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Anyone going to Cameroon or Ghana this winter? (1 Viewer)

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
I will go to Cameroon or Ghana this winter (haven't decided which country yet)
Anyone else going there? I would be interested in teaming up for some hiking and bird watching. I will also do some serious dragonfly watching and photographing.

I will go there for 3-4 weeks in jan-feb 2010

Wolf
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
I have now decided to go to Cameroon in mid January for a 4-week trip.
If someone here on BF has any recommendations I would be happy.

I will not maximise the number of stops but will stay for a week on each locality, like Korup NP for example. Has anyone been there? I will hire a guide and try to hike inside the park for a week. Is it recommended to bring a tent? I'd prefer not to, in order to travel lightly.

Any other recommended sites to visit?

Wolf
 

jc122463

Well-known member
Do you have any ideas on the other locations you'd like to visit aside from Korup? Mt. Kupe (Nyososo) would be another great place to spend a week.

You're required to hire a guide for your time in Korup. Unfortunately most have very little knowledge about the birds in the area. Prince Cletus is probably your best contact in Mundemba. You'll have to talk to his father, the chief, to get the permit and what not in any case. I'm not sure if they've managed to redo any of the huts inside the park, but you'll be able to stay at these either way. You won't really need a tent anywhere, but I would suggest bringing along some mosquito netting. It's a great country and hopefully I'll get back some day.

Cheers,
Benji
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Thanks Benji! Yeah, Mt. Kupe is on the list. Do you have any recommendations for that area? What other places would you recommend?

Cheers
Wolf
 

jc122463

Well-known member
The Cameroon on a Shoestring thread has some excellent information from others about the country as well.

Mundemba I got Western Bluebill in the palm plantations just outside of town (near the hostel) and quite a few good birds on the way into town (try the bridge just before you get there).
Nyososo had some excellent birding around town as well; Fraser's Eagle-Owl just behind the school and a couple easier trails through some semi-farm habitat. Bakossi was unfortunately off limits when I was there though that's supposed to be the best place for Mt. Kupe Bushshrike. I did find one on the Shrike trail, but it by no means an easy hike. Be sure to budget in money for whiskey and beer as the libation ceremonies are necessary before entering the forest.
Bamenda is a great area but I'm not sure you would need a whole week there. You could definitely spend a whole week at Ngoundaba Ranch though and at Benoue NP. Both have comfortable accommodation where you wouldn't need your own vehicle to go birding each day. Waza NP has some different birds but is quite difficult if you don't have your own car.
Let me know if you have any other questions!

Cheers,
Benji
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Thanks again Benji, I will look up those places which probably will give more questions :)

I have seen reports from Ngoundaba Ranch and it seems like a good place. However I found a web address which don't seem to work so I'm not certain that the place still is running... Does you or anyone here know or has an e-mail address to the place?

Where in Cameroon is the ranch located?

Cheers
Wolf
 

jc122463

Well-known member
Ngoundaba Ranch is located south of Ngoundere. I do recall it was a bit hard to get a hold of them though. The phone number I have for them is 237-959-5406. Hopefully your French is decent though if you plan on calling!
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Well, unfortunately I don't speak French, and that's the reason I considered going to Ghana. After doing some reading I was more attracted to Cameroon, however.
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
When I'm travelling in tropic countries I really appreciate places where it is possible to do some walking and relaxed birding without guides. Like staying in a hotel located in a nice area where you can do some walking on your own in the neighbourhood. Ngauondaba Ranch seems to be such a place (which I surely will visit) but I'm also looking for places closer to the coast. The birding does not have to be spectacular, even the everyday species are interesting when you are visiting a new part of the world, the possibility to roam freely in nice surrounfings is what I'm looking for. Like in a nice agricultural area with big trees, ponds and so on. Does anyone have ideas?
 
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rockfowl

Mark Andrews
When I'm travelling in tropic countries I really appreciate places where it is possible to do some walking and relaxed birding without guides. Like staying in a hotel located in a nice area where you can do some walking on your own in the neighbourhood. Ngauondaba Ranch seems to be such a place (which I surely will visit) but I'm also looking for places closer to the coast. The birding does not have to be spectacular, even the everyday species are interesting when you are visiting a new part of the world, the possibility to roam freely in nice surrounfings is what I'm looking for. Like in a nice agricultural area with big trees, ponds and so on. Does anyone have ideas?

Limbe Botanical Gardens would fit that requirement nicely. A good varied habitat, coastal with Mount Cameroon for a backdrop, some good birds too!
Some adequate hotels right next door and easy to get to via public transport.
Ngoundaba is an excellent site and all can be done on foot, your timing is good for the harder to see species, Schlegel's Francolin, Thrush Babbler, Brown-chested Plover etc. Benoue is also excellent, different habitat and species list but quite a way from the main road. There are Lions etc in the area, so you would ill advised to do too much wandering on foot off the beaten track as it were. I would definitely advise a hire car for the far north especially the good bits in between Maroua and Waza such as Mora for Quail Plover, Cricket Warbler etc. You cannot trek in Waza either, so you will need transport in and out of the park. You can walk around a bit inside, once the area has been checked for Elephant, Lion etc It's a superb park for large mammals, something of a rarity in West Africa as most have been hunted out. You will need to travel around inside the park to find Arabian Bustard amongst the specialities, I've never seen these away from the interior, ie close to the main road.
Sites in the south, Bafut Nguemba near Bamenda if you don't want to visit Mount Oku (Bannerman's Turaco, Weaver, Bamenda Apalis etc, trashed forest but still holds most of the endemics though Oku is much better), Mount Kupe (My spiritual home!), Bakossi Mountains (visited from Nyassoso), Korup's a must, and the Sanaga River between Douala and Yaounde.

Hope this helps, but if you need further advice PM me.

Mark
 
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jc122463

Well-known member
I definitely agree with everything Rockfowl has said. If you want a hotel where you can just sort of wander and explore on your own, the best three places would be Ngoundaba, Benoue, and Limbe (the Botanical Gardens really are great)! For Nyososo (Mt. Kupe/Bakossi), Mundemba (Korup), Bamenda, Waza, and Sanaga, you'll need either a rental car/taxi, and for forested areas you're required to take a local guide who usually knows next to nothing about the birds.
I don't speak any French either and had no problem getting around the country, mostly with public transport. I think it's more the planning in advance that French would be helpful for.

Cheers,
Benji
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Thanks guys! Just the kind of information I needed. I will check all these sites.
Rockfowl: you mentioned Sanaga River between Douala and Yaounde, what about this place? Is it worth staying for a while?

Cheers
Wolf
 

jc122463

Well-known member
There are a couple of good places to get to the Sanaga River. If you leave from Douala, you can drive south (about an hour if I remember) to get to the Sanaga. On the way you'll pass numerous ponds that are good for Haurtlaub's Duck. There's also some good forest along the way which is worth checking out. Once you get to the river, don't worry about crossing the birdge but follow the dirt track down. It's a good sport for Forbe's Plover and some other great birds as well.
You can also reach the Sanaga from Youande. Again, good birding from the bridge but you'll need a car to get out here. It's a good spot for White-throated Blue Swallow and some other good specialties.
As far as I know, there no place to really stay near the Sanaga River. I have heard that the town of Edea (South of Douala) might have some good nearby birding, but I've never been there myself.

Cheers,
Benji
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
I've personally never stayed at the site, instead visited either from Douala or Yaounde. You work from the western side, though being a 'divide' as it were, there are some interesting species to the east, depends on time and adventure. It is a good area for Hartlaub's Duck, there is an area close by where you can see a gathering. Good for Grey and Rock Pratincole, Forbe's Plover, White-throated Blue Swallow, Bates's Paradise Flycatcher etc. Surrounding forests can be particularly productive for hornbills with Black Dwarf being perhaps easier here. Depends if and where you are hoping to see the Picathartes? If you are visiting Mbam-Minkom forest near Yaounde, they you could tie this site in.

Remember, many of these sites are particularly bad for biting insects, Sanaga for sandfly/blackfly. You would be well advised to have the best anti-malarials available and good insect repellant when needed. I have spent a lot of time in Cameroon, visiting many times. Unfortunately I have an equally impressive list of nasty's - So my advice don't take any risks, Falciparum malaria is particularly bad in the region.
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Thanks again guys! What a great place BF is.
Since you seems to know everything I would like to ask about the Kribi area, do you know anything about it? The NP Campo ma'an is really close to this place and could be interesting.

Regards
Wolf
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
Campo Ma'an is excellent but it has been such a long time since visiting, others might be better placed to advise. I would certainly go back!
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
From reading trip report it seems like few birders go that area.
But from the travel literature, like Lonely Planet and Bradt, the area seems promising for bird- and dragonflywatchig (I do both).
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
It is, also very good for mammals with Gorilla one of the highlight species. I spent about a week down there, doing some coastal stuff as well, interesting birding, great forest people.
The British Dragonfly Society team have been out several times whilst I was working out there, they made some very interesting discoveries especially on Mount Kupe. I remember being shown a new species, the most primitive of it's type that had just been caught. Made me smile because we'd been seeing them for years without realising they were new. Maybe you could search for expedition results/papers if you are interested.
 

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Today I bought the plane ticket - Jan 16th - Feb 16th, Stockholm - Douala - Stockholm :)

Thanks Mark. I will check up what to look for regarding Dragonflies. It's always nice to take photos of Dragonflies in tropic countries - the managers of the NPs often have litte knowledge and you can ID Dragonflies from the photos when you get home and then send the photos along with info to the park HQ. A little help.

But I will surely do a lot of birding as well. Like I said in the start of the thread, If someone is going to Cameroon this winter I would be interested in teaming up for parts of the trip.

Regards
Wolf
 
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