Moukalaba-Doudou forest trek

Painting of a Gabonese mask slowly reclaimed by nature at Modi-Boti Hotel in Tchibanga.

Painting of a Gabonese mask slowly reclaimed by nature at Modi-Boti Hotel in Tchibanga.

The weekend in Doussala included a trek to look for gorillas in the forest of Moukalaba-Doudou National Park. The rainy season made the trek a challenge. The road between Tchibanga and Doussala was a muddy river of clay, including a bridge washout requiring a deviation through a stream. Luckily the stream was small, with sandy bottom, though the slick clay banks provided plenty of opportunities for trouble.

Trying to stay in radio contact, Alain searches for a signal in the dense forest.

Trying to stay in radio contact, Alain searches for a signal in the dense forest.

We crossed the swollen river to the park by small kayak, and walked most of the morning before we caught up with gorillas. A female with juvenile watched our arrival from the canopy before fleeing through the treetops to rejoin the rest of the family. It was the last we saw of them, for the inundated forest made it virtually impossible to keep up with the gorillas.

Female gorilla caught in the canopy holds her position, hoping we will keep moving.

Female gorilla caught out in the canopy holds her position, hoping we will keep moving.

Gorilla juvenile crab-walks through the canopy to follow the gorilla family through the forest.

Gorilla juvenile crab-walks through the canopy to follow the gorilla family through the forest.

By mid-afternoon the rains returned, making it difficult to follow the gorillas, and dangerous to move through the forest. The constant patter of raindrops muffles most other sounds, making it difficult to hear any large animals in the vicinity. It was time to head back to the village.

PROGRAM guide Joly leads us through the forest on a rainy afternoon.

PROGRAM guide Joly leads us through the forest late in a long, wet day.

Tathou practices on a moungongo, the mouth-harp used in Bwiti ceremonies.

Tathou practices on a moungongo, the mouth-harp used in Bwiti ceremonies.

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2 Responses to Moukalaba-Doudou forest trek

  1. Robert says:

    David,
    Great to see the photos of Doussala. I had a fantastic week there with Ghislain a few years ago and we then took the kids there for a camp. I spent many hours trekking and looking for gorillas, but only had 1 sighting, though it was definitely worth it! Going to Mbani was also well worth it! It was a fantastic location, but unfortunately was under-utilised at that time. Hopefully a lot more visitors are going there now!!

    • dkorte says:

      Robert,
      I was in Mbane camp a few years back and didn’t see gorillas there, though we heard chimpanzees several times. The forest at Mbane is beautiful, as is the forest across the river from Doussala.

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