This post isn’t that exciting, just elephants….we obviously live in their habitat and during the year they will occasionally pay us a visit. However, from October toDecember the fruit ripens on the mango trees and elephants come with it…The elephants love the mangos and en masse come into camp after sunset during the mango season. They are way more silent than you would expect so there are multiple occasions where you, and others, have bumped into them. Often they are equally scared and run away, but some times they are surprised and startled and start chasing you…mostly a bluff charge but it is always a good idea to show respect and run….
One of the best parts about living here is all of the wildlife we get to see on a regular basis. As you’ve noticed from all of our previous posts, we see A LOT of elephants (most likely we see a few elephants over and over again…), but monkeys are also abundant around Yenzi (and Gabon in general). The most common type we see are red capped mangabeys. They’re pretty funny and really curious, sometimes they’ll even come sit on the tree branches closest to where I am and watch me watching them. Here are some of the pictures I’ve managed to take of the red capped mangabeys around camp.
After spending a few weeks in the original house we moved into here in Gabon, we realized that although it had some positives (it was recently built so had nice, modern features, and it was huge with 3 massive bedrooms and 2 bathrooms that you could fit a pool inside) it also had some problems… the master bathroom was constantly flooded with water coming from under the bathtub, the walls were paper thin (and we shared our bedroom wall with our neighbors), and it had a very small yard around it which was overlooked by 4 other houses. So after a lot of discussion we decided to see if we could move to another house, which meant down grading to an older (built in the 60’s or 70’s) and smaller (2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, all about half the size of those in the first house) house. Luckily (and by luck I mean hounding the housing people daily for several weeks) we were allowed to move houses. Unfortunately they gave us this news a few hours after unloading our shipping container into our then current house…
Our new house is in a beautiful location, tucked into the corner of the forest with a large, more private feeling yard. The interior is a tad more dated, to say the least, but we feel much more at home here.
Here’s a little tour though our new house, but be warned it’s still a work in progress, and the 2nd bedroom has become a dumping ground for items we don’t know what do with yet… Oh, and the bathroom is pretty spectacular… 😉
We’ve also noticed that we have a very nosy neighbor here…his name is Rabi…he gave me a bit of a startle a few weeks ago…we enjoy him more from a distance…
Personally, I think it was his way of trying to make a friend…a friend that rides on his back… Next time Rabi, next time…
The other day I took Calli and Andrew’s dog, Hunwick, for a walk. We went to the golf course and as we walking down the road that leads out of it I noticed Hunwick locked onto to something in the grass and was slowly heading toward it. As I stared in the same direction and thought to myself “hmmm that look a little bit like a snake”. A second later I was quickly pulling the dog back towards me before it reached the head of the maybe snake. And indeed it was a snake.
From my internet research I think it’s a Rhinoceros Horned Viper. (Still need to double check with someone who would know for sure) Venomous, but pretty timid, luckily for us. Keeping a safe distance (and trying to hold back the dog that wanted nothing more than to get the snake) I watched it cross the road and head into the jungle. Pretty cool.
We definitely experienced a lot of new things our first few weeks here…
I’ve found 2 main types of critters that like to call our house home as well… Ants (who I fight tooth and nail to be rid of) and geckos. The geckos I don’t mind so much, but it is quite surprising to grab and broom and find one hiding in it. I do my best to catch them and put them outside, but I think it’s a loosing battle (with both the geckos and the ants…).
We have a bamboo tree right outside of our patio that weaver birds have built nests in. Almost every morning I sit on the patio watching and listening to them.
There’s a beautiful beach called Colas that isn’t too far from our house and isn’t too difficult to get to (i.e. doesn’t require off road driving, that has to wait until we get our own car). The Friday after Teun and I arrived we went there in the late afternoon. As we were walking toward the beach Teun spotted some movement a ways off by the trees…it was a mother and baby elephant!They were headed toward the beach, but soon spotted us and headed back to forest, too bad, but it was a magical moment.
We spent a couple of hours at the beach enjoying the cool breeze and beautiful scenery. It’s truly amazing to have these huge stretches of stunning, white sand beaches all to yourself.
We spotted two more elephants on the drive home.
The first Saturday night we were in Yenzi there was the “Les Bal Des Majestes” where everyone was encouraged to come wearing traditional clothes made in town by a local tailor. At first Teun and weren’t planning on going because we didn’t have any attire, but after meeting Christina at the open water sports day earlier in the day and having her offer to let us borrow a skirt and shirt from her and her husband, we decided it would be a good chance to meet people. So off we went to experience our first Yenzi night out. Christina and Calli had matching dresses made just the day before the event (aren’t they cute?!). Teun (much to my chagrin) even entered us into the competition for king and queen (even though we had no chance of winning, but we did get awarded the “judges prize” because we participated in the event after only 3 days of arriving). It was a fun night and great to see so many nationalities celebrating together. Close to the end of the event the king and queen were crowned and sat on their thrones in front of the whole crowd.
The next week I was invited to picnic lunch on the beach (Colas) with Cali and Michelle and their kids. It was a beautiful day, bright blue skies.
And we can’t forget about all of the elephants!
The first two weeks we were here we saw elephants almost every day! It helped that we were seeking them out 😉 we would take drives in the evening before sunset trying to spot wildlife. Some we saw just across the road from the housing camp, some in tall grass as we drove to or from the beach and some in our own yard!
Elephant family staring suspiciously at me as they decide when to cross the street and wander through Yenzi.
Then there was the afternoon that I received a telephone call from my neighbor that there was an elephant outside. I jumped up from my computer and looked out the window, there was a huge bull elephant 10 feet away, walking toward the bamboo tree!
He spent 10 minutes munching on it while I snapped pictures (from the safety of my house and patio, not that the mosquito netting would stophim) and then he wandered away to find food at other houses. I spotted him again a while later around the corner helping himself to someone garbage.
And I’ve spotted other beautiful creatures just walking around camp.
The birds here are amazing! Usually I’m too slow to get a decent picture, but sometimes I’m lucky.
There are lizards everywhere!
Haven’t seen too many creepy insects (yet), but a few big grasshoppers, butteflies, dragon flies, and a praying mantis.
The jungle is just a few minutes walk from my doorstep (and literally on the doorstep of some of the houses). We’ve seen monkeys several times, but I haven’t been able to get a good picture yet.
On Wednesday the 4th of March we flew an hour south from Libreville down to our new home in Yenzi Camp in Gamba.
We fly over one of the most beautiful national parks in Gabon, Loango national park, on our way down to Gamba. (When it’s a clear enough day) You can see the beautiful coast, lagoons, marshes, and jungles of the national park and the area we’ll be living in from the plane. It’s pretty awesome.
The first view we had of our house was from the plane. Of course at the time we didn’t know which house was ours, but looking back on it we can see in the pictures we took while flying.
We were very lucky that we were able to move into our new home the day we arrived, most people get stuck in a studio or other temporary accommodations when they first arrive because their house isn’t ready yet. There’s a few different types of houses in Yenzi, but we’re in one of the newest built of houses. It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. Since we don’t have any children we technically should be in a 2 bedroom house, but this was what was available so that’s what they gave us. Although we may end up moving to a two bedroom still.
This is a video I made of our house the day we moved in, so excuse the mess and for filming in the wrong angle 😉 All of the furniture is temporary, provided by the company until our shipping container arrives.