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Paradise Regained – Parc National Zakouma Tchad


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@Caracal  @Geoff  @TonyQ  Thanks so much for the kind words. I think zakouma struck a chord with all of us not only because of the high densities of the animals and birds but also because of their nonchalant acceptance of our presence. They didnt flee or took flight but allowed us, albeit  at a distance, to watch them in their natural habitat. It is literally one of the last places on earth with such densities, and as you said @Caracal an echo of times gone by. what incredible images those parks would have had. We were one generation too late to enjoy those marvellous scenes of plenty.

Edited by Kitsafari
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Fantastic Trip report @Kitsafari. The work and energy you have put into it is much appreciated.

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Coming in at the tail end, but I too would like to express my special thanks to Kit for such a lovingly written account of a memorable trip. All of it was brilliant, but made even more so because of the thoughtfulness and gentleness that everyone displayed towards everyone else - traits that were best exemplified by Squack. So thank you guys for being the best safari buddies ever, Squack, @Safaridude, @twaffle, Mr Twaffle, @Kitsafari - you deserve a big big hug for doing this one on behalf of the team ?

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@Hads thanks much for the appreciation! I'm so glad you enjoyed the report . :)



@Sangeeta  we did hit it off very well, didn't we? as with other STers who have and continue to team up, it shows that with a little give and take, and a lot of respect and understanding for the others no matter how different a background we come from, go a long way to a very amiable and pleasant GTG. I'm very much lookiing forward to the next one! :D


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  • 2 weeks later...

@Kitsafari....finally I have read and viewed the entire trip report.  A most compatible group, a discovery of a place that most of have not been,  and what a wonderful report you have given.  Love the White Pelicans.  Now must get out Jonathan Living Seagull and a couple of poetry books!  Thanks for the inspiration.

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@marg thanks for the kind words. Jonathan Living Seagull moulded me when I first read it and then watched the movie in my late teens. It made me value individualism and be proud of who I am, rather than be someone others wanted me to be to get in with the crowd. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Kitsafari I hope that adding the Tinga images here will not detract from your beautiful pictures elsewhere (everyone - these photos are much too bad to have been taken by Kit!)




Tinga lounge/mess area


Tinga bandas


Tinga - view from mess area


Tinga - Menu du jour


Tinga curio shop


Tinga bar area


Tinga - cool wall art


Tinga bedroom


Tinga bedroom


Tinga bathroom


Tinga shower


Tinga toilet


Tinga ceiling fan


Tinga stucco walls


Tinga mess/lounge area


Tinga sit out and fire pit


Tinga bulletin board


Tinga beverage station


Tinga artisanal


Tinga vehicle

Edited by Sangeeta
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Yay you've put up the tinga photos! They give a good flavour of what the place is like. Still love that dining area; it looked so comfy to relax with a book. And they have fans! 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/28/2017 at 2:02 PM, Kitsafari said:

Yay you've put up the tinga photos! They give a good flavour of what the place is like. Still love that dining area; it looked so comfy to relax with a book. And they have fans! 

Fans schmans.  They have Mousse au Chocolat!

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  • 1 month later...
On ‎6‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 3:08 PM, Kitsafari said:

@pault I'm already starting to look forward to your (joint hopefully, and epic for sure!) TR next year!


The logistics of that report don't bear  thinking about.....  it'll be epic in some way though. Yours was certainly epic.


Well I thought I was almost caught up some months gao, but I wasn't and there was quite a bit still to go, including the excellent contributions by @Safaridude and @inyathi 


You were a real tease leaving the honey badgers until last, but there they were..

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  • 2 months later...

I'm off to Zakouma in February and sooo excited. I've downloaded a bird checklist but I need a mammal checklist. So far online searches haven't yielded anything so wondering if anyone has a suggestion. 

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I’m very pleased to see in the latest email from AP that elephant numbers have passed 550, as the BBC said on their news report yesterday just 40 years ago there were 20,000 so there should be room for plenty more especially since the area under AP’s protection has at least doubled.


@Galago For my two trips I created my own combined bird and mammal checklist using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, that included all the mammals that I thought should be found in Zakouma not including bats or any species smaller than squirrels. However, I think on both occasions I was supplied with an official park checklist, on my second visit this had been updated to include more birds. This park list includes a few of the small mammals I left of my list and some of the main reptile species, I would guess that you will be given one of these lists, I’m sure @Kitsafari or @Sangeeta can confirm if this will be the case.


I’ve been birding a couple of times with a company call Tropical Birding and their checklists are always created using Microsoft Excel, so I just copied the idea and create my own lists for any trip for which I know I won’t be given a checklist. Usually I download a birdlist from the Avibase website and copy the names on to the spreadsheet and then for Africa if I can’t find a mammals list for the country I just use my Kingdon Field Guide as a reference to make one up.  It takes a little bit of time to do, but if you want a daily list then using a spreadsheet you can adjust the number of days to suit the length of your trip. Quite often with Africa I only need to edit an existing list I’ve made before, by adding and subtracting a few birds and mammals to change it from one country to another. If I go back somewhere, as I did with Zakouma I only have to modify the number of days if necessary. I always allow a few blank pages, to write in the ones I’ve inevitably missed out for some reason, and to add any reptiles.  


I would think also that the guide you're going with should be able to make sure you get a park list, otherwise I can add my list of mammals here if that would help. 

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@Galago I'm so thrilled for you that it's only about 5 weeks to go before you land in the magical land. each time I hear someone about to head out to Zakouma, I'm so tempted to jump on board as well. 


@inyathi I agree - such fabulous news about the increased numbers in the elephant count. And still so many babies too which augur well for the future of the pachyderm. African Parks is doing a sterling job in the management of Zakouma park,and I was very happy to hear that Chad has expanded the area around Zakouma under AP's management. I'm still mixed in my reaction to the appointment of Prince Harry but the inclusion of him will most certainly bring in more sponsors as the royal fans will surely want to support his causes which has to be a very good thing for the African parks!


@inyathi remembers very well. @Galago, you should find a checklist list in your tent at Camp Nomade. it looks like this: 




In the 2017 list, they had 398 bird species, 64 mammals and 59 reptiles. I imagine they would have increased the list since. 



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@inyathi and @Kitsafari  Thank you both so much for your very helpful responses. My experience of lists supplied by bush camps is so varied (from good to virtually useless) I always try to take my own. And I like to mark them up in advance so that I know which are Lifers, most especially for birds. I downloaded a list from African Bird Club and it's already set up with a sufficient number of days for me to go through it at the end of the day, being the inveterate Lister that I am! Of course, it's for the whole of Chad which means there are a lot of species not recorded in Zakouma, but not a problem. 


@inyathi If you're able to put your mammal list here I'd love to see it. I'm probably not going to take Kingdon as the bird field guide (Helm) weighs just over a kilo and, when added to optics, that's quite a bit of the weight limit spoken for! I'm sure a copy will be available there. However, I'd love to go through the list in advance, so much appreciated @inyathi Thank you.


I agree it's great news about the elephant count and I enjoyed listening to the report on BBC radio and seeing it on TV. Like @Kitsafari I have mixed feelings but I'm trying to think positively (despite my republican sentiments) and to focus on the higher profile for African Parks that this will provide. However, P Harry has to stop hunting, otherwise it makes a complete joke of conservation. Currently the family engages in shooting grouse and pheasant in the UK (and used to fox hunt) and these game bird estates have been shown to be responsible for the deaths of many raptors and, in Scotland, the mountain hare. He didn't go on the Boxing Day hunt and the press attributed this to the influence of his fiancée - but I wonder if it was influenced by this new position. I hope so. Having said that, just last month he was shooting wild boar in Germany. It all looks a little two-faced to me.

