Kob antelope, Pendjari park, Benin
May 14, 2010
Hotel: Hotel de la Pendjari, Benin
Today was the start of our two-day safari to Pendjari Park, on the border of Benin and Burkina Faso. It is one of the best organized parks in West Africa, well maintained and has a list of accredited guides. We left the hotel around 6AM for the 2-hr drive to the park entrance. There are several guesthouses near the entrance to the park, but the only hotel inside the park is some 75kms from the entrance, quite a drive! The road from Nati to Tanguieta was paved, followed by dirt piste to the park gates. From there it was rattling washboard road all the way to the hotel.. I felt a little dizzy so popped a Dramamine which helped immensely. We arranged for 60,000 CFA per day which included the 4WD and guide, but not petrol (~30,000 CFA for 2 days).
Waterbuck, Pendjari park, Benin
The park entrance was another 10,000 CFA and the hotel was 24000 CFA. So all-in the safari was about $400, split three ways.
We took several hours to drive to the hotel, at first not seeing much but the scrubby bushes and trees. We passed an area where elephants had been, trees all broken and ripped up. Soon we started seeing antelope, at first stopping to take photos of every one we saw but they were plentiful and soon we were bored and passed them by. At the middle of the park are several water holes; at the end of dry season they were rather low, so this was a good time for animal spotting as they all congregate nearby. We saw crocodile, hippo, birds, lizards and more antelope. Soon we saw a troop of baboons and a warthog or two. Still nothing big, no lion or elephant.
Roan antelope, Pendjari park, Benin
We got to the hotel and had a bit of lunch (roast guinea fowl, tasty but tough) and a rest, as well as a swim in the pool. There was a huge group (25-30) of college kids from South Dakota staying at the hotel, they were on a similar route through Ghana and Benin. Unfortunately they had managed to snag all the aircon rooms! We got a fan room and were able to get an extra mattress added for only $6, our first triple room on the trip. It did make the room crowded.. and the ceiling was a lot lower than expected.. as I was changing shirts I stuck my hand up and suddenly felt a huge thwack, I had stuck my fingers into the ceiling fan! Damn lucky I didn't lose a finger, incredibly painful but luckily no blood.
Around 4PM we headed off for the afternoon game drive.
Pendjari park, Benin
. this time going along the Pendjari river separating Benin from Burkina Faso. We drove for a few hrs, seeing more antelope (water buck) but nothing else... but suddenly I heard a noise I knew to be elephant.. a warning trumpet off to our right! We drove ahead and came across a dozen or so elephant off to the left of the road, we had cut them off from the access to the river! There were a few babies but hard to see as immediately the elephants formed a wall to protect the young ones. I've been on safari in east and southern Africa before so have seen elephant many times before.. the ones here were smaller but much more aggressive. One of the bulls charged our 4WD, I was on the wrong side to get a good photo here as we raced off. He kept coming at us, finally relenting as we passed the remainder of the herd. They sat there with their trunks in the air sniffing us out, then moving off to the side away from the water. What luck!
It was getting dark and time to head back to the hotel for dinner. The hotel has several hut-style chalets and a huge open-air restaurant. Drinks were a bit pricy, not surprising as everything has to be brought in through the main gate. A long day, 14 hrs and we were exhausted but thrilled by the days events, we were in bed by 8PM!
Pendjari National Park Hotels & Accommodations review
Only hotel in the Pendjari park
The Pendjari Hotel is the only hotel located within Pendjari National Park.. all other accommodation options are at campsites. The hotel is located a… read entire review