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Abstract

This is an adventure story written in a South Africa hunting magazine that ties together traditional hunting, some history of Cameroon, conservation and Tshwane University's Project Noah program to educate African youth from wildlife rich areas in nature conservation.
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 Falémé 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 self-
guided 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 & ½ 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 mid-
January to feed on the flowering Isoberlinia
woodlands and hunting for them should be good
until April.
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 Benoué National Park.
Typical Western Roan
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.
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 forests of the Congo Basin.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Forest Elephant taken on self-guided hunt
with Baka Pygmies & Maka Hunters, 2000
Equipping Yourself for Self-Guided Hunting
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
areas 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 Benoué 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 re-
integrate 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 Sub-
Saharan 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 (B-
Tech Candidate) with BONGO
In the case of Cameroon, our students formed an
NGO (non-governmental organization),
CAMNARES (Cameroon Natural Resources).
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):
Animals
Trophy Fee
(Euro)
Trophy Fee
(Rand)
Elephant
1,588
15,603
Derby Eland
1,588
15,603
Hippopotamus
794
6,214
Lion
1,588
15,603
Buffalo
794
6,214
Roan Antelope
794
6,214
Bongo
1,588
15,603
Damalisque
319
3,120
Hartebeest
319
3,120
Waterbuck
397
3,900
Cob de buffon
160
1,560
Redunca
160
1,560
Bushbuck
160
1,560
Warthog
160
1,560
Forest Hog
160
1,560
Sitatunga
319
3,120
Gazelle
160
1,560
Bushpig
160
1,560
Yellow-backed
Duiker
160
1,560
Other Duiker
80
780
Crocodile
65
629
Note: Check Rand to Euro Exchange Rate At
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, bikooa@yahoo.fr
Maliki Wardjomto, wardjomto@yahoo.fr
REFERENCES FROM FORMER CLIENTS
Wilhelm Greeff, Wilhelm@zingelani.co.za
Andre DeGeorges, degeorgespa@tut.ac.za
and andred@wol.co.za
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
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