CAMEROON – March / April 2008 - Part 4
Catching-up – the Sanaga River
Finally, we visited Edea on the Sanaga River. This was a place that we
missed on our published schedule when we late getting back from the north.
On the way, a small lagoon had Hartlaub’s Duck.
On the river near Edea, we had a good birding morning seeing Great Blue
Turaco, White-thighed Hornbill, Bristle-nosed Barbet, Cassin’s Honeyguide,
Grey and Swamp Greenbuls, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Velvet-mantled Drongo
and Black-throated Malimbe. We also saw Northern Talapoin (a monkey) and
Red-legged Sun Squirrel.
Finally, on a sandbank further down the river, we saw Grey Pratincole,
White-fronted Plover and African Skimmer, an excellent way to finish our
Then, on 16 April, we went back to Douala for a final dinner before the
group dispersed and started heading home.
This was a pretty amazing trip. There were quite a few very special
birds, such as the Rockfowl, Quail-Plover, lots of great turacos,
particularly Bannerman’s, and Egyptian Plover to mention a few. We also
saw quite a few rare birds like Adamawa Turtle-Dove, Bamenda Apalis,
I ended up with 452 species of birds for the whole trip, with 166 new
ones, and an additional 20 species heard – a very satisfying return. I
also saw 30 species of mammal.
Cameroon is an extremely hard place to get around. We thought the roads
in the north were bad – until we got to the west, where they were much
worse. So, we spent quite a few long days travelling between sites. It
was also very hot in the north and very warm and humid in the west. In
Korup, for example, I spent the whole time either wet or just damp from my
persperation that did not stop, even at night. So, I am very glad to have
visited Cameroon, but I don’t want to go back in a hurry. I certainly
wouldn’t want to live there.
Cameroon is also a very dangerous place to be, health-wise. As well as
very dangerous malaria, it has a very long list of very dangerous
diseases, like elephantiasis, sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, river
blindness, filariasis, dengue fever, bilharzia, meningitis and yellow
fever to name a few. I don’t know what type of diseases many of these
are, but they prevented Cameroon from being colonised by Westerners for
along time. Attempts to colonise it usually ended in the deaths of the
Westerners. Therefore, it was best to try and ensure that one was well
covered, both by clothes and insect repellent, and to try and minimise the
opportunities to be bitten.
For me, the trip was a good success and well worth doing. Much credit
needs to go to our two Rockjumper guides, Richard and Fraser. They were
well informed about the bird sites and knew the birds and their calls
well. They were invariably cheery, helpful, attentive and concerned for
our welfare. The local ground agent, hired by Rockjumper to do the
logistics, was also good. JP travelled with us and was constantly
monitoring the locals to make sure, for example, that proper meals were
delivered on time, rooms were booked and suitable for us, travel plans
were in place and people turned up on time, etc.
A few times when things went awry, it was easy to see that, without his
constant attention, so many things would go wrong that it might derail our
trip. It was a testament to the two guides and JP that this trip went
exceptional well with no accidents and only minimal health problems. I
was extremely grateful to them and their helpers, as, I am sure, were my
Finally, I am very grateful for the company of my fellow birders on the
trip. They were good company and invariably cheerful under sometimes
trying conditions. They were all very good birders, who were very keen to
see most things. Even though the majority of them were a fair bit older
than me, their stamina to the end was very impressive, sometimes putting
me to shame. It was a pleasure to be in such a group.
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