In the morning, a huge tropical storm rolled in. It was pouring down buckets of rain, and the clouds were big and ominous. After a while the downpour ceased. Our guide informed us that we still had to wait until the afternoon for the forest to dry out a bit before we went on a hike. While waiting one of the camp employees noticed something floating down the river. It was a dugout canoe, also called a pirogue here. It had clearly been washed into the river from a village upriver. The staff had decided that rather let it continue to float all the way to the mighty Congo River we might as well commandeer it for the camp. As we had nothing to do we hopped in the boat for a ride. It was a nice treat to be able to look back at our camp from the boat.
Finally, it dried up enough to head into the forest. Our guide mentioned during heavy rains the animals hide and go far into the jungle. He was correct as all we saw was some monkeys and birds. We were able to look closely at many plants one I would like to mention is what they call jungle pineapple. It was clearly a type of cecropia but with many more lobes on the leaves than the peltata or palmata. The fruit was yellow and did look sort of like a pineapple. It was mostly seed but the small part of flesh around the seed was delicious.
A large reddish orange flower caught our eye, and we look forward to identifying it when we get back. Any guesses what this is? No one here knew the name. It would be a great addition for the display!
As soon as it was dark out, we heard these large sounds coming from the bamboo stands near the camp. An elephant had wandered into camp! It was nearly 40’ away from us and clearly comfortable with being around people. The ecoguards explained that some of the elephants are habituated in this part of the national park, and this elephant had probably come here before and knew there was bamboo for him to eat.
After a short morning hike we loaded up our gear and headed back towards Camp Kombo for our last day in Lobeke. On the way we stopped at a local spring that our guide called gorilla water. The spring was well known and a popular place to get clean water. We were told that it will give you the strength of a gorilla. We were also told we needed to pay the gorillas for the water but since there were none around we decided to chance it and took off with our canteens full.