Twelve days walking through forest and savanna and more forest and more savanna. It is a circuit I will never forget. I have always read that forest/savanna borders are particularly rich with species because you get both forest and savanna animals coming together.
First time on the savanna for many of the porters
This circuit certainly was my best ever for observing animals. In the savannah we saw buffalo, bongo, a jackal, and quite possible a black fronted duiker. Lots of buffalo.
In the forest we saw a dead fully grown male sitatunga (pictured here). It had only recently died. No gun shot wounds so we think it was a snake bite. Blood coming out of its mouth and ears was the only clue. A beautiful huge magnificent beast.
A few monkeys were seen but not many. A few snakes also that caused the usual panic by everybody. But the best by far was Bonobo nests. Over 300!! Four locations were exceptional. One had about 100 in just a few kilometres and another had about 80 over four kms. Never seen places like this before. Salonga national park has no corner of forest this rich with bonobo.
One of many bonobo nests that we found. This one was old.
Sadly no sign of elephants or okapi. Hunted out?
The downside, this was physically very demanding. Marching 5 hours in burning sunshine across savanna is a killer and then to arrive at the other end into forest and find no water is demoralizing. It is the dry season and most of the rivers have dried up. We ended up drinking red stagnant water from the few pools we found for 4 days and one day of no water! Luckily no one got sick from this. Not sure how. Back in UK, I’m definitely going to visit the doctor!
A much needed and much appreciated drink on the savanna.
We are all back at the base camp along the Lomami now and it is sort of like a Red Cross camp. A lot of walking wounded, me included. One of my feet is a little swollen with a patch of bites from I think some insect that had a field day when I fell asleep one night in my forest chair (see below).
Right after this great supper I fell asleep and some creature made his supper of my foot
One of the porters got a cut on his leg, from a liana, just above his foot. His foot has swollen up like a balloon. He has started on an anti-biotic and we are hoping to see a change soon. He probably cannot carry on but his village is 300km away. What do you do?
Weary team at the end of the 12-day forest-savanna exploration circuit
Have just heard from a few locals of a location a few days march from here where there are Bonobo and Okapi. Going to have to go there and check it out. It will also mean that we can check out a bit further south of the rapids where the locals say there are hippos and crocs.
Better put those shoes back on, swollen feet or not…