Chad has never been on my bucket list, however it is now! I have just returned from Zakouma, the park run by the fantastic African Parks – a wildlife organization which I have no hesitation in praising at every opportunity. What they have accomplished in Zakouma could truly serve as a model all over Africa. Being there was truly inspirational - reminiscent of Africa twenty years ago.
Zakouma has some of the most beautiful natural habitat I've ever experienced. There's such an expansiveness about the place…it has a sense of great abundance. Elsewhere in Africa, we all get excited about a few dozen black crowned cranes — here flocks numbered in the thousands ! The birdlife was incredible and included huge flocks of carmine bee-eaters, red billed quelea, storks, ducks and geese. We had numerous lion sightings, a leopard which had clearly only ever had rare encounters with humans. We were also privileged to be in the presence of a large herd of elephant, who were fortunate survivors of intense ivory poaching experienced elsewhere in the country.
Another of the many highlights enjoyed one evening, was on shining a nightlight on the oxbow lagoon - we were greeted by what seemed like a dazzling carpet of floating rubies, the sheer number of crocodiles together in one place was more than I've encountered anywhere else.
The tourist facilities are refreshingly simple yet comfortable. Zakouma is the perfect destination for guests travelling with private guides, the destination needs to be embraced by all of us within the industry.
This was without a doubt one of the top 5 wildlife experiences for me over the last 20 years.