Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This distinguished and brave woman is Eulalie Bashige, a champion of women's rights and the environment. She lives and works in the capitol, Kinshasa and attended every minute of the meetings where we worked on the Master Plan for recovery of the war torn Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks. 

We load the Land Rover for the day long drive, largely on dirt roads,  into the heart of the rarely visited Rangers Station in the Kundelungu National Park. 

We are met there by Head Ranger Gibogo beside me and consider how to integrate into the real world the decisions that came out of the meetings. A lovely temperature at about 5,000'

The map of the Democratic Republic of Congo showing animal concentrations, Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks the two touching gold sections  in lower right. Note that most of the country is made up by the Congo River watershed that flows into the Pacific at the left edge of the map

We stop on the way to follow the proper cultural protocol and introduce ourselves to the Chief Modeste. Our group understands the criticality of such protocol because if there is any hope of getting the local people to do, or not to do something, it will be the Chief who will make it happen.

All of the people are very friendly and glad to communicate 


         dried caterpillars                                      


Local tobacco 

It seems that every family makes charcoal to sell and in some cases it might be the only cash infusion into the home

Charlotte Dyckerhoff from France works in Congo’s capitol Kinshasa where she represents the interests of a European NGO. She joins us as we venture into the rarely visited Park. This view over thousands of square miles seems go on forever

A medical clinic offers basic life support near the entrance to the Kundelungu National Park. The medic could not have been more proud of his situation. He trained in Zambia, the closest place for the instruction he needed

The ever so photographic children respond in kind to any gesture of friendliness

The guard at the entrance gate to the park lives in a little grass and wattle hut of his own construction little different than one constructed in the same place l,000 or l0,000 years ago

The sad condition of this large sign at the main entry to the Park highlights the long gone lions and leopards and gives evidence of the total neglect of this Park that was actually created to protect the cheetah once found here in abundance. The last rhino was killed in the l950’s

Zacherie has been a Ranger here for 32 years, sometimes paid and long periods unpaid. Here he holds a home made gun with plumbing pipe barrel taken from a poacher

Deeper and deeper into the Park we drive, sometimes there is a route to be seen, at other times it is so overgrown one wonders how many years it has been since any vehicle passed.

A chance to bathe in fast moving water at Lutschipuka  is a welcome relief. The similar but bigger Masanga Falls are about 4 k away.  The magnificence of these falls can not be overstated as seen from above or below. The stunning view across the rolling hills covers thousands of square miles of absolute wilderness. We might have been some of the only people in years to enjoy this, one of Africa’s finest panoramas of miombo forests that seem to go on forever.

Game heads of Jacksons Cob (left), greater kudu and Sable Antelope, all killed off during the years of strife and lack of protection in the Park

Butterflies by the hundreds of a dozen species where the track crosseed a little spring, each a little poem on wings

Again following  the  proper protocol, we meet with the National Park team and explain our mission and how we hope to help restore the Park and help secure their incomes and futures.

The best part of the trip comes next, a week or so in still deeper bush, to Upemba National Park, you can google the site for more information, stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment