2013 Nki Tour Cameroun

2013 in NKI

The redblossomed trees of Ngoila, our startout point

 

In 2013 i decided to visit Nki Parc in Cameroun. I had heard about it from Louis Fon Che, who had been there putting tracking collars on forest elephants. I was accompanied with old time travelling and biologist interested friend Claus Helveg .

  • Plan was to rent a 4W drive and go from Yaounde to Ngoila.
  • Local Louis Fon Che put up travelling details
  • Time spent in the forest was planned to 7 days.

We sat out from Yaunde in the car, driven by a colleague of Louis Fon Che. We were confident having these two guys as out tourleaders, they were very ensuring .

First trouble happened on the way to Ngoila. We had to cross a river with a cable ferry, but the water was too low because of lack of rain, so we had to wait until morning when it would have been raining in the jungle, making the water flow higher. Sleeping it out in a little village by the river, where nothing was obtainable, we went to bed with an empty stomach. Claus in the van, i pulled out the tent, and had a good nights rest. Claus had a grumpy morning, he hadn’t slept. He would not pull out his tent for the night, he was not feeling safe.

Generally, being in country side in Central African countries, its a good idea to carry a tent. You never know where you end up for the night.

One of our fields of interest, spiders and insects where photographed anytime anywhere. Here at dawn at our outdoor toilet in Ngoila, before setting out

Next morning we found the ferry guy, and had an easy crossing. I think it wasnt the waterlevel the day before, it was the ferrydriver being drunk or otherwise indisposable.

Arriving in Ngoila, we were dumped in the only hotellookalike in town. It was ok, there was a door and a bed. And an outdoor toilet, where i found the spider you see in the picture.. Nice 5 cm guy waiting for a cockroach .

Preparing the trip at WWF in Ngoila.

We met at WWF headquarters the following day. Louis Fon Che and the driver showed up, telling us they were heading back to Yaounde. The driver, as agreed, but Louis? Louis said he had informed WWF to give us the best men. But we had agreed Louis should come along on the trip as leader for the crew. But suddenly he had an appointment in Yaounde… We were very disappointed, but he reassured we got the best men. Sorry to say not all were the “best men”.

He left, and we prepared to leave as well.

Gaddafi in the forest.

The new appointed leader of our trip was “Gaddafi”, I`m not sure if it was his real name or call name..but he was a guy who took the job seriously. On the way to Ngoila we had bought supplies in a mini market. There was no mini markets outside the bigger cities so we had to shop before getting to the countryside. Mostly canned goods, rice and spaghetti. Some garlic and salt, sugar and coffee. Basic stuff. We had a bottle of rhum for the nights.

The Guard

Fresh Army Man

All the gear was devided out. We had hired 5 porters, beside Gadaffi and the WWF appointed guard. The guard was a young guy, fresh from the army, carrying a 1936 belgium one-shooter riffle and some ammunition. The guard was the responsibility of WWF and Louis Fon Che. Louis had asked for an older experienced guy, but this guy showed up in the last minute, and there was no discussion. An older guy joined our group as well. He was the canoe padler for our soon to come cross river transport.

I carried only my photogear, but it alone was a 20 kilogram sack. Not much compared to the 25 kg and upworth sacks the portes carried. Footwear is the most important equipment. The porters had either worn through shoes, cheap Chinese rubber shoes, or flip flops. My preferred shoe was a pair of Crocs. Claus had the latest heavy walking boots a modern equipment retailer back home could sell him. He shook his head on my decision for the crocs. He would rather die than wear them. ” Boots will protect me”.

We departed around 9 am. Going on a trail, it was pretty easy walking. We crossed some streams on the way. I walked straight through the streams in the Crocs. 5 minutes after my feet were dry and happy. Claus tested his boots, they were waterproof. Until he came in too deep and had one of them flooded. The first day we covered 25 km. It was through mostly plantation of Cocoa, Manioc and small abandoned huts were Cocoa and Manioc was dried outside. The owners were only around when in season. Small paths lead from one parcel to the next and inbetween the forest claimed parts of the track and made it hardly passable. But the day was giving us hope of a manageable hike.

From 3 PM and on we start to hear a roar through the forest. It was clearly water making noise in the distance, getting louder as we moved on. Claus and I started excited to discuss what the roar meant. A waterfall og just a tough current? We could n`t wait . We had a short rest at one of the abandoned huts. A guy where resting there, showing us the Catch from the river. Catfish mostly. We took a short photograph session, recording the species. There was no wish to stuck up the supplies with soon smelling fish.

 

Around 4 PM we reached the river. The roar came from not far away, the white water stream fall was only a few hundred meters left from the point

the trail ended up in the river. The Canoe Padler disappeared and came back onboard a small Piroque. He even had red life jackets for the non swimming tourists. He insisted we weared them on our following sightseeing on the river. Even here they have an agenda. Actually he just wanted to go canoing to watch the white water fall.

While the group camped out we went on the pirogue and had stops taking a lot of sunset pictures and film clips. Wonder full place, and a nice Tarzanian surprise to find a pristine place like this without any other tourists, houses, burgerjoints or anything at all suggesting there is a civilization out there.. alone with a few guides who really just wanted to be at home, and us the happy Danish, gobling in the adventure.

The next day we ate our breakfast, the soft flütish breadrolls they selled some days ago in the minimarket. The bread was already mouldered but out here, who cared. The guides cooked some pasta with canned tomato sauce. Drink was hot riverwater with loads of dried ccoffee and sugar.

 

 

 

 Going back from the observation platform, locally called The Mirador, where we encountered 5 poachers, 2 AK47 and 2 dead elephants, close to darkness and ran of before we asked for a selfie with them. They chased us for a couple of hours, eventually we got away. What would they have done to us, maybe just chat i dont know, my crew decided not to ask.

 

 

Photo Gallery

Video : The Crew are discussing the retreat from The Mirador.

 

Audio:

 

On a trip in the 2010s One carry electric gadgets unlimited. Here is my Iphone Memo , myself giving myself an interview the night of fleeing the Poachers. Im in the tent, its all smelling of sweat and fear , and im ratling on:

 

 

 

 

Going back by car was a little adventure in itself…

 

 

 

 

Claus Helveg and me went in January 2013 to Nki Park in Cameroun. Mainreason as photographers and genrally interested in nature. We just wanted to be out there where it is still wild!

 

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