Chad & Cameroon.. (optional extension to the island nation of Sao Tome)
November 29 to December 13, 2018
Thriving traditional cultures, renowned art forms, flamboyantly colorful festivals, mask dances, and a dazzling ethnic mosaic are the golden gems of tribal Africa. This fantastic cultural odyssey takes you to the remote and seldom visited countries of Chad and Cameroon
The enormous country of Chad has long been a blank on the map of Africa – but no more. We are proud to offer a trip to this most pioneering of destinations, a land that is as wild as it is beautiful, as untamed as it is graceful. A land of rock arches, of surprising wildlife, and camel caravans traversing the sands, Chad’s allure is the fact that it is virtually unexplored and you are unlikely to see any other westerners outside of the capital. Chad is one of the least visited of all African countries, where genuine encounters with local people are guaranteed.
If you think you've see the best of what Africa has to offer for wildlife safaris, think again.. Think ZAKOUMA in Chad. Starting in January 2015, Africa Parks opened Zakouma up to visitation, and with only 112 guests admitted per year, we are very excited that we are one of them. Zakouma has the four out of the big five, including buffalo, lion, leopard and elephant, and its elephant herd is one of the largest left in Africa. If you're a bird lover, this trip has your name on it too! One of the rarest birds in Africa, The Black-Breasted Barbet, can be found here, and you're guaranteed to add many new species to your bird list. With Simple lodge accommodation you are guaranteed to have a safari experience like none other Cameroon is home to an astonishing 250 different ethnic groups and a matching diversity of landscapes, from the jungles of the south to the Sahel of the north. Virtually off the map as far as tourism is concerned, Cameroon is home to some of the most traditional cultures in Africa.
Per person sharing in double occupancy (air and land from JFK, Newark or Dulles,DC): $8,995.00
Single Supplement: $795.00
Sao Tome extension: $1,200.00 per person sharing in double occupancy
Single supplement: $200.00
Led by Local guides
Credit for not using our included airfare $900.00
Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants
Available option for Airlines into Chad and out of Cameroon; Air France, Turkish and Ethiopian Airlines
Your tour does not include
- All Visa expenses & country departure taxes.
- Sao Tome hotel tax of €3/person/night.
- Airport taxes, fuel surcharges and security charges (Approx. $500.00 - subject to change).
- Vaccinations, yellow fever immunization is required.
- Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.
- Items of a personal nature: beverages, laundry, phone calls, email, souvenirs, etc.
- Hotel accommodations necessitated by changes in air schedules or misconnections.
- Travel protection insurance (highly recommended).
- Airfare from Cameroon to Sao Tome and back (current approx. cost is $500.00
- Any fluctuations of currency.
Your tour includes
- International air from East Coast to Chad and back from Cameroon and One way air N’djamena to Duala.
- Accommodation at hotels mentioned or similar.
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: breakfast, L: lunch and D: dinner).
- Transportation in a minibus with A/C only in Cameroon.
- Transportation in a minibus in non-A/C 4x4 cars in Chad.
- All visits to sites, villages, monuments and museums.
- English speaking guide and Local guides at various villages.
- Tips to guide, drivers, hotel & restaurant staff and porters.
- Mineral bottled water on vehicles.
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.
** -*** Moderate to Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars) in larger cities, while camp in Chad is considered simple. Only 3 rooms at Zakouma camp offer en-suite bathrooms equipped with western toilets but they cannot be allocated to single occupants. Single people will be allocated rooms in the camp with Turkish style toilets. Only 5 rooms are available for singles.
Special trip notes:
Chad is our most pioneering destination and is consdiered a very small and new player in the tourism field and their infrastructure is quite underdeveloped and hence participatnats must understand and agree that by joining this trip, they are committing to be very flexible and will accept any sudden changes that may be iomposed on us to alter or change the tour sequence, itinreray, accommodations, and facilities depending on many factors such as political condition,s security comcerns, sudden availability shortages, sand storms or change of hotels due to unexpected events. Also vehicles in Chad are not A/C equipped and the weather will be rather warm and drive can be dusty therefore a high level of tolerance and acceptance must be expected.
When travelling you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work there as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humor. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.
View Tour Itinerary
USA to N’Djamena
Depart the US arriving in N’Djamena the next day.
