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BBC Africa - Episode 3 - Congo

Added 17 Jan 2013
BBC Africa - Episode 3 - Congo
 

We've all been glued to our screens watching David Attenborough's latest documentary. Daniela Pontis, Product Manager for Africa and our very own Africa expert talks about it in more detail:

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Fierce competition between species is the theme of the third captivating episode of Attenborough’s Africa, which unfolds in the Rainforest of the Congo. This ecosystem features the highest concentration of wildlife in Africa, relentlessly fighting to secure their space in the thick jungle.

Up in the trees, a chimp, our closest relative, is filmed while skilfully building a sophisticated set of tools to open a beehive. Disregarding the big drop underneath as well as the hundreds of bees buzzing around her nose, she indulges herself in the sweet nectar while the baby tries to clumsily imitate her behaviour from a distance.

In the undergrowth, a python risks her life every day for 3 months by sunbathing to accumulate as much heat as possible to incubate her enormous eggs. Her embrace is so powerful that she imprints her skin on them. Sadly and despite her efforts, what awaits out there is so dangerous and hostile that only 1 out of 100 babies are likely to survive!

A battle between 2 male frogs might not be as dramatic as the one between elephant bulls, but it’s certainly entertaining, its comical aspect being emphasised by a spaghetti western soundtrack. Using their long legs to slap the enemy, the winner will finally gain his female and romantically glue the eggs she lays in a leaf to protect them.

Having designed a one-off trip to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic for Explore’s limited collection last year, I am well aware that this area is not for the faint hearted and the logistics proved to be some of the most challenging and expensive I ever had to deal with. However, when looking at the images of the clearing where the forest elephants congregate and at the interaction between them or the wild beaches bordering the forest, where hippos take a dip in the sea, I feel that this is such an untouched, unexplored and fascinating part of our planet and I can’t help envying those who had the privilege of exploring it!

The good news is that, if visiting this part of the world might be very complicated, the rainforest of the Congo Basin extends to the neighbouring and welcoming country of Uganda. Easier to access but still providing a real taste of what life in the rainforest is like, you’ll have the chance to see some of the wonderful creatures of the jungle such as chimps, gorillas, elephants, hippos and many others. Kibale has the biggest population of chimps on the planet and is the best place to spot them. Mountain gorillas in Bwindi have regularly rewarded our clients with close encounters and many claim this is the ultimate wildlife experience!

Read Daniela's previous articles:

Episode 1 - The Immense Kalahari

Episode 2 - East Africa

Episode 4 - The Cape

Episode 5 - The Sahara

Episode 6 - The Future