Thursday, January 28, 2010

Parc W Wildlife Reserve

This past weekend we had a chance to go on a wonderful get-a-way with a few friends. After several very long and full work weeks, we needed a little bit of R ‘n R and this was the perfect chance! Our friends (A French family and a Belge couple) were going to Parc W National Reserve Park for the weekend and invited us to come along and we jumped at the chance! Bennett and Arielle were really excited because their two little friends Callista and Ophelia were going to be there with us.

The CAMPGROUND

This campground is located within the park itself and along the Niger River (which you can see in the background). You rent a tent unit that comes with beds and mosquito nets, and we also got the deal that included an light breakfast and supper in the evening, so we only had to worry about our lunches. What a great idea!

This place has tables and chairs, good bathrooms, swing set for the kids and they even make you a big fire at night to sit around!

Frederic enjoying getting a push from Bennett

The inside of our tent (had 5 beds)

If you want to take the boat to get here, you can!

Sunset at camp. It was soo beautiful and peaceful!

And of course the roads. We did a lot of driving in those three days and they were mostly all on dirt roads. Some of the roads were smooth and shaded by thick trees, others were rutted with huge holes and harsh sun beating down on the truck. But all the roads were peaceful and it was beautiful just to be outside of town in NATURE! Not even once did an animal ask for money, or bang on our car, we didn’t see a single motorcycle cut us off, or policeman pull us over for a bribe. No one came to our window selling vegetables, batiks or leather goods. It was good times folks…good times!!

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The FUN

I know you can’t tell here, but we packed 11 people into a Toyota Prado! We only had one guide, so the days we drove around the park we all shared one vehicle. It was tight, but a lot of fun!! (From left to right it is Agnieska, Fred, Callista, Paul, Chantelle, Arielle and Briac – hidden are Bennett, Ophelia, Odile and the Guide Yakouba)

A beautiful shady spot under the trees with a gourmet lunch thanks to Briac!

Arielle checking out the animals in style

Great new friends having a great time. It was so much fun for us too as parents (meaning Paul and I ) to hear Bennett and Arielle speaking French all weekend with their little friends!

Bennett is the King of the Hill!

 

The ANIMALS

The Elephants

For me, this weekend was all about the Elephants. I have loved elephants my whole life. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint! We feel lucky in that sometimes the elephants are anti-social and visitors don’t get to see them at all. We got to see them twice! In fact, our first evening there, they even set up a roadblock and we had to wait 20 minutes while watching them! Sadly the light was fading rapidly for good pictures, but what majestic animals!

The roadblock:

The next day, we saw them hiding behind the trees very close to the same spot as the night before. I took a ton of photos of them behind the trees, but so badly wanted them to come out in the open!!

And then there was a gap in the trees, and they all turned, and came RIGHT AT US.

HOW AMAZING. HOW AWESOME. HOW BEAUTIFUL AND HUGE THEY WERE…AND A LITTLE BIT SCARY THAT CLOSE!

And in the end, all they wanted to do was cross the road!

Crocodiles

Thankfully we didn’t get too close to any of these creatures, but we did see lots of them! Here is one crossing the river beside us

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And no less than 7 of them on the shore sunning themselves! A bit hard to see them so i added the frames to help you!

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Baboons

Baboons are a little bit mean i think. They are aggressive and stay in a pack. Paul and I and the kids were walking and they saw some of these monkeys. They were a good 50 feet away  and they were making a lot of noise. They were making aggressive movements towards us, and some of them were circling around us to flank us. A little un-nerving to say the least…so we kept walking in the other direction! Over the two days we saw quite a few monkeys – vervets, baboons and red monkeys.

(They are a little bit hard to see so I circled the 5 of them in red)

Antelope

We saw lots of antelope this weekend. Probably 30 or more? They didn’t seem scared of our slow moving vehicle and kept eating the grass and meandering around.

Deer

Even though we have Deer in Canada too, it was still nice to see them again!

The way home

At the end of the weekend on our way home, we attempted to go get a geocache. There was one left on this road that we hadn't tried before. The light was fading fast and we were in the fields and trying to follow donkey cart tracks etc. haha. We didn't have enough light to get out and find it in the end, but while the men scoped out the terrain I had fun playing with a group of women and children who gathered around us. Such fun! And now our group has planned another adventure afternoon to go back and find it!

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Many thanks to our friends here for planning such a great weekend. I have to say that was the best weekend we have had in a long time and completely stress free, exactly what we needed!!

And for those of you visiting Niger, if you have the time and funds, don’t forget to try and visit Parc W !!

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Once again enjoyed the travel time with you. Elephants-amazing creators. Not much excites me - but these do. So glad you had a refreshing time. Think of you often. heather

Anonymous said...

OK can't spell at my age...meant to say creatures - not creators????