Preparing for adventure
Are we going to see a gorilla today?
The equatorial rainforest is an ecosystem in which thrive numerous animal and vegetal species but this does not guarantee to make fauna watches. In Mikongo, animals are neither tagged or habituated. Moreover, many species move daily looking for food or shelter. If it is possible to come upon a gorilla family or an elephant herd after just one-hour walking, it is also possible not to see them during five consecutive days!
The guides of Mikongo'Vision control some elements (skills, patience, silence) but other factors are unpredictable (luck, weather conditions). If you must prepare yourself not to see the animal of your dreams, you must know that the forest has always something to offer thanks to its great biological diversity. So keep a sharp eye out!
a. How to dress?
We recommend you to wear trekking clothes in which you feel comfortable: avoid jeans, prefer light and flexible fabrics which dry fast. Ideally, your shoes are thick, ankle boots and waterproof. Clothes must be dark-coloured so as not to attract the animals' attention.
It is also better to cover totally your legs and arms, for two main reasons:
- limit infestations by insects (ants) and ticks.
- avoid scratches caused by the vegetation and especially the famous razor leaves.
b. What should you take for a forest hike?
Here is a list of useful items that you should have in your bag:
- a poncho or any other waterproof raincoat. No flashy colours!
- a camera with its protective bag.
- a frontal torch lamp when bivouacking.
- medicines if you follow a treatment or to foresee a predictable illness (e.g. articular pain when walking for a long time). More generally, it is essential that you subscribe to a repatriation insurance.
- antihistamines if you are allergic to insect stings (especially bees and wasps).
We advise you to take a backpack as light as possible because walking in the forest can be tiring. We already take bottled water, sandwiches and biscuits.
Prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases.
" Take nothing but photographs, kill nothing but time and leave nothing but footprints "
Zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses, pass from animal to Man and vice versa.
When entering a natural ecosystem, especially in a protected area as Mikongo forest, it is highly essential to leave the least impacts as possible. Beside the risk of contaminating the environment, the other possible damage is that every human waste is susceptible to transmit infectious agents (bacteria, viruses) and/or parasites potentially pathogenic for local fauna. Moreover, a benign infection for men can be fatal for the wild fauna which is non habituated to these pathogens. For example, gorillas are very sensitive to human diseases like flu or cold.
When sojourning in a natural area, you must never leave your waste (tissues, sanitary towels, plastic bags...) and be in good health!