Dja Animal Reserve (World Heritage)

Dja Animal Reserve (World Heritage)

In the game reserve, framed by the Dja River, a still pristine rainforest in Central Africa has been preserved, which is unparalleled with its biodiversity, especially the variety of primate species. In addition to lowland gorillas, vervet monkeys and mandrills, pangolins and giant forest pigs can also be found here. Giant trees from 30 to 60 m high are noticeable.

Dja animal reserve: facts

Official title: Dja animal reserve
Natural monument: Nature reserve since 1950, biosphere reserve since 1980, area of ​​5260 km², of which 5000 km² are biosphere reserve, average annual rainfall 1570 mm, forest area threatened by the planning of the Trans-Africa route and by progressive commercial logging in the buffer zones
Continent: Africa
Country: Cameroon
Location: in a loop of the Dja, southeast of Yaoundé and west of Lomié
Appointment: 1987
Meaning: a remarkable biodiversity for West Africa and a large variety of primates
Flora and fauna: Flora from the transition zone between the forest of southern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon and the Congo Basin; a largely unchanged forest area with dense evergreen Congo rainforest with a canopy at a height of 30-60 m, which is formed by 43 tree species; Occurring plant species such as Canarium schweinfurthii, whose wood is used to make canoes, kapok tree and the internationally endangered Staudtia kamerunensis as well as cola, coffee and cocoa plants; Primates such as lowland gorilla, blue-mouthed, crowned and great white-nosed monkey, mandrill and potto; other mammals such as pangolin and giant forest pig; Birds such as the Cameroon Rockhopper and Batesweberbird

Forest fortress

According to, the squealing of the giant forest pigs drowns out the song of the cicadas. In a clearing, which is surrounded by a wall of dense green, two of these huge wild boars compete in a head-on fight. The massive bodies of the animals are covered with a black bristle dress. Bulges under the eyes protect them from the tusks that hit them. While the fight rages back and forth, the sows and their young watch what is happening from a safe distance; only their brightly emerging proboscis disk is visible in the undergrowth.

The scene of this test of strength is a nature reserve in the heart of the plateau of South Cameroon, where the Dja makes its way in a huge loop. Enclosed is a chain of hills and valleys covered with evergreen forest. High cliffs flank the river on its way and form a natural bulwark. This fact has made this forest area one of the so far little explored and therefore mysterious habitats. In contrast to other regions of West and Central Africa, it remained largely untouched by agricultural use. The pygmies living here, who make a living from hunting and collecting forest fruits, consider the forest to be their protector. Incidentally, they are the only human residents of this unique corner of the world.

Black monkeys and colobus monkeys have their territory in the canopy. Palm rollers and western redshank squirrels search for nuts and fruits far below the final crown of the giant trees; meanwhile, crowned eagles glide through the air. In the corridor of the forest, the bongo, drawn with white and red stripes, is on the move in the thicket of the shrubbery. High up in the trees, a flock of African gray parrots is chatting loudly in the morning.

The noise of the fighting of the mighty boars also reaches over to the forest elephants, which have their drinking troughs on the banks of the Dja. When they perceive the noise, they stop drinking for a moment. A little restlessly, they raise their trunks and try to locate the spectacle and a possible danger. Her small, almost rounded ears fan incessantly in the warm, humid air.

Generation after generation of elephants use the same paths, creating so-called »elephant roads«. Not only do the elephants feel disturbed by the noise of the boars fighting, but also a panther who is just sneaking almost silently up to its prey and crossing the “Elephant Road”. As soon as the big black cat reaches the edge of a swamp, it pauses and its eyes stare at the other bank. But no prey can be made out, and therefore the panther disappears into the wood without having achieved anything.

Something that looks like a dark nut appears on the surface of a small body of water. The nut seems to be twitching. Cutting a V into the surface of the water, on which the ebony growing at the edge is reflected, the mysterious something moves towards the thick papyrus thicket on the remote bank. Suddenly it dips and only a fraction of a second later a pair of twisted short horns appears, then the head with the dark nose that looks like a nut. This head with stripes of white fur rises further out of the water and pulls the body with its slender legs: a marsh antelope, better known as a sitatunga, emerges from the swamp. The widely spread hooves of this wood buck enable it to live in this environment and prevent it from sinking into the muddy ground.

The silhouette of a male gorilla appears. Leaning on his knuckles, he moves forward, occasionally turning to wait for the rest of the group. First, three females appear, while two young gorillas frolic between the cola bushes. Another female, to which a newborn baby clings tightly, moves in the shade of the bushes. It pauses for a while to eat insects or pick up fruit. When the gorillas reach the clearing, the inferior boar disappears into the undergrowth.

Dja Animal Reserve (World Heritage)