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Explore Gorongosa Bush Blog

Don't miss out on the latest sightings & happenings from Gorongosa. Keep up with the beat about the bush, brought to you directly from our team on the ground at Explore Gorongosa

November 2011
All good things must come to an end...

This month's bush blog could just have easily been titled "to everything its season..." The end of another season in Gorongosa and it is as good a time as ever for reflection on the year that has come and gone, almost in the blink of an eye.  2011 has been a real roller coaster ride with some great guests, some difficult weather, some awesome game viewing & birding, some dodgy tree-cutting & gold-mining issues surfacing from the mountain region, and some all-round, life-changing safari experiences with us all here in the ever-inspiring Gorongosa National Park...

In true reflective spirit, we thought it would be a good idea to run a Best of... Worst of... Awards for 2011 in this month's bush blog. If you have some more categories to add or if you feel deeply that some or other potential award-winner has been cast aside much to your anger and chagrin, please share these ideas and all your other bits of Gorongosa magic (photos, stories, video, etc) on our FB page.  And so without too much fanfare - the envelopes please...

  • Best photo (guest)
Tree-Climbing Lions (Splif & Splof) by Mike Paredes (below)

  • Best photo (guide)
Juvenile Pel's Fishing Owl in Camp by Neil Dampier (below)

  • Best sighting
Herd of 150-plus relaxed elephants seen on the way to drink at the lake one afternoon by Jeff Trollip & guests in November

  • Worst sighting
The start of the Gorongosa gold rush seen by Rob & guests in helicopter flip, overhead the site for the soon-to-happen gold mine on the boundary of the Park

  • Best place to spend a night in Gorongosa
Three-way tie between the summit of Mount Gorongosa, the new Tent 6 at Explorers and the roof of the Lion House

  • Best sundowner spot
Songue Lagoon - no arguments here

  • Best moonrise/stargazing spot
Again, no arguments here - the roof of the Lion House

  • Best sundowner drink
Gin Cities mixed by Alex (at the Songue of course!)

  • Worst sundowner drink
That putrid pink thing served up in camp one evening by Jeff & Kathy!!

  • Best dinner costume
Easter brunch with Greg Carr, Bob Poole, Nancy & Connie, Vasco & family, and the Pirilampos

  • Worst dinner costume
Errr, without a doubt, it must be Jeff's tight little two-piece with the Stephensons!!

  • Best birder (bird list)
Lawsons Biridng Group: November (204 species and then some!)

  • Worst birder
Beatriz: calling us to chase away the "vultures" pecking at the solar panels (they were a pair of Pied crows).  Bea wrestles the award from Jos' hands (now Jos has her sight set on the Lawsons target!)

  • Best camera (a.k.a. Camera Envy of Note Award)
Tie between Chris Haslam from the Sunday Times and Rinaldo Mapelli of the Great African Mapelli Expedition 2011!

  • Best conservation moment
Re-introduction of 4 cheetah into the Park after a 40 year absence (see the surviving male - we now know as Spot - pictured below coming round after his relocation)

  • Worst conservation moment
Tie between the sad deaths of 2 of the above cheetah and the release of details of the planned gold-mine near Villa Gorongosa

  • Best community moment
The Permaculture course & related workshops run in the Park and in neighbouring communities in April

  • Best thing to come out of Ackim & Bento's kitchen
For the third straight year running, that Bolo da Maca (Apple & Spice Cake) - that just seems to get better and better with time

  • Worst thing to come out of Ackim & Bento's kitchen
THAT homemade pasta (one of the first such attempts) that seemed to be more stringy mango broth than yummy al dente pasta... but still, dessert that night was chocolate brownies which more than made up for it!

  • Best guest moment
Tie between the two above-mentioned meals: Easter brunch and Jeff's bikini dinner - although the look on one or two of our birding guests' faces when they saw the resident Narina Trogon comes close

  • Best staff moment
The 1-1 draw with a well-drilled outfit from the Education Centre in the annual Gorongosa football challenge.  The goal scored by Silverio was a Rooney special...!

Any and all anthropomorphism in the next set of Awards to be humbly excused...

  • Best actor - animal:
Tripod the Younger (she was discovered fit and healthy with a set of cubs late in the season after not being seen for months - all considered her dead - yay for Tripod... what a beauty!)

  • Best actor - bird
The pair of Pels' Fishing Owls that made a baby fishing owl in the tree just down from camp this season (see Best Picture earlier)

  • Worst actor - animal & bird
The pathetic water birding "frenzy" this season by pelicans, storks, herons, etc - global warming or just plain bad luck, but there was none of the spectacle that has impressed us on previous years

  • Best newcomer - animal & bird
A tie between the young pair of boys of Tripod the Elder's: Splif & Splof - mean mother-lions in training; and the nesting Dark-backed (Forest) Weavers in the pod mahogony above the dining table in camp

  • Best supporting actor - animal & bird
A tie between the good people who donated, paid for, transported & generally made the cheetah re-introduction happen; and the thousands of little fire-flies in summer who made every evening at Explorers and on the mountain a fairy wonderland

  • Best call - animal & bird
The all-night roar-athon between the Brando Boys and Splif & Splof at the height of their first serious face-off in front of camp in October

  • Worst call - animal & bird
That damn baby Pels Fishing Owl!!  The staff did ask us on frequent occasions if they could put the "ghost" to rest...!

  • And finally...the Best memory of 2011
Alas all our best memories from 2011 come from all of the above... well what can we say!

Fabulous festive season to you all and roll on 2012!!

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