The 3rd field period

Friday 09 June

Tuesday morning in Maroua: after we’ve waited for the tomatoes (the ‘vegetable man’ brought them on time) till 6.30, it was time to leave. In the morning it was raining (2nd time in Maroua!), so it was much cooler. Good weather conditions to travel. After a 3.5 hours drive we arrived in Garoua. we visited the bakery again and we tanked. From here it was another 3.5 hours drive to Benoué on the badly maintained road. Because of the heavy rains and the many trucks the road has a lot of holes. Very dangerous and annoying. but….we arrived safely in a rainy Benoué. Heavy showers and thunder dominated the evening and night.

Next day walking transects; the park has changed again. grasses are greener, taller and more numerous. again there were a lot of oribis, duikers, kobs and bubals. But one of the most special and rare aniaml I saw the first day…..elands!! Enormous antelopes, in a group of almost 60 and with little alands too. Such large hornes, just impressing. This was a lucky day. I really can say that.

Later the days I saw roan antelopes, bubals and girafs. But I’m still far from completeing the ‘big five’; buffeloes, lions, rhinos, panthers and elephants. Panthers, buffeloes and rhinos are very rare. The chance to see a rhino is almost zero, ‘cause there’re only 6 of them.

hope is nearby, since I’ve heard the lion approach to the campement. and we heared baqboons screaming, ‘cause a panther was hunting on them. further a hyena was very clamarous. still no sign of these animals (except the noise).

Rain has also brought some changes; very bad sand roads and more grasses. Really annoying during transects! During nights animals are still clamorous. Last night 2 hippos were fighting….still dangerous animals. As I couls see at the hippo mares. I only saw a lot of hippos (fighting), but no sign of crocodiles. Sadly enough.

The last days it’s still very disasterous walking transects. 🙁 everything was wet. Horrible, just like swimming, but then in grass. But one thing…….tuesday was the last transect day! Unbelievable, the last time walking in thye park and seeing animals (in the field). Unfortunately I didn’t complete the big five. Next day we only separate grasses and rest a bit. As plans can change vey quickly here in Africa…….we find out our driver was very sick. We expected malaria, so we decided to go to Ngaoundere one day earlier. But before this we also decided to return to Maroua from Ngaoundere, so it was hasty work to finish everything before departure, next day. Fiven this, it was the last time for Tom, Roeland, erik and Janneke, so there was a party. Horrible……hasty……forgetting things. a lot to do on the final day; paying guides, arrange the ordre de mission, getting wood (for cooking), weighing the herbs and putting all transect data in the computer. Just too much. We tried to focus on the party which was this evening (8 June).

It was a nice party with drinks and two roasted goats. I got a portion of fries and bello sauce. I talked to the guides and inhabitants of the village….for the last time. Very sadly, but the atmosphere was very good. Later there was also some music, but next morning we had to wake up very early, so I went to sleep.

Next morning I was very tired, ‘cause of the bussy day before…..:(. we said good bye to the villagers and we left Benoué park for the last time. We took our driver first to a hospital in Ngaoundere. We waited 1.5 hour for the test results. They find out he had malaria. On a scale of three marks (the more, the bad) he had two. So his health situation was very bad. The doctor prscribed him some medication. After getting all at the pharmacy, we drove to the centreal market and the super market. After that we went to Ngaoundaba. Also here a lot of delays. At the police control points we were hold on. Yep…..again dredging….some documents weren’t valid anaymore. The constable gave us an ‘invitation’ to visit the head of police in Ngaoundere next day in the morning. Horrible things and even more delays for tomorrow. Finally…..we arrived at 3.30 pm. I took the paddles and went for sculling. Again a lot of bad luck……..5.00n pm it started to rain and thundering. After dinner (which was very good) I went for sleeping.

Next morning we departed on time and we arrived just before 9.00 am at the bus station. We only waited till 10.15 am….then the bus departed. In Garoua there were some problems, so we had some delays. No problem; we had a good driver an the weather conditions were in fact very good. Very cloudy and cool. Even the road was repaired on long stretches, which made travelling nicer. Anyhow I arrived tired 7.45 pm in Maroua and 8.00 pm at the CEDC. Very late and tired I immediately ate something. The I went to bed……till next morning…..with a fresh start in Maroua.