N’Dogo lagoon

Sunday, Jan. 30

Uapaca tree anchored in the lowland forest of Loango

Today rising early, after omelets and toast, we are boating back up to where the lagoon empties into the Atlantic.  We see the reason for no hippos in the river, as a pod of hippos bob the waters of the lagoon.  As we approach, they disappear beneath the surface, reappearing just out of range for any serious pictures.  We continue to a sandbar where we secure the boat in preparation for another forest hike.  Along the trail, we cross extremely fresh tracks and sign of forest buffaloes, elephants, red river hogs, and even a beautiful print of a leopard.  The forest is alive with hornbills, cuckoos, palm-nut vultures, ibises, and other birds hidden high in the canopy.  Some are familiar melodies among other mysterious calls I cannot identify.  The day is bright, and sunlight pierces the canopy. Shards of crisp light tumble through the branches, occasionally spotlighting the wet leaf litter on forest floor.  Not the best for wildlife encounters, for this weather is more conducive to napping in the shade. Deep in the forest, we encounter a band of red river hogs. Snuffling and grunting tips us off to their location, and they noisily retreat as we approach.

leopard print and an elephant track, slipping along the trail

We exit the forest to a narrow band of savannah meeting the coastline and find hippo tracks in the sands, mingled with those of elephant, buffalo, mongoose and genet.  The boatride back to the hut finds hippos again in the lagoon, wary of our boat.

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