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I recently bought the second edition of the Kingdon Field Guide and it a big improvement on the first, but one consequence of that, is that it is a little bit heavier, for that reason I regard it as a book for my bookshelf. I do though usually take his pocket guide with me. I haven’t bought the new edition so I don’t know if it’s heavier, but even if it was a bit, it would still be a lightweight book. I only really take it just in case, I see some small mammal like say a squirrel or something of that sort of size or smaller that I might not be able to identify. I like to think that I can identify everything bigger than that if I get a good enough view of it, if I didn’t get a good enough view and a guide couldn’t tell me, then I suppose the book might come in handy. In Zakouma if you see something you’re not too sure about, I think you should be able to identify it, just by consulting the park list. In general, on safari I think if you know your mammals and you’re also with a good guide, you don’t really need a mammals book in the field, whereas if you’re birder a bird book is essential. 


I’ve just copied the following list straight from my checklist that's on my computer, I haven’t added some of the very small species that are on AP’s park list, I don’t generally include such species, because you tend never to see them anyway. I have added one species to the list, the yellow-winged bat, as Squack found one during my last visit and it hadn’t been recorded in Zakouma before, so it wasn’t on the list that AP had given me. It should be on their list now, however, I’ve left out the other bats that are on their list.  


Senegal galago

Olive baboon

Tantalus monkey

Patas monkey

Scrub hare

Crested porcupine

Striped ground squirrel

Gambian sun squirrel

Yellow-winged bat

Pale/sand fox

Side-striped jackal

Golden jackal

African Wild dog

Ratel/honey badger

Ichneumon mongoose

Slender mongoose

white-tailed mongoose

Banded mongoose

Spotted hyaena

Striped hyaena


Common genet

Central African Large-spotted/blotched genet (Genetta maculata)

Wild cat






Ground pangolin


Rock hyrax

Bush elephant

Common warthog

Kordofan giraffe

African buffalo (Central African savannah)

Greater kudu


Red-flanked duiker

Common/Grimm’s duiker


Defassa waterbuck

Buffon's/western kob

Bohor reedbuck

Red-fronted gazelle

Roan antelope

Lelwel hartebeest






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Have you seen this one?




I think that´s quite handy for a bird and mammal list (no reptiles though), especially as it references the page numbers in "Birds of Africa South of the Sahara" (which I will bring along for my trip).

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@michael-ibk That's obviously a newer updated version of the park list and I assume the most up to date version, besides the yellow-winged bat, it includes several more bats that aren't on my AP park list, they've obviously also added a few more birds since they printed the list I was given, which has only 384 species, that new list goes up to 398, I guess they must have had a few more birders visit Zakouma, I wouldn't be too surprised if there are still a couple more birds to be added. 


I don't have the most recent edition of Birds of Africa South of the Sahara, but I much prefer the illustrations in the old copy that I do have, to the ones in the Birds of Western Africa, if it wasn't for this I'd say that the latter is the better book for Zakouma, because it's obviously not as thick and therefore lighter and the maps are bigger and clearer (that doesn't mean they're necessarily accurate) but I just don't like some of the illustrations, I don't how much this is to do with the artist and how much to do with the printing. It's a shame because Birds of Africa ..... is quite a heavy book.

Edited by inyathi
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@inyathi Thanks so much and I agree, the bird field guide is so much more of a necessity. I loved looking through your list of mammals and thanks for posting it. I was delighted to see that there are a lot so species/ sub-species I've never seen - just adds to the anticipation! I'm taking Borrow & Demey 2nd edition (picked it up for a song online :D) and I agree with you that the illustrations aren't that great. I like the maps though and, even allowing for some inaccuracy, it's going to be helpful as I'm not familiar with Western African birds, apart from a short spell in The Gambia. 

