Jun 152011

Central African Republic – Congo (Brazzaville) – Cameroon

The Sangha Tri-National zone was created on the initative of COMIFAC, a conference of the ministers of forests from the countries in the Congo basin. The Sangha River Tri-national Protected area (STN) includes Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve in Central African Republic, Nouabale Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and the Lobeke National Park in Cameroon (with 2 sectors forming the Dzanga Ndoki National Park).

Sangha River

Sangha River

The agreement between the parks was initiated to co-ordinate and police efforts against poaching, ivory/arms trading, illegal fishing and hunting.

Forest bais [clearings] attract numerous forest elephant; there are habituated lowland gorilla and strong populations of wild chimpanzee amongst numerous other species which include bongo and sitatunga. Many endemic birds are found in this area, amphibians, fish and swallowtail butterflies.

The protected areas constitute about 2.8 millions ha. Since they are located away from larger localities and traffic routes, they have been spared by intensive economic uses for a long time. Thus, a unique natural landscape comprising a high density of large mammals has been preserved.

The Dzanga Sangha Reserve

Found in the rainforests of southern Central African Republic, the reserve covers an area of around 400 hectares. The two central sectors of the reserve, the Dzanga and the Ndoki, make up the whole of the park.

Lowland Gorilla

Lowland Gorilla

Large mammals seen include forest elephants, forest buffalo, giant forest hog, western lowland gorilla and bongos (forest antelope). Also seen are a good collection of sitatunga, warthogs, numerous monkeys, galagoes, leopards and wide range of birds and other species. The park is inhabited by the Ba’Aka [pygmy] tribe who have assisted in building an incredible tourist programme and assist with tracking and guiding.

Activities in this area include visiting the salines at least once a day; lowland gorilla tracking (there is a family of 16 habituated gorillas), bird watching, dug-out pirogue rides along the Sangha River and its tributaries, net hunting with the Ba’aka; medicinal plant examination with the Ba’aka and traditional dances.

Itineraries are set departure and include Dzangha-Sangha National Park, Mbeli Bai and Bai Hokou Research centre. All expeditions are accompanied by a full back up team of locals and specialist guides. Most trips start from Brazzaville, Libreville or Douala.

Nouabale Ndoki National Park

Created in 1993, important populations of forest elephant, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and other endangered mammals live in this park. Over 1,000 plant and tree species and 300 bird species also make this their home.

There is an extremely low human population density in the surrounding area, and no human habitation in the Sangha Tri-national zone itself. The Park remains an intact forest ecosystem free of human disturbance or exploitation, with significant populations of large mammals. It is seen as a great success by conservation bodies.

Lobéké National Park

Forest Elephants

Forest Elephants

The Lobéké National Park falls within the south-eastern corner of the Republic of Cameroon. It is part of the larger Congo Basin forest block with a very low population density. There are a high diversity of plant communities almost untouched by human activity and the forests support high densities of forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, bongos and many other forest species. Primate species besides the gorillas include spot-nosed monkey and gray-cheeked mangabey, amongst others.

The forest clearings attract a high number of African grey parrots and green pigeons. The aquatic fauna is extremely rich with more than 62 fish species recorded in the rivers and streams. The rivers have very high populations of shrimp, which are harvested by native tribes.

Local communities include the Bagando and Bakwele, ethnic groups of Bantu origin, and semi-sedentary forager-farmer Ba’aka Pygmies. Small groups of Moslem traders and Congolese, Senegalese and other nationals from West Africa are involved in ivory and gold trafficking.

Forest products such as honey and bush mangoes are widely distributed and harvested by the locals. Mango harvesting mobilizes the entire local population.


Location (from 3°30′55″N 16°2′50″E to 1°12′45″S 16°49′40″E)

Sangha River also spelled Sanga, tributary of the Congo River, formed by the Mambéré and Kadeï headstreams at Nola, southwestern Central African Republic. The Sangha River flows 140 miles (225 km) south to Ouesso in Congo (Brazzaville), forming part of Cameroon’s border with the Central African Republic and Congo. The river then turns south-southeast and southwest, flowing 225 miles (362 km) to its mouth on the Congo River, south of Bobaka. The Sangha River is navigable by steamer all year below Ouesso and intermittently up to Nola. Its lower, swampy course splits into several mouths and is connected by divergent streams with the Likouala aux Herbes, Likouala, and Ubangi (Oubangui) rivers.

View Sangha River in a larger map

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Doli Lodge 6

Chilling time at Doli Lodge

Situated on the banks of the great Sangha River in Central Africa, Doli Lodge is the perfect place from which you can explore this wild rainforest, and experience its extraordinary wildlife and traditional communities.

From Doli Lodge you can witness Africa’s greatest concentration of forest elephant as they gather at the “grand central junction” of Dzanga bai—a natural clearing in the rainforest. Led by skilled BaAka trackers, you can follow the striking silverback Makumba, a good-looking gorilla with a tall crest and muscular form, and his habituated group of western lowland gorillas. Hike along elephant paths, through clouds of butterflies, and along bais inhabited by red forest buffalos, herds of busy red river hogs, rare situtunga and bongo antelopes, flocks of noisy African grey parrots, and specials such as Hartlaub’s forest ducks. Join clans of BaAka, traditional hunter-gatherers of the rainforest, as they sing and yodel and search for edible leaves, medicinal bark and roots, and small game to bring back to their villages. Experience Bayanga village life, maybe catch a local game of basketball, and take traditional canoes called pirogues along the Sangha River to see the natural process that produces palm wine from the forest. Meet and learn from our partners and researchers at WWF and WCS, people in the field who are dedicated to conservation and sustainable travel in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park.

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