South Africa, Cameroon, rural communities, Congo Basin, transition area, Northern Cameroon Transitional Area, cavalry charges, transitional area, Fulani jihad, Lamido, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, Tembo Branch, Hippopotamus, Yellow-backed Duiker, Trophy Fee, Trophy fees, Derby Eland, Wilhelm Greeff, Lamido de Rey Bouba, Fulani Kingdom, forest, communities, hunting rifle, traditional hunters, conservation, CAMNARES, natural resources, conservation model, Cameroon Natural Resources, wildlife value, Tshwane University Of Technology, the forest, Baka Pygmies, Forest Elephant, hunting license, transition areas, Blue Duiker
ADVENTURE WITH SELF-GUIDED HUNTING IN CAMEROON By Armand Biko'o, Maliki Wardjomto & Andre DeGeorges I am a SA Jagter member. For the past 30 years, I have been hunting, diving and fishing across Africa. I didn't really plan it that way. My father is a Frenchman from Algeria, pieds noir, but I was born and raised in America. Like most yanks, I pictured Africa something like in a Tarzan movie, loin clothes, spears, and giraffe at the end of the landing strip. I got a real wakeup call upon arriving in Dakar, with the smell of peanut oil refineries to feed the economy of the colonial master and Moslems covered from head to foot in long flowing booboos. I had to drive 2 days through sorghum, millet and peanut fields to find a big game area along the Falйmй River of Senegal/Mali. I started my career in Senegal back in 1977 and ended up in South Africa
, also not planned. While, I had read about the "Great White Hunter" growing up, I never met one until arriving in Nairobi in about 1990. I have spent most of my career hunting with traditional "Great Black" hunters. What surprised me upon my arrival in South Africa is that like myself, most South African
hunters are accustomed to hunting by themselves with a local tracker. Thus, Cameroon is tailor made for many of our members who want to hunt in the old way, classical foot safaris, porters and local Baka, Tikar and Mpiemo hunters as your guide. You will not only hunt but have a cultural experience and be humbled by their knowledge of the bush, tracking and animal behavior. You will sit around the campfire and learn about each other's cultures, traditions, beliefs and politics, making this a unique experience. Let's face it, many of us have more in common with traditional hunters, because of common interests, than with many of our non-hunting neighbors in suburbia. If conservation is to have a future, these traditional hunters, rather than being turned into poachers by current conservation practices
, should become our allies in protecting wildlife and its habitat at a local level on their lands, while guiding us on our adventures. I have just finished my doctorate looking at the big picture of conservation and development in sub-Saharan Africa
under Prof. Brian Reilly,
also a member of SA Jagters and a periodic contributor to the magazine. I would like to share with SA Jagter members some of my selfguided hunting experiences and what we as a university are trying to accomplish in achieving a paradigm shift in finding an African solution to conservation. In a future article, I hope to discuss the Dozo hunters of West Africa and opportunities for our members to hunt with them. I have hunted Cameroon since about 1996. It is known by few people, mainly specialty hunters going after unique species such as forest elephant, bongo and lord derby eland, and a few individualists like myself who do self-guided hunting or chasse libre. Cameroon, like the Central African Republic is unique in that it contains both forest and savanna game. Savannas The savanna area in the north (See map) contains 3 national parks and 28 hunting blocks of which two, Belle Elan and Buffle Noir are co-managed by the Rural Community
and the Cameroon Ministry of Forests and Wildlife. These two blocks are for self-guided hunting. They lie only 2 & Ѕ hours south from the regional capital of Garoua. Typical West African Savannah Buffalo Huntable species in the two savanna blocks include lord derby eland, savanna buffalo, roan, singsing waterbuck, hartebeest, grimms duiker warthog, and lion (if on quota). Though common along floodplains, there are few kob de buffon in these blocks due to a lack of rivers. Hunting season is from December 1st to April 30th. Lord derby eland move into these blocks around midJanuary to feed on the flowering Isoberlinia woodlands and hunting for them should be good until April.
