Exploring Tourism in Cameroon
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Benoue Tour

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Cameroon, lying a little north of the Equator, straddles the geographical dividing line between West and Central Africa. This marvelous country immortalized for all wildlife enthusiasts by Gerald Durrells memorable account of his zoo collecting . .
Country: Cameroon
City: Limbe
Duration: 22 Day(s) - 21 Night(s)
Tour Category: Bird Watching Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99
Package Itinerary

Cameroon, lying a little north of the Equator, straddles the geographical dividing line between West and Central Africa. This marvelous country immortalized for all wildlife enthusiasts by Gerald Durrell’s memorable account of his zoo collecting expedition ‘The Bafut Beagles’, offers the most exciting birding in West Africa.

Nearly 900 species have been recorded from the country, far more than from any other comparable area in West Africa, and at least 25 endemic or near-endemic species (depending on the vagaries of modern taxonomy) grace this impressive total. Cameroon’s avian treasure house stems directly from a wealth of habitats combined with the long isolation of its southwestern highlands from other upland areas in Africa.

The northern panhandle of Cameroon extends deep into the Sahel, the semi-desert zone immediately south of the Sahara, reaching as far as the shores of Lake Chad, while in the south, where the country abuts the Gulf of Guinea and the Congo Basin, the climate is equatorial and the natural vegetation is primary rainforest and humid montane forest.

Not only is Cameroon a land of natural diversity, but also a country with a rich cultural tradition dating back many centuries. From the heraldic carved designs of the palaces of the Fons in the Bamenda Highlands to the vivid colors of the dresses of the market traders, the vigorously executed handicrafts, and the rhythm of the local music, Cameroon is a constant reminder of the vibrancy of West African culture.

With the richest avifauna of any West African country, Cameroon has become a classic destination and one that any birder who has visited other regions of Africa will be tempted to explore. Our comprehensive journey through this fantastic country has been specifically designed to sample all of its major habitats, and importantly have enough time in them to do really well, so as a direct result it produces more Cameroon and West African specialties than any other bird tour.

By the end of our search for Cameroon’s numerous specialties, we shall have seen a remarkable series of rarely seen birds and over 600 species in total. If you are game for an adventure and want to experience first-class birding and tropical Africa at its best, we highly recommend this tour!


Day 1: Arrival

Arrival and welcome by our tour guide and transfer to Hotel La Falaise Douala and overnight

Day 2. Limbe (Good Tarred Road)

After breakfast, we travel to Limbe, a small seaside resort near the coast at the foot of Mount Cameroon. On the way, we make several stops to look for a.o. the African Finfoot. In the afternoon we visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Limbe. These gardens were laid out by the Germans who used them as an agricultural experimental/research station.

Now it is a peaceful and quiet oasis with impressive trees, a murmuring brook, and many birds. Here we especially look for the many sunbirds, like Reichenbach's, Carmelites, and the Brown and Green-headed sunbird. We can also find the beautiful Western Bluebill and the Cassin’s Flycatcher and we try to nominate as many Greenbuls as possible. We overnight in the Seme Beach Hotel, a comfortable hotel on the beach. Time for a dive in the waters of the Atlantic or a cool drink on the terrace with a view of a colony of Slender-billed weavers.

Day 3: Mount Cameroon (Good Tarred Road)

Today the real work starts with a trek on Mount Cameroon, with 4100 m the second highest mountain in Africa and home to an exceptionally rich and unique flora and fauna. Our goal is the unique mountain woods circling the mountain between 1000 and 2000 m.

Here we stand a good chance to see some species endemic to the West African Mountain Woods like the Western Montane Greenbul, Cameroon Sunbird, Green Longtail, Oriole Finch, and Thickbill Finch. In the shrubs along the path we hear and with some patience we will see the African Hill Babbler and the Evergreen Forest Warbler, both in a variety endemic to Mount Cameroon.

At the edge of the forest, we have the chance to see the Mountain Saw-wing also unique for this mountain, and along the path, we can see the Mountain Robi Chat, again a Mount Cameroon subspecies. Other endemic species that we might see on Mount Cameroon are Yellow White-eyer (Mountain White-eye), Little Olive back, and Yellow-breasted Boubou.

We walk to where the forest changes into a savannah and where we can see Mount Cameroon Speirops, a bird that exclusively belongs to Mount Cameroon. Mount Cameroon Francolin can only be seen after a 3-day trek at the other side of the mountain and this bird is not likely to be seen during this day. We return to Limbe Beach Hotel for an overnight

Day 4: Travel day to Korup Park (Long Day and Very Bad Road)

Very early after breakfast, we leave Korup Park, with a list of more than 300 bird species, a must on this trip. From Ekondo Titi we travel along a beautiful lowland jungle road to Mundemba, the entry point of the Korup Park. Here we have to organize the entry certificates and we make acquaintance with the compulsory Park guide. We overnight in a basic tourist hotel.