Arrive in N’Djamena, meet and transfer to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore, or you can simply relax at the hotel and prepare for your adventure. Overnight Hotel Mercure or similar
Formerly known as Fort Lamy, Chad's capital sits on the banks of the Chari River facing Cameroon and is the largest city in the country. Founded by the French at the turn of the 20th century, it has grown from a town with a population of around ten thousand in the 1930s to something approaching a million now. Over the years it has seen its fair share of conflict, largely destroyed during the civil war of the 80s and stormed by rebel forces in 2008. Its wide boulevards were once flanked with trees, but these were cut down to deprive attackers of covers, and only in recent years did its dusty streets become paved. Rather devoid of traditional sights, N'Djamena is home to a large and sprawling central market which is interesting to explore, and also contains the National Museum with a collection of prehistoric artefacts from the surrounding area. It is also the most ethnically diverse place in Chad, with people from both the southern and northern ethnic groups as well as Lebanese, European and more recently Chinese populations.
After breakfast, drive to Guera, south east of N’Djamena, upon arrival enjoy its striking granite inselbergs and different ethnic groups. Afterwards transfer to your camp for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive to Zakouma, arrive at Zakouma National Park and your lodge, situated on the banks of a river in the heart of the park. (B,L,D)
Zakouma National Park
Three days to explore Zakouma National Park in search of its wildlife. Excursions will be made on foot and by vehicle, and we will also visit some of the villages close to the park. Overnight at Tinga Lodge. (B,L,D)
Zakouma National Park
Zakouma is an African success story. Decimated by poaching during Chad’s numerous periods of conflicts, wildlife levels diminished enormously but in recent years an EU funded programme has enabled key species such as elephants to be better protected. Elephant populations are starting to recover, and other species to be found here include cheetah, leopard, lion, buffalo and giraffe, with plans to reintroduce black rhino in coming years. Zakouma offers a true wilderness experience, and game viewing here rivals the better known parks in East Africa – bit with a fraction of the visitors you are likely to have sightings all to yourself.
Dec 05 - 06
Guera - N’Djamena
DLeave Zakouma and head north through savannah to the village of Mongo, situated in a hilly area dominated by the 1500m Mount Guedi. Explore local villages en route back to N’Djamena. (B,L,D)
N’Djamena – Douala
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Douala, upon arrival meet and transfer to your hotel for your overnight. (B)
The largest city in the country, Douala is chaotic and lively and to some may be intimidating, but offers a great snapshot of modern Cameroon. Although undoubtedly the economic powerhouse of Cameroon, it is not the political capital - Yaoundé, a few hours’ drive away, is where the government is based. Douala however is much older and was founded by the Portuguese when they first arrived in the 15th century - indeed it was the Portuguese that are responsible for the modern name, as it is derived from the word 'cameroes' (prawns) a reference to the good fishing that they found here. Today it is a vibrant city with an excellent nightlife, and although like many cities in the region parts are rather run down, it can be a fun place to explore and soak up the tropical ambience.
Ekom Falls - Manengouba
Drive to the west of the country, visiting the impressive Ekom Falls, located in beautiful primary forest. We stop in markets along the way and from here head to Manengouba and the restored colonial farm of Kleber Lodge. (B,L,D)
Bandjoun - Petpenoun
Drive through the lands of the Bamileke people, great artisans and agriculturalists and one of Cameroon’s largest ethnic groups. We visit the Kingdom of Bandjoun, not far from the regional capital Bafoussam, and visit the palace. From Bandjoun we head to the picturesque resort of Petpenoun for the night. (B,L,D)
The Bamileke people
The Bamileke are spread throughout three regions of Cameroon - West, North-West and South-West, and also split between the English and French speaking regions. Historically, the Bamun and the Bamileke were united, but during the mid-17th century, the Bamiléké people's forefathers left the north to avoid being forced to convert to Islam and migrated as far south as Foumban. Conquerors came all the way to Foumban to try to impose Islam on them. A war began, pushing some people to leave while others remained, submitting to Islam, which marks the current division between the Bamun and Bamiléké people. The Bamileke are organised into chiefdoms. The chief, or fon is considered as the spiritual, political, judicial and military leader. The chief is also considered as the 'Father' of the chiefdom. The successor of the 'Father' is chosen among his children. The successor's identity is typically kept secret until the fon's death. The fon has typically 9 ministers and several other advisers and councils. The ministers are in charge of the crowning of the new fon. In addition, a "queen mother" or mafo was an important figure for some fons in the past.
