Cameroon Birding Tours

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With towering peaks, rolling hills, dry Sahel habitat, and primary forest, Cameroon is awash with some of Africa’s most sought-after single-country and regional endemics. The Cameroon Highlands represent one of Africa’s most endemic-rich areas, and we visit three of these amazing peaks, some of which are active volcanoes. The Cameroon endemic Bannerman’s Turaco, one of the most range-restricted turacos in Africa, can be found in the Bamenda Highlands. The Endangered (IUCN) Banded Wattle-eye is another Cameroon endemic that also lurks here in the Bamenda Highlands. Grey-necked Rockfowl (Red-headed Picathartes), a skulking Central African forest species with only one other member in its family (which inhabits forests on the Bulge of Africa), is endemic to Cameroon and nearby countries. Cameroon is also one of the few places where you can encounter all three species of African trogons. Green Longtail, Mountain Robin-Chat, and various other bird species are largely restricted to Cameroon (and certainly more safely seen in this country than across the border in Nigeria). Quail-plover, Egyptian Plover, Rock Firefinch (which is largely endemic to Nigeria but with some of its range within Cameroon) and Golden Nightjar are tantalizingly currently out of reach in arid northern Cameroon, which we unfortunately don’t consider safe at present (this text was updated on 28 June 2020). More widespread West and Central African bird species such as White-crested Tiger Heron, Brown Twinspot, and a stack of others can also be seen on our birding adventures to Cameroon.

Cameroon is arguably the best country for your equatorial West African birding, as it not only contains the widespread West and Central African bird species but it also has a fine assemblage of country endemics. It thus competes with Gabon, which is more expensive and lacks the country endemics, although it is better-known than Cameroon by general nature enthusiasts (as opposed to more hardcore birders) as a wildlife ecotourism paradise. If you’ve never birded in West Africa before, though, English-speaking Ghana  on the bulge of Africa should be seriously considered, as it also contains all the widespread West African bird species as well as its own suite of regional (Upper Guinea Forest) endemics. And the Sahel of Ghana is within safe reach, unlike that of Cameroon (at present, late June 2020).

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Some of the exciting birding sites we visit in Cameroon include Mount Cameroon (where Mount Cameroon Spurfowl, Mount Cameroon Speirops and other extremely range-restricted species are sought), the Bakossi Mountains, Korup National Park, Mount Kupe (where the extremely localized, Endangered (IUCN) Mount Kupe Bushshrike is one of the most sought-after denizens), Limbe Botanic Garden, the Sanaga River, Ngaoundaba Ranch, and other bird-rich sites.

The Anglophone crisis threatens birdwatching tours to Cameroon, so we do watch the situation carefully. Please do look at your government’s travel advisory before booking a tour with us to Cameroon, and of course we will also advise on the current status if you send a booking inquiry or e-mail to us. We currently don’t visit the north (even though it’s exciting from a birding perspective, with many desirables) because of the underlying terrorism threat. But our advice is that Cameroon should remain on your radar at least for when it becomes safer, as Michael Mills mentioned this country as one of Africa’s top five birding destinations! It has a very high overall bird list (and good mammals, too!), including the endemics and other range-restricted bird species mentioned above and a host of others. Species like Yellow-breasted Boubou, the endemic Bamenda Apalis, Bates’s Weaver (also endemic), the near-endemic Cameroon Olive Pigeon, numerous localized greenbuls (if you like a birding challenge; these are skulking and not-always-easy-to-identify birds!), White-crested Turaco, Crossley’s Ground Thrush, Sun Lark, and so many others await the birder who decides to visit incredible Cameroon.

Eco-tourism is seriously needed in Cameroon, where hunting and logging is threatening many of the most important endemic bird areas on the African continent. Our hope is that more birders would visit, bringing much-needed cash into sustainable development rather than destructive development.

December through April is often considered the best time to visit Cameroon for birds. You’ll have to bring layers, as the climate of Cameroon ranges greatly from the hot and dry north to the hot and humid coast to the chilly highlands where quite a number of the endemics are sought.

Cameroon: 26-day Complete North and South April 2021

Cameroon: 26-day Complete North and South April 2021

2021-04-09

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