New Trip Report: Gabon

Another Gabon report – this time from November. Michel had a very different experience compared to my August visit to the same areas. Having someone reliable to make all the ground arrangements is vital. We too used Ghislain in Mikongo and he was a great guide in the forest, but we had others managing our arrangements.

Lope and Mikongo, 2018: Michel Gervais, 2 weeks & a some nice species including Black Colobus and Chimpanzees.


1 Comment

  • vnsankar

    This report also demonstrates the stark difference between wet (November) and dry (August) season visits to the region.

    I suspect Mikongo should really only be visited in the dry (late June-early October). During this season, elephants migrate out of the forests near Mikongo into the Lope NP savannas (around Lope Hotel). As a result, night walks can be conducted safely at Mikongo. I suspect the reason why night walks were not done on this trip there was the (very real, based on David’s accounts) risk of elephant charges. Insects, notably bees, based on several reports I’ve seen are also much worse in the wet.

    Moreover, wildlife is much thinner in the Lope NP savannas in the wet season, compared to the dry (particularly Aug-early Oct, when it is most abundant and varied). It’s also essential to note that David only tracks Mandrills for tourists late Jun-early Oct. Outside this time, the large hordes of Mandrills one sees in the dry season break up into smaller troops and disperse into the huge areas of forest further south.

    The duiker sure looks like White-bellied, but I’m not aware of any recent, substantiated records of this species from Gabon’s central plateau (e.g. Lope, Foret des Abeilles). Only from the NE region, around Makokou. Most records of this species’ presence around Lope are old observations, many of which have since been found to be misidentified Ogilby’s Duiker. The local subspecies of Ogilby’s is very variable in this region and can look similar to C. leucogaster (though the animal’s legs are not as white as those of C. ogilbyi should be). The best way to ID C. leucogaster is the tail, which is quite distinctive, but I can’t see that in the photos so I can’t be certain.

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