Planting this idea in your head: A trip to the Dzanga-Sangha Biosphere
This is too early for planning in detail, but two reasons that I’m starting to think about a my tip to the CAR and the nearby Congo:
1. I heard that as of now, Rod Cassidy received funding to have Sangha lodge opened for another year-and-a-half but I don’t know what will happen afterwards.
2. I’m finishing up my thesis by the end of this year, and there’s no better time to go on a great adventure than right after I finish my hard work for school.
Well – there are other reasons to go there, like… have you seen the mammal list at the lodge?? Also, the black and white-bellied pangolins they rescued are basically semi-wild, going out to forage for ants and then coming back sometimes to hang out with Tamar and Rod. They hang around the vicinity of the lodge but are almost completely wild, and will likely mate with totally wild ones in the (near?) future.
Also it seems that the local people seem to get more efficient at finding their completely wild counterparts. And that’s aside from Pottos, Anomalures, Lowland Gorillas, forest elephants, 10-ish other species of monkeys and galagos, clawless otters, bongos, giant forest and red river hogs, and more. I don’t want to sound like a “birder” (JK) but there are also many many interesting bird species in the area, as you are all probably well aware of.
So I think Max Chiswick and I will be going sometime this coming Jan-March, and if there are 1-2 more people who would like to join, I think it could potentially make it a bit less costly per (and more awesome) for everyone 🙂
It will probably be a 2-3 week adventure in the region not including the international flights. More details tba later on, but if anyone is interested let me know here or via hotmail (yes, I still use hotmail.. lol): email@example.com
Anyway, I will remind y’all about this again when it becomes more relevant, but I’m just planting the idea in your head so that it can ferment for a couple of months until you wake up in the middle of the night, screaming “I’M GOING TO THE CAR WITH TOMER AND MAX!”. You’re welcome.
Well, they’re not fixed.
I do believe we will have best chance to see Bongos, pangolins and some others during that season.. But in fact Max just told me he can’t go until the summer.. I will have to see how that fits with my schedule because I’m not sure summer is a good time to go. When r u thinking?
I went in July — this is a period of the rainy season known as the “short dry season”. We only had rain 3 times during our stay, always at night (generally dinner time) and often had time to do night walks right after the rain stopped. It generally only lasted a couple hours at a time when we were there.
Rod says this (Jul-Aug) is his favorite time to be in the park – the trees are fruiting everywhere and everything is fresh and green.
With regards to the wildlife, viewing is probably going to be tougher than in Feb-Mar. Your chances for Bongos and RR Hogs will definitely drop quite a bit (Bongo are FAR from guaranteed in Jul-Aug and same for hogs, you need luck!), but you’ll still see some Forest eles and Buffalo in Dzanga Bai and Sitatunga at Bai Hokou; you should see a few duiker sp., monkeys, and squirrels on trails in Bai Hokou and Sangha Lodge. You have a good chance of Palm Civet, Potto, and if you’re lucky, Hammer Bat on night walks, but Pangolin chances drop as the leaf litter is not as crunchy as in the dry season so they’re harder to locate. This is also a good time of year to see nesting Picathartes, if you’re interest. That said, I missed a family of RR hogs by minutes near Bai Hokou, GF hogs by a couple of hours in Dzanga Bai (Andrea had seen them early in the morning before I arrived on my first day), and had stacks of Bongo tracks at the first bai in Bai Hokou (animals had come to drink the previous night). Tracks of a BIG leopard in Bai Hokou too…
Regarding Bonobos, I think Lomako and Kokolopori will be the best places. I’d love to do Kokolopori someday and see Bonobo and Dryas Monkey…
I would be interested. Incidentally I am still trying to put together a small group to do Ethiopia this December 5-21st. main focus is on mammals. Please email me at jodale twenty two at hotmail.com if you are interested. Details are in post 2 on this thread: http://safaritalk.net/topic/14928-ethiopia-wolves/?hl=%2Bethiopia+%2Bwolves
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I went in July and all I can say is that a visit to Dzanga Sangha is the most amazing wildlife experience I’ve ever had. Regarding some of the wildlife, Rod is a great source of information and will tell you everything you need to know on finding many interesting species. In Jan-March (main dry season), Bongo are apparently in the bai 1 in 2 visits, so very likely (more difficult later in the year). Hogs are more difficult (1 in 4 times in the bai for both). With regards to Pangolins, you have a good chance of White-bellied (Long-tailed is always very hard) Pangolin especially in the dry season as Rod can send trackers into the forest near the lodge at night to locate them by sound as they make a lot of noise foraging in the forest matter. You’ll have a great time – go before it’s too late! The pet Pangolins are amazing (so sad to hear that Oko passed away).
By the way, regarding Congo Clawless Otter, they are very difficult unless you go to Dzanga Stream very early in the morning, when they are more likely – try to organize this; it might also be a good idea to stay in Bai Hokou Camp (that can get you Long-nosed Mongoose with luck). I’d recommend doing at least 2 trips to Dzanga Bai, lots of bai walks, and plenty of trips with Rod around the lodge to maximize species count. Good luck! I wish I could go again, but no time…