Travelling to Tai National Park in Ivory Coast
Though it’s complicated to get to Tai National Park, the most remote Reserve and pristine forest in western Ivory Coast, near the border with Liberia, we could not set aside Tai visit in our trips across Ivory Coast. Visit the reserve, which we believe, is one of the best, not only in West Africa, but also all over the continent.
Discovering Taï National Park
Visiting Tai National Park gave us the chance to taste some really unique experiences, in a place with a spectacular scenic beauty. The days we spent in Tai National Park enabled us to know first-hand the immense effort that, since reopening, people working in this wonderful National Park realize to preserve, protect, promote and highlight hidden treasures of the huge Tai rainforest under its gigantic trees, some of them more than 50 meters height.
If in a "classic" safari in the savannah it is very important to have a good guide who enables you not just to sight different animal species but to know their habits and environment as well, visiting a rainy primary forest as Tai, it becomes essential to go with an expert guide. And guides working for Tai National Park are extraordinary, with an excellent knowledge of the forest.
West Africa chimpanzees experience in Taï
Probably the most amazing attraction of Tai National Park is to head out across the jungle in search of the famous chimpanzees. If it wasn’t for the work that guides and managers have being doing for years, it would be just possible to hear, but not to see them, since in a forest visibility is reduced.
The project and work of Tai’s guides consists of getting one of the chimpanzees families living in Tai used to human presence (each family has between 40 to 60 members), in order that when visitors approach to see a group they do not run away rapidly. Guides have been following for years this family of chimpanzees without interacting, which makes possible that primates can tolerate human presence and show themselves just as they are.
This behavior increases very much the probability of seeing chimpanzees (though it doesn’t guarantee it), since the previous evening the guide following the group of chimpanzees saves the position in the GPS where primates prepare their "nests" in the trees to sleep. In the early morning, visitors walk along the forest from the camp to the place where chimps are sleeping and can observe them coming down from the trees and moving looking for food.
Jungle walking safari in Tai National Park
In a walking safari, meet with a family of chimpanzees in the middle of the forest represents such a fascinating and hugely exciting experience, pretty different from seeing animals from a vehicle.
Hearing the way that chimpanzees have of communicating via the emission of shouts, calls and growls or the impressive sound that makes resound the jungle when a male chimpanzee hits the hollow root of a tree is something that it will remain in the memory of the traveler for a long time. Observe the agility and rapidity of these primates which can weigh up to 50 kilos or contemplate the amazing similarity with human beings is an unforgettable experience.
In addition these chimpanzees have being attracting the interest of the scientists for decades because of their special skill of using tools to crack nuts.
Tai National Park is the principal humid primary jungle in West Africa
But in Tai there are not only chimpanzees living, also forest elephants, antelopes, pigmy hippopotamus, panthers, eleven varieties of monkeys, serpents, etc. Later we show you some information about Tai.
Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage, Tai National Park is the principal humid primary jungle in West Africa and the second in Africa, with a surface area of 454.000 hectares
Tai forest offers the best opportunity to see rare and unusual flora and fauna, huge trees, endemic species, biodiversity at its best.
Tai has approximately:
- 140 species of mammals
- 234 species of birds
- 56 species of amphibians
- 42 species of reptiles.
With regards to the flora, Tai has an extraordinary wealth, 1421 species having been counted so far, being endemic 321 of them.
Ecotel Touraco in Taï National Park
Tai National Park has a marvelous a comfortable Ecotel Touraco placed at the entry of the Park. If we chose the visit of the chimpanzees it would be advisable to spend the night in a basic camp placed in the middle of the jungle. This camp is in a forest glade, a magic place great to have an excellent experience, to truly immerse yourself in the wonders of the tropical rain forest, to relax after walking during the whole day where you can have a bath in the stream next to the camp and enjoy a cup of tea while you observe the monkeys and different birds crossing the branches of the nearby trees. An authentic luxury perfect for night-time charm and the jungle sounds.
But wild nature is also unpredictable, an encounter with a giant scorpion, the visit of two enormous green mambas to your hut or the presence of a panther a few meters away, are anecdotes you won’t forget easily.
The complete rain forest experience: hike to the Mount Nienokoue (sacred for the inhabitants of the zone), which offers splendid scenic views of Tai. It is also it possible to navigate some of the rivers that cross the National Park.
Djouroutou is the village for entry to Tai National Park and is to approximately 215 km away from San Pedro. The road going to Tai is a dirt track, and when it rains it becomes impracticable. Even in dry season arrive to Djouroutou can make an authentic adventure. It took us to 2/3/4 whole days to get from San Pedro up to Tai at the end of December.
You can learn more and very good information on the following website: