The heart of Africa actually, the jungle of the République de Congo.
Last summer a friend invited us to accompany her, and her brother and his lady friend, to the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park where her daughter is Director of Research for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is one of the managers of the Park. This was an opportunity not to be turned down of course. There were formalities and vaccinations involved but we completed it all in plenty of time and we left the day after Christmas.
This is the most remote place we have ever visited. We left Tucson and flew to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Paris, where we spent the night. Next day, Paris to Brazzaville, Congo, and spent another night. We then took a domestic flight to the other end of the country: Ouesso, where we picked up a "pirogue" that took us up the Sangha river for 5 hours to arrive at our destination: Bomassa Camp at the NNNP. It was dark when we arrived.
A pirogue is a very long hollowed out log, one lawn chair wide, with an outboard motor. Ours took 8 people, cargo and the boat driver.
After a day at Bomassa Camp we piled into two Land Cruisers and drove for several hours to be transferred to smaller pirogues and paddled to Mbeli Camp, currently abandoned due to marauding elephants. We shouldered our packs and walked for an hour to reach Mbeli Bai, a natural forest clearing where the wild life is habituated to people on a large, high platform. We spent two nights camping there and saw several gorilla groups (silverbacks, their females and offspring) eating the vegetation, as well as a number of elephants extracting minerals from the water, and some sitatungas grazing. We celebrated a memorable New Year.
Mondika Camp consisted of a number of hardwood buildings and was a main research station (only one person monitors Mbeli Bai). We were set up in tents with beds and private bathrooms, the pit-and -pour kind. It was lovely. Food was provided by the camp cook who was a master at his craft in such a remote location.
An amazing trip and those that know us well can count on seeing many more photos, or a video, if they are interested.
January 13, 2017
I know, a bit late you say, but there is a reason for that as you will see. However, as this is only the second White Christmas I can remember, it is still noteworthy.
Befitting the Rain Goddess from Oregon, aka my friend Linda who always brings rain when she visits, there was lots of rain on her arrival a couple of days before Christmas. I was actually surprised to be able to make it down our road to pick her up at the airport.
Christmas morning we woke up to the world in white and as we were hosting Emma's sisters as well, we had a good time in the snow. The chickens would have no part of it though and stayed in the coop all day. Cody and Bueno ran around like idiots, slipped and fell. The dogs had the most fun: rolling, eating snow, chasing each other.
Dan built a fire in the fireplace and we puzzled and ate our way through most of the day, until it was time to pack our bag and get ready for Adventure.