Chinko Nature Reserve, Central African Republic

Hi all,

Having spent much of my life travelling to remote corners of Africa in search of of the continent’s wildlife, I’ve recently begun the exciting process of setting up my own tour operator, Pictus Safaris, focussed on offering itineraries to the most isolated areas of Africa, and particularly looking to locate some very special species.

Whilst we are expecting Pictus Safaris to become operational in early 2021, we have begun identifying some exciting destinations. In particular, we are likely to be offering a six-night visit to Chinko Nature Reserve in the Central African Republic in early 2022. Chinko is an incredibly exciting destination and there is much still to be discovered there – uniquely situated on the border between dense jungle and open savanna, there is potential for species usually only found in dense rainforest (e.g. African Golden Cat) to be encountered in open grasslands. Not only that, but Chinko hosts some of Central Africa’s last viable populations of several elusive species, including Lord Derby’s Eland, Bongo, African Wild Dog, Chimpanzee and Lion. Whilst Chinko cannot match the wildlife densities on offer in areas like Zakouma, there is the potential here for an extraordinary experience. Please be aware that due to the remote and exclusive nature of Chinko, this safari will be offered at a price point similar to luxury safaris elsewhere on the continent.

At this stage, we are simply looking to gauge interest and determine whether there is sufficient appetite for this expedition-style safari to Chinko amongst the mammal-watching community. If you would be interested in joining this trip in early 2022, please send me an email at I will then be happy to provide you more information and will be sure to include you in future communications regarding this fantastic opportunity.

Wishing everyone all the best in these challenging times.

Tom Clode


  • Antee

    Could this finally be the place for African Golden cat…

    • T Clode

      Hi Antee – we can only hope. A few interested parties have contacted me on exactly that subject, so it may be worth me weighing in here with my opinion based on the work I’ve done.

      Chinko definitely has a population of African Golden Cats, as they have been recorded several times on camera traps and have apparently been seen very occasionally by rangers and park staff. That being said, we don’t really know whether this could be “the” place for Golden Cats, as nobody has made a concerted effort to look for them here before. Nobody seems to have found the trick to this species yet, but what I can say is that by spending as much time as we can exploring the reserve on foot, by vehicle, by boat and by helicopter, we are giving ourselves the best chance possible.

  • benbalmford

    Hi Tom,

    Just to let you know that I would certainly be (potentially) interested in this. Realistically, we might be priced out of this. If we came, it would be me and my dad (a conseration science prof at Cambridge Uni). We’re pretty experienced mammal-ers and so would be thinking of combinging this with a trip to Dzanga Sangha National Park; again I realise that too would be expensive!



  • Vladimir Dinets

    Antee: there is a place in Cameroon for AGC, see my CAR and Cameroon trip report. Not easy to get to, but not particularly difficult, either.

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