This area is unique in that it is the domain of the Fulani Kingdom of the Lamido de Rey Bouba. The Fulani pushed across the Sahel in the 18th Century bringing Islam to the animists of the region. The Adamawa Plateau, where these hunting areas are located, was conquered in the 1830s. The old Lamido had a harem of 100 wives guarded by eunuchs and a mounted cavalry, fantasia who wear mesh body armor brought in by caravans in the days of old. This cavalry charges and fires its black powder muskets in unison. The new Lamido of about a year is university educated, but many of these traditions will remain. The opportunity exists to visit this area.
Map of Cameroon with Hunting Zones/Ecotomes December to February is winter with cool nights warming during the day. It is relatively flat and by sometime in late December or early January is burned off by the local inhabitants. Hunting is not too difficult, about like hunting in South Africa. You leave each morning in a vehicle to be dropped off at a hunting spot and are picked up at lunch time for a siesta (hot little movement by game) until about 1500 hrs, or you can stay out all day and be picked up at sunset, returning to a base camp at Belle Elan or to rondavels that can be rented in Benouй National Park.
Palace, Lamido de Rey Bouba, Northern Cameroon Transitional Area The best time to hunt these areas is March through July. I hunted the transitional area in December 2005 around the village of Kong, just north of the old German capital Yoko. Ironically, the Tikar ethnic group
escaped the Fulani jihad by fleeing to this area that is transitional between the savanna and the dense humid lowland forest
s of the Congo Basin.
Typical Western Roan
Andre DeGeorges, Tembo Chapter & Department of Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa with Tikar Hunters The village of Kong has a forest of a couple hundred thousand hectares that they consider theirs. No one goes into the forest without the permission of the chief and elders. They have a land use plan for the area with sections for traditional hunting and other areas they protect until a sporthunter arrives. No snaring is allowed, only locally made 12 bore bolt action shotguns, using only the steering wheel shafts of Landrovers for barrels.
savanna area waterbuck, kob and warthog are to be encountered. While eventually an old logging road may be opened up, currently hunting is with porters, about 7 per hunter to carry in your gear and guide you. This is steep hill country and in the forest your local guides will use machetes to cut the way. The traditional hunters know for each species its habitat and where it might be found in the area. Natural salines and swamps exist that you will visit during the chase. Dogs are used to corner the bongo. You need to be able to walk 8 hours a day and had better be in top physical shape
if you hope to enjoy this experience it's not for couch potatoes. Hunting the Dense Humid Forests of the Congo Basin The best time to hunt the Congo Basin of Cameroon is June and July, though the official season is March through July, where each morning following evening rains, fresh tracks can be identified and pursued. This is the home of the Baka Pygmies, who for centuries have been the guardians of the forest. Their god Jengui (Djengi or Forest God) forbids them to take more than they can use.
In the Village of Kong Traditional Hunting is only allowed with Homemade Shotguns, the Steering Wheel Column of a Landrovers Serving as a Barrel. The bongo is not hunted, as it is known to have monetary value for sporthunting. You can also hunt the forest buffalo, forest sitatunga, giant forest hog, potamochere, yellow-backed duiker, and various other duiker species, while in the
Djengi, forest spirit/god of the Baka Pygmies forbid taking more from than the forest than one could use Commercial logging, a loss of 70% of their forests to parks and protected areas
over the last 10 years and uncontrolled bushmeat harvests are rapidly changing their lives. They still hunt with crossbows and poisoned arrows for which there is no known antidote.
Baka Pygmies Hunt with Arbalete or Crossbow and Poisoned Arrows. No Known Antidote Here the land is flat, sometimes swampy and like the transition area requires cutting paths and going on 14 day foot safaris with porters. There are natural grassy openings in the forests called salines/bais where wildlife is sometimes found.
Forest Elephant taken on self-guided hunt with Baka Pygmies & Maka Hunters, 2000 Equipping Yourself for Self-Guided Hunting
Hunting Companion & SA Jagter, Centurion Branch, Willem Lombaard after being charged by an aggressive Blue Duiker, once again showing the potency of the 375 H&H. I have hunted here twice, 3x if I count next door Congo. Twice I hunted out of a safari operator's camp but for the most part on my own and once with a friend on a foot safari with porters for elephant. Additional species include bongo, dwarf buffalo, giant forest hog, potamochere, forest sitatunga, yellow-backed duiker and other duikers. The bongo is hunted with the voiceless Basenji hunting dogs, some say an ancient breed found on paintings in Egyptian pyramids.
Self-Guided Hunter Gus Ziegler & Baka with Typical Forest-Hunting Attire I recommend a 375 H&H rifle for all around use and 40 rounds of ammunition. If something happens to your ammo, this can easily be replaced in-county. If hunting forest elephant or buffalo where you may end up in a "no flee zone," remember you have no backup but yourself, a 458 or larger caliber is recommended, the 458 cartridges being easily found in-country. Though popular and an excellent caliber for both forest and savanna, the 416 Remington/Rigby ammo is not readily available in Cameroon if there is a problem. You can buy some 12 gauge SG in Yaounde and use local shotguns for duiker. In the savanna, it is winter and the evenings and mornings are cool while the days can be warm so bring layers of clothes that can be peeled off or put on. Well broken in boots, preferably Vietnam style or canvas for the transition/forest area
s that will be hunted in the rainy season. Polypropylene under-socks will keep feet from
blistering. Use a bandana in the forest as a cap is continually knocked off. A ball cap in the transition/savanna areas works well. You can dress as you do in South Africa when hunting the savannas, though tsetse fly are a problem. However, in the forest and transition areas wear long-sleeve pants and shirts since everything bites and scratches. Bring 2 changes of hunting clothes, cotton or the newer quick drying polyester clothes. Gaiters are definitely recommended in the forest and transition area to hold off leeches and biting ants. Thin leather gloves are needed for the forest and transition area as all the bush cuts. Ratchet clippers are also useful to cut vines in the forest and transition areas since often the short Baka leave pointed vines at the level of you face. 10x40 binoculars are important for the savannah, but less so in the forest and transition area where game will be up close and in person. A compass & GPS are nice to have but not necessary since you will be in the local hunters' backyards. Except for accommodations in Benouй National Park, each hunter needs a two-man tent. Also bring 2 grommeted tarpaulins that can be made into shelters by the local hunters. You can buy bottled water
everywhere. However, if you are going on portered foot safaris, a backpacker water filter and iodine purification tablets or some of the newer drops will be necessary. The last thing you want to do is become dehydrated from diarrhea, as this could end your endurance for walking. Don't eat any raw vegetables in the hotels. Food in the villages is usually cooked and safe. If on a classic foot safari, if possible bring 4 duffel bags that convert into backpacks (e.g., classic military or "Backpacker" style as sold in South Africa). All first aid materials you need you need can be purchased in Cameroon, including paregoric one of the best diarrheal medicines. Take your malaria pills!! For an early morning cup of coffee bring a "Camping Gas (blue)" stove for which canisters (puncture type as opposed to screw-in) can be purchased in Cameroon. A basic lightweight backpackers cook kit is useful. If necessary inexpensive tin cups, plates, etc. can be
purchased in Cameroon. Local hunters will bring their own kit. Bring some vacuum packed biltong until your first game is taken. Instant oatmeal in sachets can be used for breakfast and granola bars for breakfast, lunch or snack. Everything else, including salt for your trophy can be purchased in-country. Tshwane University Of Technology's Involvement You're saying, but "hey, I don't speak French, I know nothing about where to go, how to get there, getting my rifle in and out of Cameroon, let alone my trophy." Fellow sporthunter, as part of our program to empower rural communities
and help our students from Cameroon reintegrate back into their local societies, we have established a program where you can help drive conservation in Cameroon by giving wildlife value, as in South Africa while having an adventure of a life time. In the late 1990s, thE Department
of Nature Conservation of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) began a program called Project Noah. We brought in youth from rural areas
where wildlife had potential value with the idea of exposing them to the Southern African conservation model, and training them in the 300 odd years of knowledge that adapted Western ideas in managing wildlife and the veld to SubSaharan Africa. Upon completion of their training, the idea was to plant them back into their communities where they could integrate their new found knowledge into traditional management systems in finding an African solution to conservation that includes rural Africans in a multiple-use conservation model.
