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Birdquest's Forests of Cameroon birding tour is surely not just the best Cameroon endemics tour there is but even 'the ultimate West African birdwatching trip'. There is simply no other birding tour to the region that comes close. Our Forests of Cameroon tour has the most comprehensive itinerary available and produces more West African forest specialities than any other tour. It features the rainforests and montane forests of the south, home to the sought-after Red-headed Rockfowl or Grey-necked Picathartes and all of Cameroon's montane endemics.
Thursday 12th April —
Thursday 26th April 2018
Korup Extension: Thursday 26th April — Monday 30th April (5 days)
Leader: Pete Morris
Group Size Limit: 6
Tour Category: Mostly easy to moderate walking and good to simple accommodations (some basic camping during the optional extension)
UNLIKE THE CURRENT SITUATION IN NORTHERN CAMEROON, THE SECURITY SITUATION ON THIS ITINERARY, WHICH IS ENTIRELY IN PREDOMINANTLY CHRISTIAN SOUTHERN CAMEROON, IS FINE.
Cameroon, lying a little north of the Equator, straddles the geographical dividing line between West and Central Africa. This marvellous 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 colours 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.
Our Forests of Cameroon tour explores the endemic-rich forests of the southern region of the country and also features the sought-after Grey-necked Rockfowl or Red-headed Picathartes. Please be reassured that it is only the north of Cameroon where incursions by Boko Haram from Nigeria have led to terrorist-related violence. The Christian south is completely unaffected by the ongoing trouble.
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 the southern region of this fantastic country has been specifically designed to sample all the major habitats, and importantly have enough time in them to do really well, so as a direct result it produce more Cameroon and West African montane forest and rainforest specialities than any other bird tour. By the end of our search for Cameroon’s numerous specialities we shall have seen a remarkable series of rarely seen birds.
After a brief exploration in the Douala region for Hartlaub’s Duck, we will continue southwards towards the Equatorial Guinea border and pay a visit to Campo Ma’an National Park. The rain forest here will give us a good introduction to widespread forest species but it is here that we will have our best chance of seeing one of the strangest birds that inhabits the entire continent the bizarre Red-headed Picathartes (or Grey-necked Rockfowl). The site holds more breeding pairs than localities visited in previous years and the closest site to see the birds is an ‘easy’ ten minutes walk from the vehicles.
We will return to the Sanaga River at Edéa with its exposed sandbanks that are home to good numbers of Grey Pratincole and African Skimmers. As we near the capital Yaoundé we hope to hunt out two Central African speciality greenbuls, Yellow-necked Greenbul and Yellow-throated Nicator.
After some exploration around Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, we will head northwest until we reach the intensively cultivated Bamenda Highlands in the formerly British sector of the country. Here some endemic birds, including the rare and beautiful Bannerman’s Turaco, Bangwa Forest Warbler, Banded Wattle-eye and Bannerman’s Weaver, as well as Cameroon Olive Greenbul, Mountain Robin Chat, Green Longtail, Grey-chested Babbler (now placed with Spot-throat and Dapple-throat in its own family), Yellow-breasted Boubou, Green-breasted Bush-shrike, Cameroon Sunbird, and Shelley’s Oliveback, cling to a precarious existence in the remaining patches of forest.
Next we will visit Mount Kupe, an isolated mountain that is home to some of the rarest birds in West Africa, most famously the Mount Kupe Bush-shrike, which in 1998 was also discovered in the nearby Bakossi Mountains. During our stay in the area, during which we will visit the Bakossi Mountains as well as explore Mount Kupe, we shall be on the lookout for this great rarity and we will also encounter many other montane forest specialities whilst doing so. In particular we will be hoping to add Fiery-breasted and Many-coloured to our bush-shrike list and also looking for endemic or near-endemic specialities such as Grey-headed Greenbul, Crossley’s Ground Thrush, White-tailed and Black-capped Woodland Warblers, White-throated Mountain Babbler and Ursula’s Sunbird.
Finally we will explore Mount Cameroon. Rising straight from the ocean to 4070m, this isolated peak (an active volcano) holds many montane specialities, in particular Cameroon Olive Pigeon, Mountain Saw-wing, Cameroon Scrub (split from Evergreen Forest) Warbler and the charming Mount Cameroon Speirops.
During the optional post-tour extension, after driving to Mundemba in southwestern Cameroon, we will explore the magnificent Korup National Park where well over 300 species have already been recorded. We shall spend three days in the park exploring the forest along well-maintained trails and camp for two nights. The forest at Korup has been estimated as being more than 60 million years old and we will be very aware of this as we walk beneath enormous trees that reach up to the heavens.
The park has become famous for its colonies of Red-headed Picathartes (or Grey-necked Rockfowl) and we have another excellent chance of seeing this enigmatic bird during our visit, should we need to. We should also be treated to a wide variety of other lowland rainforest species during our stay, including such specialities as the beautiful Bare-cheeked Trogon, the glorious Rachel’s Malimbe and Woodhouse’s (or Red-headed) Antpecker. We also stand a good chance of encountering Vermiculated Fishing Owl and Sjöstedt’s Owlet, as well as shy forest kingfishers, leviathan-sized hornbills and an array of greenbuls, secretive illadopsis and alethes.
Join us for the very best tour of the very best country for birds in all of West Africa!
Birdquest has operated tours to Cameroon since 1990.
Important: The Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for some other Cameroon tours.
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are mostly of good or medium standard, but some are at the simpler end of the scale (and in need of maintenance) and water and electricity supplies can be erratic. At Campo Ma’an we stay in very simple buildings near the reserve with only a few rooms and basic washing and toilet facilities. At Nyasoso (Mount Kupe) the accommodation is rather simple (albeit run by very friendly people), consisting of rooms in one of the village houses, with fairly basic shared bathroom facilities. At Korup we camp for two nights in tents under a bush shelter, with washing facilities being the local forest stream. Road transport is by minibus/passenger van or 4x4 vehicles (SUVs) and the roads range from reasonable to bad.
Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy to moderate (there are some long walks, including a long walk uphill and back on Mount Cameroon in relatively cool conditions). In some places at Mount Kupe and in the Bakossi Mountains there are some optional walks on trails that are steep and narrow and the walking is quite demanding.
Climate: In the lowlands it will be hot and humid with dry and sunny weather interspersed with overcast and rainy spells. In the Bamenda Highlands, on Mount Cameroon and at Mount Kupe it will be decidedly cooler.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £3650, €4310, $4780 Douala/Douala. Korup Extension: £970, €1140, $1270.
Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: £350, €413, $458. Extension: £40, €47, $52 (Mundemba only).
Deposit: £450, €540, $590. Extension: £100, €120, $130.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate
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