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Zakouma – A belated report from March 2019


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Thanks for following along with my ramblings folks, today was going to be dedicated to finding the “Mega-herd” of Elephants so it was a slightly earlier start with a packed lunch.  Some of the herd ar

Yes, @Kitsafari, the "hide" was a great way to get a close-up, low level elephant experience, I wouldn't have fancied trying to get those pictures by lying on the ground in front of them.  There is a

Thanks @Atravelynn & everyone for following.   Breakfasts don’t take long so we were soon heading out and our first sighting of the morning was the “local” Side-striped Jackal

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AfricIan

Many thanks to @Botswanadreams, @Kitsafari, @michael-ibk, @Atravelynn, @TonyQ & @Zim Girl for your kind words and everyone for their “likes”, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reliving the trip with me.

 

 So, Zakouma National Park – did it live upto expectation?  Absolutely and more, its an expensive trip and not without its hassles but well worth it. If it’s not on your safari wish list then it should be!

 

Firstly, a big thank you to our fellow guests, we were a very diverse group but all got on very well.  Secondly to @Doug Macdonald & Steve for showing us all Zakouma has to offer and to @Tony Busanga & @Sangeeta for arranging.

 

Other than the breakfasts, Tinga camp is fine and as @Kitsafari mentioned above, the cost saving over Camp Nomade is substantial.  @Kitsafari also said because of this cost differential, she didn’t begrudge the priorities being given to Camp Nomade – whilst to a certain extent I can understand this, especially not having us “cluttering up” their amazing views over the Riguek pan, I was less enamoured with us essentially having to “jump out their way” at times and the fact that we “lost” a full day in Zakouma as AP favoured the Camp Nomade guests over us.
At the start of the report I mentioned that I’d had a phone call from @Tony Busanga to say that our flight out to Zakouma when we arrived had been cancelled for “technical reasons” – I queried this with Doug who said that Camp Nomade wanted to use the plane and because it was coming in from Enneddi  there wasn’t time for it to make 2 trips that afternoon.  Doug did try to charter another aircraft but SVS had no plane available for that day and MAF were not allowed to do it (possibly they don’t fly on Sundays?). We were originally told we would fly out to Zakouma next morning but again the plane was commandeered by Nomade to bring their guests in first and the Tinga guests were flown in second after lunch.
When we got back to N’Djamena there was an African leaders conference just ending so although we were able to land, we were held in the car park for a few hours and joined by guests who were heading out to both Tinga & Camp Nomade next morning – Next day, the Camp Nomade guests did indeed fly out in the morning but when we saw the new Tinga guests they told us that they’d just been told they weren’t going until after lunch! 
Anyway, rant over, TIA & I know both Doug & Tony did everything they could.  

 

At the start of this report I posted a photo of Tilly, she was about 2 weeks old at that time and my arm was immobilised as the ligaments etc in my shoulder re-knitted.  The good news is that my shoulder appears to be absolutely fine and Tilly is now 6 months old and looks somewhat different to that original picture.  She is a typical Springer – everything at 100mph so I’ll close the report with her enjoying a day on the beach last weekend

 

IMG_0331.JPG.939dc26cfcee3669478b57f8cebe5286.JPG

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Atravelynn

This says it all:

"So, Zakouma National Park – did it live upto expectation?  Absolutely and more, its an expensive trip and not without its hassles but well worth it. If it’s not on your safari wish list then it should be!" 

Thanks for the additional contrast between Nomad and Tinga.  Appreciate it.

Nice Tilly update.   She is blossoming into a beauty!

 

 

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Botswanadreams

@Atravelynn I have to say on our time in Zakouma only one weak before we never had the feeling that the Camp Nomade Guest are more privileged. We had nice conversation with them as we came back from our beautiful Elefant encounter and they went for there fly camping to catch up the big herd. We were together out on the market day and at least we enjoined together our Elephant Bull experience at the manager house. Never ever we had a feeling to be second class visitors. 

 

There is a restricted area around Camp Nomad when guest are in. This is fine for me but we also shared a lion sightseeing together close on the border of this restricted area. 

 

I have no reason to complain about this.  

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So good to read your TR!  When I stayed at Nomade I didn't see any eles at all, even when at the manager's house! I guess one advantage there is that the tents are so open with just mesh it means it's really cool at night. But in March it'll be Tinga, so it'll be interesting to see if it's much different, although those rooms look like they can be quite hot. Loved the pic of the croc skull!

