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Heart of Africa Expedition Resumes

Africa explorer-conservationist J. Michael Fay is in the Central African Republic for the next six weeks, completing an expedition he started in 2014, retracing as best he could the footsteps of the 19th Century American Game Hunter-Explorer William Stamps Cherry. Fay, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and recipient of numerous National Geographic Society grants, has also worked for decades for the Wildlife Conservation Society. His transects through some of Africa’s most remote and inaccessible wildernesses (among them the National Geographic-sponsored Megatransect and Megaflyover) rank among the most significant in the history of exploration of the continent. Fay transmits brief text messages and the maps of his position via satellite, from his Garmin GPS unit. He will add photos to his updates when he has access to the Internet, possibly not until after his exploration is completed.

March 11, 2017–

Yesterday we drove about 7 hours to the northeast on the last of the last dirt tracks leading in the direction of the Sudan border.  We were on the truck with the research team from the Chinko Project headed by a Swiss guy named Thierry Aebischer.  They were controlling tracks and camera traps at salines along the way.  Thierry was sitting on the hood of the car and suddenly signaled, the truck stops and 5 researchers and 2 guards pile off the back of the truck.  Thierry has seen fresh tracks, after a bit of quizzing they determine it is buffalo tracks, several individuals.  A ways on same thing, this time they announce roan antelope, and a third time giant eland.  We stopped at several salines and it they all had fresh sign of some species of large mammal and not always pigs.  For seven hours we traveled along this bumpy road and didn’t see a single cattle track or piece of dung until right at the end when we reached the Chinko River, some 80 km from HQ.

After the traditional “photo op” with the travelers, a few hundred yards out and we were on our own, and to be on our own until we returned from the out and beyond.  I kind of laugh because CAR is supposed to be the most dangerous country in the world right now and this part of the country is off limits to all NGOs working in CAR and here we are strolling along like we are taking a hike through Yellowstone.  But that is the way it feels when you are on your own out in the wilderness.  What are the dangers, the elephants are gone, the rivers are mostly empty of water and even though every human out here could potentially kill you that is also a slim possibility if you know what you are doing.  Man it felt so good to just be walking where nobody is going to tell you can’t, where there are no rules, no law, no state, my kind of place.

20170311_063512 Saying Farewell-001

 

 

– J. Michael Fay

Today's Garmin reading reports Fay on the banks of the Chinco river on the eastern side of the Central African Republic. This was the same area traversed by the American explorer William Stamps Cherry in the late 19th Century.
Today’s Garmin reading reports Fay on the banks of the Chinco river on the eastern side of the Central African Republic. This was the same area traversed by the American explorer William Stamps Cherry in the late 19th Century.

Fay map 3

Africa explorer-conservationist J. Michael Fay is in the Central African Republic, completing an expedition he started in 2014, retracing as best he can the footsteps of the 19th Century American Game Hunter-Explorer William Stamps Cherry. Fay, a former National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and recipient of numerous National Geographic Society grants, has also worked for decades for the Wildlife Conservation Society. His transects through some of Africa’s most remote and inaccessible wildernesses (among them the National Geographic-sponsored Megatransect and Meglaflyover) rank among the most significant in the history of exploration of the continent. You can read all his dispatches at Expedition Through the Heart of Africa.

Comments

  1. John Sullivan
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    March 14, 10:03 pm

    Is there fishing along the Chinko RIver? If so, please take photos to document it.

  2. Mark Pearson
    Obo Central African Republic
    March 14, 2:56 pm

    Come and visit me in Obo, probanly the greatest fan of WSC in the C.A.R. Just ask Peter Gwin!