Our project welcomes visitors to our field station at Kwano.
The best time for this trip is between mid December and mid May when our field station tends to be busy with a variety of foreign and African researchers, students, and field assistants.
This is also the dry season, and no rain at all will normally fall from mid December till mid March. Between December and May, four-wheel drive vehicles can cross the three rivers en route from Serti to Gashaka and at times also on to Kwano. Visitors without own vehicle will be able to find transport from Serti into the park, either with a commercial truck, transport run by the park, or by hiring a motorcycle taxi.
We are normally in a position to host up to 6 visitors at our field station in Kwano. Often, we can provide a double-room with beds, but this is not guaranteed unless you are able to communicate with us prior to your arrival. You have to bring you own food supplies. For accommodation, we charge 5 £ per head and night – with the profit going to the maintenance of our project.
Visitors may accompany our field assistants or researchers on their daily routine, if we can integrate this into the schedule. We also provide trail maps for self-exploration of the surrounding jungle. Visitors are always able to observe various monkey species (baboons, putty-nosed guenons, mona monkeys, black-and-white colobus). However, it takes considerable effort and some luck to see chimpanzees. For this, you need to invest an average of three hikes into the forest, leaving before dawn and returning around noon.
The more time you have, the better will you be able to enjoy the real beauty of the National Park which will only reveal itself if you explore the area on foot. Remember, these are not open plains where wildlife is easily spotted. It takes dedication, patience and luck to encounter wild animals - but when you do, it is very rewarding, as you made it happen yourself A glimpse of a Giant forest hog, caught while crouching in the undergrowth, is likely to impress itself deeper into your memory than a close-up view of a pride of lions spoon-fed to you through the windows of a zebra-striped bus.
It is most exciting to hike to the confluence of river Ngiti and river Gamgam (a daytrip), into the highlands (at least 2 days), or to the top of Gangirwal mountain (at least one week). Anybody in good physical condition can do this. You need comfortable walking boots and field clothes. Our project can normally help to arrange for porters, guides and gear.
If you don't mind the cliché of wandering off the beaten track: here you can do it. It is good for the local economy, for nature conservation, and for you: a win-win-win situation. Enjoy!
Day 1. Leave no later than 05:30. Abuja - Makurdi - Katsina Ala – Takum – Beli - Serti. Arrive after 10-12 hours. Clear park formalities at Serti tourist camp. Spend the night or travel on for another hour into the park to camp at the banks of river Mayo Kam. There is no mobile phone connection once you leave Serti.
Day 2. Walk along the right bank of the river, which straddles the Kam gorge (2 hours). Have drivers pick you up at Hippo pool. Proceed to Gashaka village and the remaining13 km on to Kwano. Explore field station and forest trails.
Day 3. Explore the Kwano forest trails.
Day 4. Morning: explore the forest trails. Afternoon: return to Serti, spend night at tourist camp.
Day 5. Return trip Serti - Abuja.