@michael-ibk  Thank you for the link. I've printed out the mammal checklist, really useful. I'm puzzled why the bird checklist is in alphabetical and not taxonomic order as this renders it much less usable. Do you know why because the Chad list from ABC is taxonomic. And when are you going to Chad - wondering if we're on the same trip 6-16 Feb.


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@Galago You might have noticed when you read through that list that it says 



Our thanks to John Pearse Safaris for rearranging the list into alphabetical order, and for adding the page numbers


Why they've decided to do this I don't know, the version of the park list that I have is not alphabetical, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, I would hope that they haven't printed the park checklists this way, the other difference is that list gives the page number for Sinclair's Birds of Africa.... for each bird and then only has 6 days whereas the checklist I have doesn't have the page numbers and has 7 days. If you are making your own list as I do then you can design it how you like, I don't bother to include scientific names, I just make sure I've got the accepted common names or the names that I know and that match the book I'm using. My one real criticism of AP's checklist is that it is printed very small, they've got 57 species per page, whereas on my homemade list I've only got 40 so I find mine rather easier to read.

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@michael-ibk's list is exactly the same as the 2017 list I got from zakouma, except the reptile list is missing. I'm not sure if @Galago and Michael would be interested but since I can't sleep at 1.43am in my time zone, I shall type it out as @inyathi has done for the mammals.

p/s - i'm glad I didn't pay any attention to the reptile list while I was in camp there - 39 of the listed reptiles are snakes!


West African crocodile

African savannah monitor lizard

Nile monitor lizard

common agama

Brook's house gecko

Western half-toed house gecko

five-lined skink

Senegal skink

Orange-flanked skink

African chameleon

African spurred tortoise

Bell's Hinged tortoise

Forest hinged tortoise

Marsh Terrapin

Adanson's hinged terrapin

Black hinged terrapin

Nubian flap-shelled terrapin

senegal flap-shelled terrapin

nile soft-shelled terrapin

Muller's sand boa

central african python

Egyptian cobra

Black-necked spitting cobra

Black mamba

West African nile adder

West African carpet viper


Western Herald snake

Common herald snake

Egg-eater boomslang

Striped olympic snake

ornate olypmic snake

savanna lesser file snake

smith's water snake

Tholion's water snake

Southeastern snake 

Black nouse snake

striped house snake

Wolf snake

Crosse's file snake

western crowned snake

variable marsh snake

Irregular green snake

Spotted green snake

Speckled snake

Elegant snake

Philip's sand snake

striped sand snake

White-bellied sand snake

Rufous beaked snake

Western cat snake

variable cat snake

Western purple-gloss snake

black-collareed centipede eater (?!)

Slender borrowing asp

dahomey borrowing asp

sahelian borrowing asp

Half-banded garter snake

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@inyathi Yes, I saw that - and it doesn't make sense to me either! The African Bird Club Chad list has 50 species per page with a blue strip through alternate species, which helps with reading. It also has a row of 15 day tick boxes, so no work to do really - apart from wishing I was there for 15 days!

I've found a reptile list on igoterra.com which I've adapted an added to my other checklists. 3 species of Spitting Cobra - eek! I'm always nervous about snakes because it's unusual to see one and, therefore, I have very poor ID skills!

@Kitsafari  Aaargh, your post has just popped up. Much longer than the one I found. Now I really do have the screaming habdabs:blink:  Thank you for posting it though and I hope your insomnia passes quickly - although I'm not sure that copying lists of venomous snakes is necessarily the most calming of activities, haha!

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@Galago I'm only hoping I don't get nightmares of sssnakessss instead!


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@Kitsafari  Love the fact that there are Hinged tortoises and Hinged terrapins. This, presumably, is in contrast to 'Unhinged Tourist' when she spots a snake nearby :D

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LOL! you'll create a whole new species in Zakouma's species list then!


You might get lucky (!) and spot that cobra we saw entwined in the bush! just make sure to wear your goggles if you stop to say hi. 

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