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A Firsthand Look at Two CAR PH's New Operations in Cameroon
(posted May - 2017)
 

Justin Jones (right) with his kob from Faro's 18 bis and PH Thibault Engelsen Engelsen.

By Justin Jones, Assistant Editor


In late March I headed to the North Region of Cameroon to visit the hunting zones of two French operators who both previously operated in Central African Republic, PH Christophe Lemée (formerly of Club Faune) and PH Florent Mathieu of Safaria. Lemée now operates in Zone 22 on the Vina River, and Safaria has acquired Zone 18 bis and Zone 15 in the Faro area. I also spent four days in early April visiting zones operated by Mayo Oldiri (www.mayoldiri.com) in the region around Bouba Njida National Park. 

I connected with Lemée and Mathieu through booking agent Cyrus Khodaï of Travels and Expeditions (cyrus@travelsandexpeditions.com; 011-33-613-14-68-21), who partners with both operators to market hunts. Although both of these operators are longtime PHs, their names may not be familiar to many Americans, and both of their operations in Cameroon are in their first season.

In Jan., Khodaï sat down with us at the Dallas Safari Club convention to discuss security concerns regarding northern Cameroon and the effect of travel warnings issued by the US, French and Canadian governments. The Hunting Report has received questions about Cameroon from a number of readers, and we have even heard of hunters cancelling trips or not booking due to the travel advisories.

Readers who have been following our security updates on Cameroon from Ripcord (see Article 3515) may recall that in earlier travel warnings about Cameroon, the US State Department made a distinction between the North Region and the Far North Region, a jagged strip of land between Nigeria and Chad. The Far North continues to hold major security risks, and Boko Haram has carried out violent raids, suicide bombings and kidnappings (some of them foreign nationals) there.

The State Department's latest travel warning on Cameroon dated March 22, 2017 makes no distinction between the North and the Far North. But hunting operators in the North Region contend that this doesn't reflect the current reality. Although Boko Haram threatened the North Region's capital of Garoua in a recent video, no attacks associated with Boko Haram have occurred in the North Region. By all accounts, Boko Haram's capabilities have been severely diminished by the Multinational Joint Task Force and Cameroon's BIR (Rapid Intervention Battalion), which are supported by American and French Special Forces. As a result, Cameroon reopened the border with Nigeria this year, though with heavy security. The latest travel warning again advised against travel near the border with CAR, Chad and Nigeria because of criminal activity and other threats.

As of this writing, there have been no problems with armed incursions into hunting zones, and most zones are well over 80 kilometers from the borders. Hunting operators have local knowledge and know to avoid travel in corridors that may have cross-border activity....


  


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