Korup National Park --- our hike in the rainforest
The drive from Buea to Mundemba, where Korup National Park is located, is only about 200km ( or 120miles). But it took six hours driving time to get there in a four-wheel drive car. By the time we reached there, every muscle in our body had enough exercise for the whole year - at least we felt that way! When we finally got to a hotel, Martha's "Sure" Guest House, our host asked Janice to check it out before we rented our rooms. When Janice saw that the toilet had a seat, she told them " we will be fine!". As you can see, our standards have been adjusted to a much more realistic level. We stayed in the hotel for the next two days.
We were fortunate to have two colleagues in the Geology Department from UB, who kindly agreed to accompany us on this trip. We were using a University 4-wheel drive car. We were getting some initial ideas about some possible collaborative research projects.
Saturday (June 1st) was our day to hike. BUT there was a Cameroon vs. Ireland world cup football game starting at 7:30am on TV. No one can get anything done when Cameroon is playing. The whole country was watching the live broadcast on TV. Those who do not have TV at home would find a drinking joint to watch, or just stand outside to watch in the front door or window of a the house which has a TV set inside.
At 10am, we got to the Park Headquarters to get briefed about the park and pay our fees for entrance to the park, (5000fcfa~ $7.5 for foreigners), for hiring a guide (mandatory), and for hiring a boat to get across the Mana River, which forms the border of the whole east side of the park. As the original wooden hanging bridge was being replaced by one with concrete posts, the boat trip was a necessity.. By the time we drove to the river area, and got ferried across the river, it was already 11:30am. before we got started on our hike.
The rain forest is very dense. Every thing was wet. Even though the sun was up we were totally in the shade. We did not see any animals. I am sure that they saw us as we heard that there are a lot of animals in the forest. We heard, on the other hand, a lot of sounds. Various birds made many different sound, and insects such as crickets of various kinds had some peculiar sounds. Of course, we heard the sound of rapids from time to time, as we were hiking along the river path.
We reached the Mana Water Fall, just before 3pm. We had our lunch there while looking at the beautiful view. However, rain came quickly before we finished eating. While we brought along our ponchos , the others did not. So we decided not to use them. Especially since we were a lot cooler when we got wet and we certainly enjoy the cooling down. Coming home is always faster. It only took us a couple of hours before we got back to the river crossing point. We got back to our hotel at about 6:30pm, having just completed a nice long day - especially when you consider that Tom's hips are not very cooperative these days!.