Day 5: Korup Park (Hot and Damp/Slippery Conditions and Long Walks in the Park)

Early in the morning, we enter the park via a long hanging bridge over the Mana River, one of the few places in Cameroon where you might see the Rock Pratincole. Over the river fly the first hornbills, the best area in the park where you get a good sight of these birds. On the other side of the bridge, a completely different world awaits us. The path takes us through a thick forest of undergrowth, trees, and creepers full of different scents and sounds or complete stillness.

Not much light penetrates the bottom of this forest and therefore it takes a lot of concentration, patience, and luck to spot birds but once we are used to the environment we will hear and see a lot of Greenbuls like Ictarine, Xaviers, Golden, Spotted, Redtailed and Honeyguide Greenbuls. Somewhat higher up the trees, we may see different Flycatchers and Wattle-eyes and perhaps even a Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-throated Roller, Bare-cheeked Trogon, and different species Drongos and Malimbes.

At open spots in the forest, we look for the Square-tailed Sawwing, Sabine’s and Cassin’s Spinetail, and other swallows. Along the small rivulets and brooks, the Shining Blue and Malachite Kingfishers are hunting. Depending on how late we arrive, we can visit the Picathartes Knoll at twilight.

At this mysterious spot in the jungle lies a massive rock where a breeding colony of the perhaps most extraordinary bird of the lowland forest is to be found: the Grey-necked Picathartes. We overnight in basic huts in the Rengo Camp in the middle of the jungle along a small crystal clear river.

Bridge over the Mana River Korup Park

Day 6: Korup Park

Today we spent in the park and via some well-passable paths, we looked for the various lowland birds. Depending on how we feel we can leave early at dusk to the Rengo Rock to see the many Hornbills fly to the fruit trees in the jungle. Alternatively, we can trek into the jungle looking for the many small birds in the undergrowth which you can only spot with a lot of patience. This evening we try to spot Night Swallows and Owls around the Rengo Camp. Overnight in the Rengo Camp

Day 7: Korup Park

Today we slowly walk from the park back to civilization. On our way, we look out for the vicious Soldier Ants, rapacious ants that cross the jungle in meters-wide columns and attack everything that comes in their way: insects, worms, mice, snakes. Various Alethes (Fire crested), Greenbuls, Flycatchers (African Paradis, Sooty, Red-bellied Paradise), and other opportunists catch the roused insects and show themselves well. Near the hanging bridge, we watch the hornbills for the last time before we drive back to our hotel in Mundemba. Overnight in Mundemba.

Day 8: Travel day to Mount Kupe (Long Day and Very Bad Road)

Today we will be en route to Mount Kupe where we will arrive in the afternoon. On the way, we make many stops near rivers and forest patches where we may see the Black Coucal, Congo Serpent Eagle, Sabine’s Spinetail, and whatever luck may bring us. We make a lunch stop at Lake Barombi, a crater lake near Kumba, and a fine spot to have a refreshing swim or a last-time visit to the lowland forest along the shores of the lake. We overnight in a guesthouse in Nyasoso.

Day 9: Excursion Mount Kupe

Mount Kupe comes third on the list of most popular birding destinations in Africa (African Bird Club). The reason is the exceptional density of special and unique bird species on this lonely, forest-covered mountain. The first price is the Mount Kupe Bush-Shrike, a bird only recently discovered in 1949. Only 7 breeding couples exist on Mount Kupe. These birds were also found in 15 km further away from the Bakossi Mountains, but nowhere else in Cameroon. Furthermore, we can look for other specialties like Mountain Babbler, Bate’s Sunbird, Bar-tailed Trogon, and White-tailed Warbler. Overnight in the guesthouse in Nyasoso.

Day 10: Mount Kupe

A full day of bird spotting at Mount Kupe overnight in the guesthouse in Nyasoso

Day 11: Excursion Bakossi Mountains (Reasonable Road in the Dry Season)

Early in the morning, we depart to Bangem, a small village in the Bakossi Mountains, a relatively little explored area, where a few years ago the Mount Kupe Bush-Shrike was found. The bird population here is comparable to that of Mount Kupe but the area is much less steep and therefore an excellent location to spot the species that we might have missed at Mount Kupe. Overnight in a tourist hotel in Bangem.

Manengouba Crater Lake (Man Lake)

Day 12. Excursion to the Manengouba Crater Lakes

In the morning we drive to the old volcano Manengouba. On top of the volcano in the caldera lies a stretch of grassland with many grassland birds, like Plain-backed Pipit, Grassland Pipit, and Long-legged Pipit. Also, migrant birds of prey visit this area. In the caldera lie two crater lakes, both encircled by mountain forests. Next to the savanna species we also find the Mountain Endemics here. We especially look for waterbirds (Black African duck), Bee-eaters (Blue-breasted), and Cisticolas.

