After we finished all of our hard work with the gorilla project we happily got to do a little sightseeing in the area nearby. About a 20 minute boat road from the town of Omboue lies the Mission Saint Anne. It was built in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel Tower, and, funnily enough both were designed by the same man, Gustav Eiffel. It seems that the founder of the church had a very rich mother with good connections in Paris, Mrs Bichet. All of the plans and materials were shipped from Paris and assembled in Gabon, reminds me of ikea furniture 😉
We were guided through the church and the area surrounding it by an enthusiastic, and perhaps slightly inebriated local gentleman, none the less he seemed to have a lot of information and love for the mission.
We went inside one of the classrooms of the local school. On the outside there were some lovely painting of local animals, however, on the inside there were some live specimens, I would have rather avoided…
One of the most beautiful areas was the bamboo forest. They actually refer to part of it as the bamboo chapel as the stalks tower over you, making what looks like an arched ceiling. Once a year thousands of people gather here for a mass.
After lunch in Omboue we set out towards our next destination, the Loango Lodge.
This beautiful resort is situated on the northern edge of the amazing Loango National Park. The owners of the Loango Lodge actually helped start up the Gorilla Project, so when they heard that we were helping out there, they offered us to stay at their beautiful hotel and join them for dinner. Needless to say we were all ecstatic at the opportunity. Teun and I and few other didn’t get to lodge until after dark and we all had to leave before sunrise the next morning, but from what I got see it looked fabulous, I can’t wait to go back again and join in on some of their safaris into the national park.
Dinner was fantastic, with a beautiful view over the river below.
But at 5am we all rolled out of bed, grabbed a quick breakfast and were on our way to begin our trek back home.
We even saw a leopard while were driving! We were in the lead and we saw a large, dark cat (leopards here are very dark colored) crossing the road. It was quite far away and as soon as it saw us coming it ran off so I didn’t get a picture unfortunately. A while later (while I was napping) Teun spotted a chimpanzee crossing the road, again it happened so fast, by the time I woke up and looked around all I saw was some movement in the bushes.
Large hornbill flying by
We needed to make it to the ferry by 11am in order to get our cars on. And it was very tight, we were the 2nd car of the group and made it there at 10:50am. Of course the ferry didn’t actually leave until 11:30…