After breakfast, Visit Foumban, home of the Bamoun people. We explore the town and visit its art museum as well as 19th century royal palace. We also visit the central market, one of the most colourful in Cameroon, and walk through the artisans’ quarter. The Bamoun are great craftsmen, working with wood and bronze, and most of the pieces they create are exported overseas to collectors. Return to Petpenoun where you can take walks around the lake if you wish. Overnight Domaine de Petpenoun or similar. (B,L,D)
Foumban is a predominantly Muslim town and the seat of the Sultanate of the Bamoun people, founded in the fifteenth century and one of the oldest towns in Cameroon. As well as a royal palace there are also some old German colonial buildings, and its museums hold excellent examples of Bamoun arts and crafts as well as exhibits on local history, masks, traditional dress and everyday items that have been used in Bamoun life. It is particularly rich in local culture and crafts and the Rue des Artisans is home to all manner of small shops and workshops making this one of the best places in Central Africa to buy wood carvings.
This morning we explore the area surrounding Petpenoun, which is home to Fulani families living in semi-nomadic settlements. Afterwards drive back to your hotel for our final night in Cameroon. Overnight Sawa Hotel or similar. (B,L)
Or transfer to the airport for those who are doing Sao Tome extension.
The Fulani, also known as Peul, Wodaabe or Mbororo, are also traditionally nomadic, searching for new pastures in arid lands for their sizable flocks of sheep, goats and cattle. Darker skinned than the Tuareg, the Fulani women plait their hair and often wear silver coins or discs into their hair, and sometimes have tattooed faces. They are the largest nomadic group of people in the world and can be found in many different parts of Africa, from Guinea to Sudan.
Back to USA or go to São Tome
Fly to São Tomé and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon explore the charming capital on foot and by vehicle. Overnight Praia Hotel or similar. (B,D)
São Tomé Town
One of the most charming African capitals, São Tomé Town was first established in the late 15th century by the Portuguese who had landed on the island in search of land to grow sugar. Today it is a fascinating mix of old colonial architecture, jumbled markets and Mediterranean style villas, interspersed with more ramshackle houses on the outskirts. It’s also home to one of the oldest cathedrals in Africa, the 16th century Cathedral of Santa Se, and the Sao Sebastiao Fort, built around the same time and today housing the National Museum. São Tomé is a rather atmospheric place, its colonial buildings adorned with wooden balconies and ranging from well restored to rather dilapidated – a different feel to other African capitals and sometimes more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the mainland.
São Tome dos Angolares – Praia Inhame
Drive south to the coastal village of São João dos Angolares. On the way visit the colonial era hospital at Agua Eize and the fishing village of Ribeira Afonse. The journey takes you into the heart of the Caue district at the extreme south of the island, where the road ends and onward travel is difficult. Overnight at Praia Inhame Eco lodge. (B,L,D)
São João dos Angolares
São João is a small fishing village with a wide black sand bay dotted with coconut palms and fishing boats, in the shade of Pico Maria Fernandes. The ‘Angolares’ part of the name is attributed to the legend that its inhabitants are the descendants of Angolan slaves, shipwrecked here in the 16th century, and the people here speak a unique dialect supposedly derived from a local Angolan language. The Roca São João, where we stay, is an old converted plantation house which is locally renowned for its good cuisine and has been lovingly restored to maintain its historic charm.
Take a boat trip to tiny Rolas Island, which sits off the south coast of Sao Tome and straddles the equator. Explore the island with its small village and wild beaches, before returning to Praia Inhame. Overnight Praia Inhame Eco lodge. (B,L,D)
A free morning to relax or explore the surrounding area. In the afternoon walk to the beach of Praia Jade, where we learn about a local project to protect turtles and with a bit of luck, watch them emerging from the sea to lay eggs. Return to Praia Inhame for the night. Overnight Praia Inhame Ecolodge. (B,L,D)
Sao Tome to USA
Return to the capital and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed