“Nestled in Eastern Central African Republic (CAR) in a war-torn region plagued by instability and deadly ethnic violence, lies a wildlife refuge called Chinko. Despite decades of civil war, intense poaching, illegal grazing and heavily armed herdsmen, remnant populations of key wildlife species have persisted, and vast swaths of wooded savanna and rainforest have remained intact, making this one of the largest ecosystems with the greatest conservation potential in all of Central Africa.”
African Parks Website

I first heard of the Chinko Park from a family friend who did a few seasons as a professional hunter in the mid nineties. Amongst hunting stories that sounded like they occurred in the early 1900s, he described a river that, during the dry season, pooled up clear with linking runs and rapids. He was more interested in the hunting than the fishing obviously. There have been hunting concessions in the region for decades, stalking the elusive Lord Derby Eland, amongst other game. It was through one of these that Francois Botha was introduced to this little river that held monstrous fish. I didn’t think of the place or the name again until I met Francois in the Seychelles. I remember well his stories of behemoths while piling up Seybrew bottles in the tropics…

 

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It has been the involvement of Africa Parks that has really turned the tables for the region. From providing safe haven to refugees in need until they could return home and providing rangers with the specialised training to deal with the ever growing poaching threat to building infrastructure and providing jobs; they have poured resources into this relatively unknown Park in the middle of Africa. Indicators such as employment and a return of wildlife point to a growing success for Africa Parks in this region. A real from the ashes story.

It was years of hard work that led to the development of a partnership with Africa Parks and Goliath Expeditions, as Francois has aptly named the company. Goliath Expedition will be opening the Chinko River as what will be Africa’s (if not the world’s) most ridiculous fishery. Anyone who watches the teaser below will struggle to concentrate on much else for hours after. This obviously only means good things for greater region of Chinko.

Goliath Expeditions will be offering fly fishing only exclusive access to a river where you can find both Nile Perch and Goliath Tigerfish, in the same river! I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that can boast a pairing of two such predators in a freshwater system.

 

GOLIATH TIGERFISH ON FLY IN THE CHINKO RESERVE from Francois Botha on Vimeo.