Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Lugenda...

I just got back from a three day canoe ride on the Lugenda river with a friend that I have met here. This river goes through the wildlife reserve in the Niassa province here in Mozambique. It is extremely wild and there is literally nothing along this river except for a few local fishing camps and a few hunting camps. We canoed about 80 kilometers from one hunting camp to another camp. It was such an amazing experience. I really felt like I was living a National Geographic episode. We canoed with crocodiles and tons of hippos. We did get a little too close for comfort a few times to some hippos. Unfortunately it was hard to take many pictures because I had to protect my camera from the water. We also saw 4 elephants and some Water Buck(which is a type of deer). Here are some pictures of the trip.
Here is our car all loaded with the gear. The road out to the bush to drop us off and pick us up was pretty rough. A 7 hour ride on these roads seems like an eternity.

This was our camp the first night. We were all in the water swimming and we heard this very loud sound of an animal running towards us, we look up and there is an elephant running straight at our camp. He stopped right at the little hill behind the fire in this picture and then put his head up and jumped a few times and then turned around and walked away. It was a little frightening to say the least.

The river was full of rapids and we did our share of falling out of the canoe. This was one of the rough spots.

We think this is the elephant that charged at us. We had seen him earlier right before we stopped to camp and he was ripping down trees to eat the leaves. Eventually he wandered back into the woods and we stopped to camp a little ways down stream. We were quit surprised to see him again running right at us!

Here is where we camped the first night, the same place where the elephant charged our camp. We slept in these mosquito pods, which are basically just a mosquito net with a ground sheet. We thought it would be fun to see the stars as we went to bed. However, after the elephant incident, I got a little scared and didn't sleep much that night, waking up to every sound I heard. Then to top that at 4am it began to rain and it NEVER rains this time of year. So we got soaked. I ended up getting up and stuffing my sleeping bag in a plastic bag to keep it as dry as possible and made myself a fire to keep warm. It was a long night!

Here is Veronica and I.

This was the sunrise from our camp the second night. It was a beautiful spot to spend the night and we slept much better with no rain!

This was one of the prettiest parts of the river. It tooks so many turns and bends with tons of beautiful trees draping over the river.

This was our lunch spot on friday.

When we arrived at the hunters camp on friday, Veronica and I went for a walk. We heard a lion calling and it was getting closer as we got closer to our camp. We asked some of the trackers to come with us and track this lion. We followed it up and down the hills all through the woods. We crossed three streams and finally lost it. Here is one of the foot prints. It is a little tough to see, especially in this small picture. But by the foot print they could tell it was a large male lion.

Here are some of my wounds from the trip. My whole body is so sore, but it was sooo worth it.


Grady Peeler said...

Wow. So amazing. What a great trip!!!

Traci said...

Wow!!! What an amazing experience!