zakouma experience that we won't forget. I could also hear them from my tent as I lay in bed, listening to the sounds of the night is another of the great joys of camping, but usually it's the sound of roaring lions or whooping hyaenas, the sound of thousands of buffalos is not a sound I've ever experienced from a tent before but it certainly brought a smile to my face. :)

Edited by inyathi
Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Love the buffalo section - especially the aerial shots and video, what a fantastic sight that must have been for you all. If I go rob a bank it's all your fault now. ;)

Edited by michael-ibk
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy