Where: Northern Cameroon, Central-West Africa
Nature: Elephants, giraffes, gazelles, hyenas and lions
Safari tips: Bring your own 4WD and it’s compulsory to hire a guide, who will help you get a safe viewing spot to observe big game
Where It’s At
Located 180 miles north of Maroua, Waza National Park is the most amazing and spectacular wildlife reserve in Cameroon. Established in 1934, it covers 170,000 acres and it’s so huge that you need to take two to three days to explore it all.
When To Go
The park looks different depending on the season, but for wildlife the best time to visit is during the dry season between December and March when all Waza’s residents gather around the few remaining waterholes to get shade and water. Don’t be put off by the extreme heat and the monotonous and parched landscape as this time is a rare opportunity to see herds of elephants, giraffes, gazelles, hyenas and – if you’re lucky – lions.
Where To Stay
Waza National Park is isolated from the rest of Cameroon and the only place to stay is the Park Bungalows – neglected but spacious accommodation with private baths. There’s also the Centre D’Accueil that offers budget and basic rooms in charming boukarous (traditional round houses), but there’s only one bathroom for ten rooms! Both are close to the park’s entrance where you have to hire a guide for the day for a small payment.
You must bring your own four-wheel-drive as there are none available in the park or its vicinity. Each car must have a guide; they are extremely knowledgeable and eager to show you the park’s wildlife. Some of them, like Falama, are expert trackers used by scientists on research missions in the park. The park’s rules state that nobody is allowed to leave their vehicle during a safari, however, it’s at the guide’s discretion if they decide to diverge from the rules. Elephants sighting can be very impressive and you might forget that they can be very dangerous; one sniff of you and they could charge. A guide will place you in the best position for the safest sighting.
Limbe Wildlife Centre
Official website for the centre with reports and photos
Official website for Pandrillus, Nigeria with pictures of their drill primates
By Marie-Laure Vigneron