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Kitsafari

@AfricIan Tilly is gorgeous and just  look at that cheeky and happy face!

 

I can see where you are coming from on the flights, unfortunately there really seems to be only one charter air now being used. I suppose economically, it doesn't make sense for AParks to hire another since the volumes do not justify it, but AParks will need to sort out the schedules better otherwise it will become an issue since no safarigoers want to lose time waiting at an airport while they can be on a game drive!

 

from what @Botswanadreams said, I'm just surprised that there seems to be different approaches to mixing with the nomade guests. wasn't @Botswanadreams also guided by Doug? 

 

 

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Botswanadreams

@Kitsafari Yes our group was with Doug too. As we met the Camp Nomad guests the first time they wanted to know about our day with the elephants. On the marked we all parked the cars on the same spot. If you are the first on a sightseeing outside the restricted area you can stay. If Camp Nomad guest the first than we wouldn't be allowed to join them. On our finally day at the managers house the guests from Camp Nomad were already there but after a wile Steve went to the manager and ask for permission to join them and he got.     

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AfricIan

I've got to agree with you @Kitsafari, AP do need to sort the flights out.  There are clearly issues with the charters in Chad as both @Botswanadreams and our flights were with a Tanzanian operator and from what Doug has said, he couldn't get anyone else to take us.

 

My other comments are really just minor observations & its not too surprising if different people have slightly different perspectives - The most important thing is that all our group & hopefully all of @Botswanadreams's group had a fabulous time and would recommend a visit to Zakouma to everyone :)

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On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 7:31 AM, Kitsafari said:

@AfricIan Tilly is gorgeous and just  look at that cheeky and happy face!

 

I can see where you are coming from on the flights, unfortunately there really seems to be only one charter air now being used. I suppose economically, it doesn't make sense for AParks to hire another since the volumes do not justify it, but AParks will need to sort out the schedules better otherwise it will become an issue since no safarigoers want to lose time waiting at an airport while they can be on a game drive!

 

from what @Botswanadreams said, I'm just surprised that there seems to be different approaches to mixing with the nomade guests. wasn't @Botswanadreams also guided by Doug? 

 

I think the uncertainty is the problem, rather than just priority. Someone has to miss out if they can't set a schedule for the season and keep to it. I'd say the solution would be to add an extra day if going to Tinga -  then you could only have more days than predicted and never fewer! Would negatively affect budgets and guide's schedules though, I suppose.

 

 

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AfricIan
3 hours ago, pault said:

I think the uncertainty is the problem

 

You are right @pault, whilst we were waiting to get out of the car park at N'Djamena, both Camp Nomade and Tinga guests had been told they would be leaving the following morning but wouldn't be able to take all their luggage which would follow-on in the afternoon.  I don't know at what stage it was decided to take Camp Nomade guests (presumably with all their luggage) & leave the Tinga guests to the afternoon

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Botswanadreams

@pault I only can speak of my experience. We didn't miss any minute in Zakouma following this changed flight. We arrived at Zakouma in the late afternoon (a little bit later as expected because of the air crash in Addis only a few minutes before our regularly take off time was). We left the park at around 2 pm. So we had a full morning drive until noon. I think important is that you stay one night after Zakouma in N'Djamena. 

 

Our first missing night in N'Djamena we changed to an extra night on our Ennedi trip afterwards. Ok we missed the horse rise but got a sightseeing tour to the museums for it. It was totally ok for me.   

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AfricIan

What a difference 6 months makes, look at the current water level at Tinga - just posted on Instagram by Zakouma 

 

image.png.753598b8192853b894058cb33a88d296.png

 

I don't fancy the swim to the chalets :wacko:

Edited by AfricIan
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  • 2 weeks later...
Caracal

 

Late here I know but have just indulged myself and thoroughly enjoyed reading this splendid report in one go.

 

Great sightings and narrative - what a wonderful experience for you both @AfricIan.

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AfricIan

Better late than never @Caracal, many thanks for the complements and I'm glad you enjoyed my ramblings

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Zubbie15

Really great report that I was just able to get caught up on. Not sure we'll ever go somewhere where the temperatures goes over 40, so I'll have to enjoy Zakouma second hand through the reports here! 

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  • 8 months later...

Great report! A very interesting reading! Thanks for posting!

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