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Chad & Cameroon.. (optional extension to Equatorial Guinea)

January 11 to 23, 2019

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.

Chad & Cameroon Tour cost (land ONLY): $9,995.00 per person sharing in double occupancy

Single Supplement: $995.00       

Equatorial Guinea extension: $1,335.00 per person in double occupancy

Single supplement: $300.00

Led by Michel Behar

Price based on group size minimum of 8 participants and maximum of 12 participants for main trip

And minimum 4 participants for Eq. Guinea extension

Available option for Airlines into Chad and out of Cameroon; Air France, Turkish and Ethiopian Airlines

Your tour does not include

  • International air USA to Chad & back from Cameroon
  • All Visa expenses & country departure taxes.
  • 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 Eq. Guinea and back (current approx. cost is $500.00)
  • Any fluctuations of currency or park fee increases.

Your tour includes

  • Domestic air; 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.

Trip Grade:

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.

About your lecturer... Michel Behar boasts an impressive list of credentials and just reading through it makes you want to meet this person and share the road with him. A Dutch citizen, after his studies of Russian and Arabic in the Netherlands he took a course of advanced Arabic at the University of Khartoum in Sudan. Fluent in 12 languages including Farsi, English, Turkish, and Hebrew, he has an understanding of 7 others. He has been a tour manager since 1987 leading groups for US, Dutch, Swiss, German, and British companies. He has accompanied custom tours as a leader/photographer for many prestigious institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Harvard Museum of Natural History, the American Institute of Archaeology, and the universities of Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton and Wellesley. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and visited all 21 Arab countries and for the last 20 years has turned his passion for photography into a second career. Touring has afforded him the opportunity to capture stirring images from out of the way places in Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia just to name a few. His work has been exhibited in museums in the Netherlands and New York. He currently lectures on current affairs related to the Near East and the ethnic groups inhabiting this region. During this same period he has dabbled in journalism writing for several European newspapers on topics as varied as technology and economics. He maintains a travel blog has done freelance work for travel guides and likes of course what else World Music. He also is an expert in Sahara led tours such as in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, and West-Africa.

Special trip notes:

Chad is our most pioneering destination and is considered a very small and new player in the tourism field and their infrastructure is quite underdeveloped and hence participants 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 imposed on us to alter or change the tour sequence, itinerary, accommodations, and facilities depending on many factors such as political conditions security concerns, 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 (upper 90’s) and drives will 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 unnourished 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. Also food in Chad will be simple picnic style for several days getting to/from Zakouma. The days of Jan/12+13 and 16+17 are long driving days in rather desolate and barren conditions.

View Tour Itinerary

Jan 11

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 N'Djamena 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. (D)

Jan 12

After breakfast, drive to Guera, south east of N’Djamena, upon arrival enjoy its striking granite inselbergs and different ethnic groups. Afterwards transfer to an area where you will camp for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Jan 13

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)

Jan 14 -15
Zakouma National Park

Two days to explore Zakouma National Park in search of its wildlife. Excursions will be made on foot and by vehicle, and we will also attempt to visit some of the villages close to the park (which the government has been trying to relocate for some time without success). 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.

Jan 16-17
Guera - N’Djamena

Leave 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 when night of the 16th is camping and on the 17th checkin at the hotel in the capital. (B,L,D)

Jan 18
N’Djamena– Douala(Cameroon)

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Douala, upon arrival meet and transfer to your hotel for your overnight. (B,D) Douala 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.

Jan 19
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)

Jan 20
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 organized 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.

Jan 21

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 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.

Jan 22

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 Eq. Guinea extension. Fulani People 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.

Jan 23
Back to USA or go to Eq. Guinea

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home OR Fly to Malabo and transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight.(D)

Jan 24
Malabo City Tour

Start your day with exploring the markets and colonial architecture. The recent influx of oil wealth has led to widespread development in Malabo, and you will be surprised by the choice on offer when it comes to eating and drinking. Whether you want Spanish paella or local pepe soup, you will find it all here. After lunch, climb up to visit Pico Basilé; 3018 meters high but you will arrive just up to Bisila Church that is 2.800 meters high. Then move towards the modern part of the city, called Malabo II, where we will visit the National Park. End your tour on the beautiful island of Horacio Sipopo area. Transfer to your hotel for overnight. (B,L)

Jan 25
Bioko Loop

Drive to Bioko Sur, the protected jungle area which covers the southern portion of the island. First head for Moka via the town of Riaba crossing the impressive Puente Cope Bridge along the way. In Moka we'll visit the village and the nature research Centre and learn about the work of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP). Moka is the nerve center of the Bubi culture, it gets its name from a king who ruled the island in the nineteenth century and resided in Riaba. Then we'll return to Malabo via the village of Batete, situated in the upper part of the southern massif. Its main attraction is a church that dominates the region and is among the rare religious buildings in the world built in wood. During your walk through the village you will see different drying cocoa. Then visit the town of Luba, a picturesque port town that played an important role in the colonial history. It was here in 1778 that the Spanish first landed, Count of Arjelejos, and laid claim to the island (a monument commemorates this date). Return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L)

Jan 26
Basile Peak to USA

After breakfast, transfer to Malabo airport for your flight back home. (B)

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed