Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Forest Elephants of Dzanga-Ndoki

Okay. Quiz time. Name three countries bordering the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Answers at the end of this post. No cheating by looking at the map on this page please. Give yourself five points for each correct answer and fifty points if you've actually been there. It lies within Africa's steamy equatorial belt and is largely covered with rain forest. C.A.R.'s capital city is Bangui. It is the nation's main gateway and is most easily reached by air from Nairobi.

A fascinating if somewhat bumpy ten hour drive or a less interesting short charter flight from Bangui lies Doli Lodge, tucked away in the a remote, pristine part of the country. Located beside the Sangha River, Doli lodge is a wooden construction raised on stilts. There are just eight bungalows, ensuring a personalised safari experience - very important in my view. The highlight of a stay at Doli Lodge is a visit to what is known as a "Baai". It's a clearing in the jungle visited by highly endangered forest elephants as well as other animals like the beautiful bongo antelope - a personal favourite of mine. You'll see these rare elephants interacting and displaying the natural behaviour that they have developed over thousands of years visiting baais like this which contain minerals vital to the well being of the animal. You will also have the chance to meet world famous field biologist Andrea Turkalo, who over the twenty years of her research has become the first to decipher elephant vocalisations and to compile an "elephant dictionary".

You will also have the chance to trek to see lowland gorillas, beautiful, endangered and impressive, though a little smaller than their better know highland cousins. In addition you'll also track the colourful mangabey monkeys.

Doli lodge is in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and is a very, very special place. I probably wouldn't recommend it to first time visitors to Africa unless they have a special interest in gorillas or forest elephants, but for second, third or veteran "Africaphiles" it really is a fascinating experience.

The link below will take you to the Doli Lodge website for further information. If you are interested please drop me an email or call Ucango Travel on 1300 822 646 and ask for me.

Meanwhile, here's the answer to the question above.
Chad, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan.
How did you do?  

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