Blogs from North, Congo, Africa


Africa » Congo » North » Owando January 25th 2023

Ngaga Camp - Western Lowland Gorillas! My first safari camp, near Odzala Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo, was Ngaga Camp. This camp began as the prime research site of Magdalena (Magda) Bermejo, generally recognized as the leading researcher in the world in regard to Western Lowland Gorillas. She was there during my stay, along with numerous other researchers. There are approximately 17 gorilla groups in the area - 3 of them have been acclimated to some limited human contact. Several years ago I was fortunate to experience a trek to view the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. They are relatively sedentary and very open to human presence. It was a life changing experience to be gently in the presence of these amazing creatures! By contrast, the Western Lowland Gorillas are quite active, on the ... read more

Africa » Congo » North » Owando January 25th 2023

Lango and Mboko CampsAfter our days tracking the Western Lowland Gorillas at Ngaga Camp, we headed into Odzala Kokoua National Park itself for an old fashioned safari - lots of trekking, lots of mud and stream walks, lots of amazing times just watching all the wildlife that came to the nutrient rich Bai in front of Lango Camp. The Republic of Congo has just recently starting to host safari's and they are committed to doing it right - with a huge helping of adventure! We had several intense moments as our knowledgeable and cautious guides turned to us and got us hightailing it out a potentially dangerous encounter with a hippo or elephant. Their expertise was impressive!... read more

Africa » Congo » North » Ouesso September 19th 2014

I stared, they stared back. The sun was slowly rising behind a thick blanket of white-grey cloud so the light was dusky but I could clearly see their golden brown eyes looking intently into mine. I breathed hard through my mask, sucking in cloth, exhaling fascination. I was in marantaceae rainforest in the middle of a group of western lowland gorillas, in seventh heaven. See footage of western lowland gorillas. The young gorilla I was eyeballing was sitting on a branch practically above my head. One of their friends came bounding down behind them, a bundle of brownish-grey fur and fun, and pushed into them, wanting to play. The two juveniles went hand over hand down tree limbs or swung on vines. A branch broke and they plummeted to the ground but were apparently unhurt. We ... read more

Africa » Congo » North August 1st 2010

So Bétou is basically a village, though it’s referred to here as a “small city” because it’s the capital of a province. Aside from local mud or wood dwellings, it has a big Italian-owned timber company whose processing facility is a few steps from the UNHCR compound, a small market that for some reason has a large proportion of vendors from Mauritania (which is nowhere near the Congo), one "restaurant," and three bars/discos. I am particularly thrilled about the discos, because possibly one of my favorite kinds of music in the world is Congolese music - you may recall I took dance lessons in Malawi…those were with Congolese, who are possibly the best dancers in Africa. I didn’t know this until I came here, but apparently Mobutu (the former DRC dictator) played a large role in ... read more
Site Monzombo
Kids at Site Monzombo
Camp 15 avril

Africa » Congo » North June 25th 2010

Bétou, Province Likouala, Congo I had my doubts about coming here. I was already on the fence about the idea of continuing what my friends in the field and I have come to term The International Life. The International Life being the life of humanitarian workers, whose lives I have come to realize are wholly dictated by a love of the field and little else. First there are the obvious disadvantages: moving from place to place, the inability to maintain a home or a relationship, the distance from loved ones, goat cheese and baguettes…the list goes on. Then there are the downsides that we tend to ignore or suppress, such as the truly depressing nature and inherent frustrations of the work, the constant questioning of why on earth am I off in some forsaken place, and ... read more
loading up the plane...
Ticket for flight UN60Whisky
Mbandaka MONUC air base

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