CAMNARES members from left to right, Armand Biko'o (Masters Candidate), Innocent Nkombe and Maliki Wardjomto (BTech Candidate) with BONGO In the case of Cameroon, our students formed an NGO (non-governmental organization), CAMNARES (Cameroon Natural Resource
s). Its ultimate aim is to contribute to conservation by empowering local communities
, overcoming poverty and creating autonomic structures for the sound management and sustainable use of natural resources
. CAMNARES believes that rural communities are the rightful owners of the surrounding resources and therefore deserve to enjoy the majority of benefits from these resources. The bush is their super market where all their daily needs are fulfilled in one way or the other. These natural resources are victims of heavy pressures such as demographic growth and industrialization. The only way to save these resources is through sustainable use by education of communities around these resources and empowering them to protect these resources from over-exploitation by outsiders. CAMNARES acts as an intermediary between you the sport hunter and the traditional hunters who will guide you. CAMNARES is inviting you to come join us for an affordable adventure of a lifetime. They will meet your every need from door to door, providing all the information and services you require so that your time and emphasis is placed on the hunt. CAMNARES will provide you information on what is needed to get your hunting rifle and ammo into and out of Cameroon (It's much easier than in South Africa with the Cameroon High Commission readily available just off Duncan Street in Brooklyn) and recommended
shots/vaccines based upon standards set by the Center for Disease Control
, Atlanta. They will have one of our bilingual staff meet you at the airport and facilitate you and your rifle's entry, place you in a comfortable hotel, arrange for your hunting license (ahead of time if possible), take you out to buy your food and other supplies, and accompany you to and from the field. Camnares will deal with the local administration and communities, organizing a trustful team of porters and trackers for the expedition. They will assure your trophy is properly treated and all national and international papers obtained to assure your trophy of a lifetime arrives to your chosen taxidermist in a timely manner. My bongo is at Nico van Rooyen's being full mounted. Stop by and talk to Katharina about the quality of the skin, one of the best she has ever seen from that part of the world. Where, When, What & How To Hunt In collaboration with rural communities, the Department of Nature Conservation of TUT and Cameroon Ministry of Forests and Wildlife, CAMNARES has been given exclusive access to community hunting concessions in savanna, transition and forest areas in Cameroon. How Much Cheap! We offer unbeatable value for your money, with a total cost 3 to 4 times cheaper than hunting with a professional hunter/outfitter. Basically, for someone from South Africa and Europe the cost of a hunt assuming two hunters come together to split some of the costs (e.g., vehicle rental and fuel) is about 7, 850 (R 77,000) per hunter including airfare, temporary import permit for rifle/ammo, hunting license, trophy fee for bongo or elephant or lord derby eland, salt, and food for the two hunters and up to 14 porters/trackers, 1-2 days in a hotel before and after hunt and trophy preparation. This does not include trophy paperwork & shipment (e.g., about 280 to South Africa). From North America
the cost will be about 10,325 given the extra cost in airfare and rifle export permit. Additional trophies can be obtained with the added value of the trophy fee (See below) and shipment.
Satisfied Client, Wilhelm Greeff, Tembo Branch & Zingelani Safaris, South Africa July 2006
Trophy fees are fixed as follows for the "huntable" species (Only key species are included in the list):
Trophy Fee Trophy Fee
Cob de buffon
Note: Check Rand to Euro exchange rate
time of Hunt
In addition to these species, there is a list of birds, reptiles and many other mammals that can be considered. CONTACTS
CAMNARES: Armand Biko'o, [email protected]
Maliki Wardjomto, [email protected]
REFERENCES FROM FORMER CLIENTS Wilhelm Greeff, [email protected]
Andre DeGeorges, [email protected]
and [email protected]
Stop by Tshwane University, Department of Nature Conservation any time for a cup of coffee and hunting talk. Published in SA Jagters Magazine Nov & Dec 2006, Vol 21/11 & 21/12
A Biko'o, M Wardjomto, A DeGeorges