Day 116: Lope National Park

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Tue 1 Mar 2011 17:17
Day 116: Monday 28 February 2011.  Hotel Embayi, Lope, camp site. S00 06.502  E011 36.635 Distance driven 96 km
We thought we would explore the National park today; the first problem was finding the entrance and the second problem was finding anyone there who could tell us what there was in the Park and how much it cost etc ! We did eventually rouse an administrator and a guide and the answer was, elephants, buffalo and maybe some chimps.  they wanted 15,000 CFA for us to take our vehicle inside, plus 10,000 CFA for the twp of us, plus a guide (10,000 CFA) and an ECO Guard at another 10,000 CFA - grand total 45,000 CFA or about £55.  Oh, we had to find room in the car for the guide and the guard and, no, the guide did not speak English.  We said we wouldn't pay for a guide who couldn't speak English and we didn't need a guard.  No go, mandatory, so we said "goodbye", there are better game parks in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana where we can go without guides and guards and if we do want a guide, they speak English.
We then decided to drive 50 km down the track towards Franceville to visit the primates research centre at Mingolo, established by the RGS, expecting someone there to speak English! It was a lovely drive, but when we got there it was all locked up and we couldn't get in!
Back at the Embayi, the Afritours truck had arrived so we had a social afternoon and did our washing.  We lingered in the bar too late and only got to cook our dinner after dark.  We had the awning out and Jenny fitted the all-enveloping mosquito net that she had made in Sevenoaks.  Once we had set up the light outside the enclosure, it worked a dream and we were able to have a bug-free dinner.  However, we had left things rather late and we had no sooner finished our meal than the wind got up and it began to rain hard.  WE quickly furled the netting and cleared everything away in the rain, then retreated to the car while it lashed down.  As it gave no sign of stopping, we dived into the tent getting both ourselves, and the interior of the tent, wet in the process.  As the wind got up more, the rain became harder and the vehicle rocked from side to side.  We soon realised that the awning was filling with a pool of water and the weight of all this water was rocking the car!  We had to turn out in the rain and the dark, very scantily clad, and furl away the awning, getting drowned in the process.  By the time we got back into bed the mattress and bedding was very wet.