Although the trek was long to base camp and we had lots of hiccups along the way, the best part was that we were able to see so much of the country. To make it even better, Chad is in the beginning of the rainy season and they have already had some rain. This meant much of the country has beautiful, vibrant hues of green over the landscape. Every now and again we would travel through amazing rock outcropping hills that were splattered with green. All good signs that rain has come and will continue to fall. The dependency on rain is vital for life here, not just for people, but for the plants and animals. Life thrives with the waters that come from the sky.
At The Living Desert we often hear from our guests after they have visited a comment such as, “I can’t believe there is so much life here in the desert”. It is the same here. I think when people think of the deserts of Africa they picture long stretches of sand dunes with very little vegetation. I have found that is definitely not the case. There is life and beauty everywhere. Along the way, we saw an amazing amount of bird species, like hornbills, Marabou storks, Ibis and some silly little guinea fowl. We saw some frolicking Patas monkeys and I was even able to get a quick glimpse of a Red-fronted gazelle. A quick peek before it shot into the forest of bushes, leaving me with a feeling of gratefulness. Those fleeting moments made every bump, bounce and flat tire along the way worth every minute of the trek.
As we continued our drive the landscape changed but there were signs of life everywhere. When we entered the preserve and drove closer to base camp we were welcomed by bustards and dorcas gazelles. It still inspires me what can thrive in the harsh deserts of the world and even underground too, evident by the aardvark holes we saw in the sand. These plants and animals are the ultimate survivalists. Then there are the people who live here, also, the ultimate survivalists. The dedicated people at base camp opened up their doors to us and were genuinely happy to see us. These people who live and work here are amazing. They work day in and day out to save species. They don’t do it for money or fame or recognition, as far as I can tell they do it because they genuinely want these animals to not go extinct. Now that is inspiring! It is a good reminder that the work we do is so much bigger than us. Saving species is not easy, if it were our job would be done. So we will keep believing in these ultimate survivalists and being their advocates so they do not disappear.