Monday, January 16, 2012

Park W for New Years!


This year we took the long weekend of New Years and went down to a National Park called Park W. It is called Park W because the river does a large winding W shape right there that you can even see on Google Earth. This park straddles three countries- Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso.

Once again we stayed at the eco-lodge that is located 40 minutes inside the park on a beautiful island. This is the most beautiful, restful and awesome place we have found in Niger to date. It isn’t too far away, not too expensive, and it is one of the places where we can totally relax and unwind.

The cabins as we approach by canoe. There are 10 cabins in total.ParcW-2602-2

Fred and Pat in their cabin with a view!ParcW-2134-2

Sunset on the terrace. Waiting for supper and enjoying spectacular sunset views!ParcW-2188-2ParcW-2191-2ParcW-2538-2

One day we went hiking all around the island. There are lots of Boabab trees and interesting rock formations. The kids love the exploring and chasing the small green monkeys that also live on the island! This is the view from up on the highest rock hill looking across the river. Shortly after this I slipped on a rock and badly bruised my elbow- but that is another story! Thankfully it has healed fine so far!ParcW-2612-2ParcW-2482-2

Paul got the the Park a few days early after he canoed down with a group of youths from Sahel Academy. Then he tented for a few days with other families while he waited for us to come. One night they went on a night safari and saw two lions! Lions are a rare thing to be able to see, so he was really lucky! This is a grainy, low-light photo but you can still see the lion!ParcW-7033-2

Our safari one day brought many more animals to our camera lens in much better light. We saw many springbok type antler creatures that I forget the English name for!ParcW-2200-2

Pumba’s relatives! ParcW-2307-2

And also- my favourite sighting of all! The elephant has long been my favourite animal and I consider it pure joy each and every time I get to see them.

The first day we came around a corner and came face to face with this giant! We were literally only 15 feet away! Apparently the ears out and flapping is a sign that they are NOT happy with you. I was driving but Patricia grabbed the wheel while I fired off a few shots.ParcW-2120-2

He raised his trunk to trumpet at us, clearly not happy now. I took the shot and hit the gas while Patricia steered us down the road another 10 meters. Awesome!!


The next day we saw two elephants grazing on trees, but at a distance this time. We sat and watched for a while and it was amazing to see them grab branches and strip them of their leaves with their trunks.


One of the best parts of this weekend was the company! We went with half of our team and we had a wonderful time. The kids and adults alike all had friends to hang out with, games to play and lots of great conversation!

ParcW-2502-2Patricia giving Arielle a lift while we watched the Elephants eat.

ParcW-2443-2Kristi and Arielle hiking around.

ParcW-2605-2Daddy and Bennett. See these rocks? Not hard to imagine how I slipped on some leaves and crashed down! Instinct had me grab my camera and hoist it to avoid getting it hit while my other elbow crashed down. Paul was funny to say – we have health insurance but not camera insurance- good job!!


We also got to enjoy canoeing as a family for a couple hours. The kids loved it. Arielle liked to sit on the very bottom and watch everything go by while Bennett wanted to take his turn paddling and helping. It was awesome to get out and check out little inlets and laugh as a family. I love watersports so this was a real treat. Thanks Brian for lending us your canoe!



1 comment :

Anonymous said...

It all looks sooo magical. This is part of my dreams that I've had since I was 9 years old. How marvellous. heather