Sunday, 11 May 2008

7th May 08

Date: 7th May 08
Location: Bush Camp, Nr Oyem, Gabon
Weather: Blue skies and sunshine, 37°c
Status: All vehicles good, all passengers good too!

Left our beautiful bush camp around 6.30am and got straight back on the bumpy dirt road which took us towards the national park where we intended to spend the next few days exploring. It was a 2.5 hr mission to complete the 50kms and finally we arrived in the town of Lobe and drove straight to the hotel, the only place we knew of in town.

Now this sort of hotel is designed for fly-in tourists with shedloads of money and was well outside our price bracket…they wouldn’t even let us camp on the bloody grass outside, and they wanted to charge us CFA18,000 per person for a 2hr drive using their vehicles, nearly £25 each! So stuff them, and we headed back out into town to find our own accommodation!

Arrived at the cross roads at the centre of town and bumped into Jules who owned the motel opposite, it wasn’t the most attractive site but he would allow us to stay on his grass, have use of the toilets and shower and the well to fill the vehicle tanks for less than one person would have been charged at the hotel! Brilliant. He also knew of a local guide who could take us around the park with our own cars at a fraction of the original hotel’s quote, again good work.

The 4x4 safari happens at 4pm as the sun is starting to loose its heat and the animals appear from the forest so it gave me a chance to catch up on some well overdue training even though the outside temp was a barmy 39°c in the sun, so I confidently set off around 1pm and headed back up the road we had arrived into town on.

It was stinkingly hot and after an hour of running with no water in the direct equatorial sunshine I was shattered so turned and headed back to the camp. 2hrs after I’d left the others I arrived back and was ready to drop….god I hope the Comrades isn’t anything like this or I’ll never make it.

Met the guide for our trip and headed to the entrance to the park, it a stunning mixture of forest and savannah sweeping south for 5000 hectares in which there is a variety of game from elephant to leopard, jaguar and monkeys. Usual story though, not too much on offer and we managed to clock 5 forest ele’s, which are wickedly small and cute and a few monkeys. Back out around sundown.

Had a good dinner courtesy of the new rota system we’ve implemented meaning fairer duties for the next few weeks, joined Kerry and Alex for a birthday drink and headed to bed as I was fit to drop

End of day location: Lobe, Gabon
Distance covered: 68kms