The view at the top of the caldera is breathtaking indeed. In the afternoon we continue our trip to Bamenda and Belo, in the heart of the African Mountain Forest. Overnight in trekkers camp Belo.

Day 13. Excursion Bamenda Highlands-Belo (Good Tarred Road and Reasonable Road in Dry Season)

Today we walk through a pleasant landscape of forested valleys and grass-covered hills. This change in biotope guarantees a wide scale of birds, but our first goal of course is to see the Bannerman’s Turaco and the Banded Wattle-eye, both endemic to this forest area. Unfortunately, the mountain forests in this region have recently come under severe pressure from the increasing population and agriculture, and some species are threatened to become extinct.

All endemic species of the mountain forest however are represented in adequate numbers. At the end of our walk, a grotto with hundreds of bats awaits us. Overnight in trekkers Camp Belo.

Bannerman’s Turaco

Day 14: Belo-Lake Awing, and return to Douala (Good Tarred Road and Reasonable Road in Dry Season)

On our last day, we visited the forest once more. This time we go to the shores of a small crater lake in the neighborhood of Bamenda, Lake Awing. All the endemic mountain birds can be found here and we stand a good chance to complete our list of endemics here. In the afternoon we return, with some necessary stops on the way, to Douala.In the evening departure of our flight to……

Extension 1.: to the North of Cameroon Day 14: Belo -Yaounde-Ngaoundere (good tarred road)

departure to Yaounde to take the evening train to Ngaoundere. Overnight on the train.

Day 15. Ngaoundere-Ngaoundaba (Good Road)

Arrival in Ngaoundere in the morning and departure to Ngaoundaba. Ngaoundaba Ranch is a former hunting lodge set on the rim of a dormant volcano. After some rest, we’ll spend time in the afternoon birding some of the habitats here. Overnight at Ngaoundaba Ranch.

Ngaoundaba Ranch

Day 16: Ngaoundaba

The entire day around the crater lake and surroundings birding all habitats including gallery forest, marshland, a crater lake, and open woodland. In the gallery forest, we hope to see Ross’s Turaco, Gray-winged Robin-Chat, Spotted Thrush Babbler, Puvel’s Illadopsis, and the charismatic Oriole Warbler, while forest edge and marsh could produce Marsh Tchagra, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, and Dybowski’s and Brown Twinspots.

In the open woodlands, we’ll look for Schlegel’s Francolin and Brown-chested Lapwing, and we can also expect to find White-collared Starling, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Black-necked Weaver, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, and Black-capped Babbler. Night at Ngaoundaba Ranch.

Day 17-18: Ngaoundaba- Benoue National Park (good partly tarred road)

After a morning’s birding close to the ranch, we’ll drive to Benoue National Park, birding in the savanna woodlands along the way, where we expect to see Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Senegal Parrot, and Black-bellied Firefinch. Our base for the next day will be Campement du Buffle Noir.

We’ll bird in the riparian forest and miombo-like woodlands, where we can expect to find Adamawa Turtle Dove, Gray Pratincole, the striking Egyptian Plover, Emin’s Shrike, White-crested and Violet Turacos, Bearded Barbet, Grasshopper Buzzard, Stone Partridge, Abyssinian and Blue-bellied Rollers, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Senegal Eremomela, and White-throated Francolin. 2 overnights in Campement de Buffle Noir Benoue Park.

Day 19: Benoue Park-Ngaoundere-Yaounde (good partly tarred road)

In the afternoon we’ll return to Ngaoundere to take the train again to Yaounde. Overnight on the train.

Benoue Park

Day 20: Yaoundé

Arrive in Yaounde in the morning and transfer from Yaounde to Douala with some stops on the way, a.o. a stop at the Sanaga River at Edea, where we should find Gray Pratincole and African. Skimmer. Arrive in Douala in the afternoon and transfer to the airport for the departure flight to……..

Extension no. 2: 3 days on Mount Cameroon to look for Mount Cameroon FrancolinMount Cameroon ( Participants need to be very fit as steep climbing is involved.)

For much of the year, western Africa's loftiest mountain (4,095 m) is concealed under a dense blanket of clouds. Rising steeply from the Atlantic Ocean, warm, moist air is trapped along the seaward slopes, each year pouring more than 10 m of rain onto its well-leached soils.

The northern slopes are the driest and most accessible, harboring a number of endemics restricted to the mountain: Mount Cameroon Francolin, Mount Cameroon Speirops, and Mountain Saw-wing (the latter also on Bioko), and a total of 18 EBA endemics.

Includes 1 night in Douala and 3 days 2 nights on Mnt Cameroon

A single supplement will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation.

If Camtourventures cannot provide you with a rooming partner although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

The Tour Price Includes:

· All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 22;

· Bottled drinking water;

· All lodgings during the tour;

· All ground transportation;

· All national park and other reserve entrance fees; and

· All guiding services (including tips for local guides and services.

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