Friday, August 13, 2010

8 - Bush Meat

View over Moon Lookout
Beyond the red tiles of new luxury gated communities for the rich, corrupt, connected - and expatriate oil workers - on the one hand, and the satellite-garnished corrugated iron roofs of the ever preset musseques on the other, the road out of Luanda continues south across the bright orange earth of savanna-like terrain. Baobab trees dot the ground like an array of huge bottles sprouting topknot branches. Just in case you forget where you are, the police haul over motorists, find some fault with the car, candongueiro (mini-van bus) or license, and demand a 'gasosa' (a soda), the local word for bribe. Everybody seems to pay to avoid hours of delay, forced trips to police stations, or worse.

Side view
Some 20 miles on, time and weather have furrowed out waves of grey-white ravines and troughs topped by orange earth pinnacles and hillocks high above the Atlantic coast – the Miradouro da Lua (Moon Lookout). It’s not extensive, perhaps stretching for less than a mile, nor deep, but remarkably impressive. Unfortunately, as throughout the country, the wondrous site has been littered with garbage.


And the garbage!
 Yet further on, the Kwanza, Angola's largest river, pours into the sea. A few miles beyond, Kissama, Angola's largest national park, extends on all sides, with IMAX panoramas over the splendidly green Kawa River flood plains. It used to host 4,000 elephants, 450 lions and scads of rhinos, hippos, buffaloes and leopards. But war intervened, the soldiers got bored, and shot the animals either for sport or food. Now the war is over, they've started to restock the joint with animals brought in by cargo plane from Botswana and South Africa, and wild life in the wild is again on view.

Muggins, of course, succeeds in only seeing three baby monkeys, two little deer, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Kawa River flood plains in Kissama National Park

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