Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve

Travel Guide Africa Central African Republic Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve

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Introduction

The Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve is located in the southwest of the Central African Republic on the border area with Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Unlike most of the country, the parks sees a steady influx of adventurous travellers, although numbers are no where near the parks in the east and south of the continent. You will definitely see some fantastic wildlife here including lowland gorillas, elephants and lions. The Baka still live in this remote corner of Africa. Bayanga is the gateway to visit the park and is best reached by charter flight. There are several guesthouses and one lodge to stay in.

Contrary to all accounts of travel in Central African Republic, there have been no serious threats to safety of travelers in the Dzangha-Sangha National Reserve, although caution should be taken if traveling in by road from Bangui.

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Geography

The park is entirely covered in lowland rainforest and is situated adjacent to the Sangha River - a major tributary of the Congo River. Together with Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of the Congo and Lobéké National Park in Cameroon they constitute the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sangha Trinational.

Dzanga-Sangha Forest Reserve lies in the extreme southwest of the Central African Republic, bordering Cameroon to the southwest and Republic of Congo to the southeast. The park consists of nearly 2,000,000 km2 of tropical moist forest, much of which is relatively intact. Combined with its sister reserves, Lobéké National Park in Cameroon and the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, this rainforest is the second largest on earth. The main river running through the reserve is the Sangha River, and the tri-park basin area is often referred to as the Sangha River Tri-national Protected Area (STN).

The average annual rainfall is about 1,500 mm and the average temperature is between 24 and 29 °C. The most precipitation in the reserve area falls in the long rainy season from October to November and in the short rainy season between May and June.

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Sights and Activities

  • Gorilla tracking - Walk through the jungle accompanied by an international team of researchers on the trail of Western Lowland Gorillas
  • Agile Mangabey tracking - Walk through the jungle to observe a troupe of Agile Mangabeys, a poorly understood species of monkey with a vast vocal repertoire
  • Observing Forest Elephants - Walk through the jungle to a large clearing where dozens of elusive forest elephants (one of the rarest species of elephant) can be observed from an elevated platform.
  • Saline tours - Follow elephant paths through the jungle to clearings and salines where a large number of forest residents can be seen (elephants, buffalo, sitatunga, bongos, monkeys, and more.
  • Pirogue ride - Take a ride along the Sangha River in a dugout canoe (pirogue) and enjoy the park from a different, tranquil perspective. On some trips, you will meander through swamps to palm trees and watch as palm wine is extracted.
  • Net Hunting - Accompany pygmies on a hunt through the jungle for small animals. Collect leaves and plants to make delicious sauces back at their camp to accompany the day's catch, cooked up over an open fire.
  • Collect medicinal plant - Accompany a group of pygmy women through the jungle to collect medicinal plants. Learn the secrets of the forest, passed down for millennia of Bantu women, as you search for leaves to press for sap or roll to apply various medicines to the eyes or ear.
  • Music & dance - Spend an evening of singing and dance with a Ba'aka tribe.

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Cost

  • National Park entrance fees, €30/person per day.
  • Visit to forest elephants at Dsangha Bai , €60/person.
  • Gorilla tracking, €300/person.
  • Agile Mangabey tracking, €15/person.
  • Saline tour, €30/person.
  • Pirogue ride on the Sangha, €40/canoe (max. 3 people).
  • Water drumming, €10/person.

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Getting There

From Bangui travel down to Bayanga by car from Bangui is one of the many routes to get to Dzanga Sangha and Sangha Lodge. Vehicles can be hired with drivers from one of several operators in Bangui. A stopover at N'gotto, a national park project with very comfortable accommodation at Encampment Le Buffel Rouge, is recommended. The trip can be done in one very long day's driving and with an early departure from Bangui in good conditions you can easily arrive before dark. It is also possible to charter a small aircraft from Bangui to Bayanga, approximately 1 hour flight and cost dependent on the aircraft size are from $3,500 upwards. Aircraft charters must be arranged well prior to your expected dates of departure.

From Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, it is possible to fly from Brazzaville to Ouesso in the north of the country on a scheduled Trans-Air Congo flight, and from there with the proper prior arrangements the Sangha lodge boat can collect you and transfer you upriver to the lodge. This is our most popular route for this trip.

From Yaoundé or Douala, in Cameroon it is possible to travel overland with a stopover in the towns of Bertoua and Yakadouma to Lebongo on the Sangha river where with prior arrangement the Sangha lodge boat can collect you and transfer you upriver to the lodge.

From Libreville in Gabon it is possible to charter a plane directly to Bayanga, or to Ouesso and from there transfer to Bayanga By the Sangha Lodge Pirogue.

4X4 Vehicles can be rented from a host of small, independent operators in Bayanga. The average cost is around 100 euros per day which includes a driver, but excludes fuel.

Pirogues, can be rented from Sangha Lodge [1] for travel to and from either Cameroon or The Republic Of Congo.

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Drink

Palm wine, a local specialty, is available at local bars.

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Sleep

Curently there are 2 lodges:

Sangha Lodge is situated on the banks of the Sangha river in the heart of the forest, and is a quiet and relaxing camp from which to base yourself. reservations@sanghalodge.com.

Doli Lodge, far larger, situated adjacent to the village of Bayanga is ideal for those who like to visit the local villages. The kitchen sometimes features a buffet of tasty African dishes.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 10:04 on Aug 30, 17 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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