It is the rainy season in the lungs of Africa at the moment. During this time, fruits and flowers in trees or on the ground create colour diversity to the evergreen rainforest. Mammals and birds cover long distances to reach areas where the trees are fruiting, all gathering around the food resource that they favour the most. Humidity levels in the air are still high but drop down with daily amounts of significant rainfall. The green forest breathes out mist after rains, supplying us with pure air.
Lango Camp, Odzala-Kokoua National Park
Guereza colobus are good-looking black and white monkeys which at birth are entirely white in colour. There is a troop that actually lives in and around Lango Camp and to our excitement, we were privileged enough to see a new-born, a snowball that stood out from the dark green canopy forest right above the camp.
Forest elephant occasionally have come to visit Lango Bai. They seem to arrive mainly during the night, and in particular during the full moon. At this time, it is always a good opportunity to try viewing them with a good pair of binoculars. They have also been seen during early mornings from the deck of Lango Camp while the guests are enjoying their early breakfast. Our bai explorations and river activities have proven to be another good opportunity to see these animals.
The Lékoli River is high at the moment, which allows us to navigate to places that were not accessible during the dry season. Fruiting trees along the river attract a lot of primates and we were lucky to experience a few decent sightings of the very shy De Brazza’s monkey. The highlight on the river this month was not one but two sightings of the rare African dwarf crocodile. The croc is so called as it is generally less than a metre long. As they were swimming in fairly clear water, the viewings were outstanding.
Ngaga Camp, Ndzehi Concession
After rainy nights, the gorilla tracking experiences have been very interesting, as the gorillas would sometimes climb trees in the early mornings to catch the first rays of the sun in order to warm up. When they weren’t climbing trees, they would spend some time hanging out in their ‘nests’ amongst the thick marantaceae – which then requires some patience for guide and guests to get the most out of the experience.
As there are many trees fruiting at the moment, the gorillas tend to move in areas where there is an important concentration of fruits.
We have been pleasantly surprised to come across a few wild groups of gorillas while tracking the Jupiter and Neptuno groups. It is always a pleasure as well to have a glimpse of or to hear chimpanzees calling while tracking the larger apes.
Night walks have been productive with sightings of elegant needle-clawed galago, Demidorff’s galago, African palm civet and African wood owl. Night excursions have also been excellent times to see frogs – particularly tree frogs.
Birding around Ngaga Camp this month was outstanding, especially seeing black-collared lovebirds, African crowned eagle, Cassin’s hawk eagle, yellow-crested woodpecker, black-headed waxbill, and black-bellied seedcracker.
Around Lango Camp we had sightings of long-crested eagle, Goliath heron, blue-breasted kingfisher, blue-headed wood-dove, African finfoot, European honey buzzard, and dark chanting goshawk.