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Offending the chimpanzees of Lake Tele


Beside Lake Tele
Redmond O'Hanlon Writer
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We got into camp beside Lake Tele, finally got there. And got into Doubla's fishing canoe. This man, I really liked him, because he was somehow on my side, but he was called Doubla because he'd murdered two people, which is actually not a very good score. So he was Doubla. And Vicky, who was the other man with me, the chief's favourite, both very big and powerful, but Doubla wiry, and once you know why he's called Doubla, looks like an obvious killer. So we're paddling in the lake, and already in the early morning, insufferable heat, because remember this is the first time there's been a horizon, a rest for the eyes, open space. We've been under tree cover for months and months. And I'd forgotten how fierce the sun can be. And it's all reflected back from this very, very, very beautiful lake. And there's gorilla's on the shore, and small pythons called ball pythons, and very odd sight, in the jungle: trees in flower everywhere, because there's no flowering season: they all flower when they feel like it. But here, beautiful reds and yellows and bushes. Part of it looks as if it could be... the bank could be from some ornamental garden. I mean, absurd. And then you look up, and the... well, in this case, there was a mother gorilla with her baby, looking down at you.

And it's quite shallow, this lake. There was a big commotion ahead, and there was a beautiful big antelope, called a sitatunga, with wonderful, curly horns. And they have adapted hooves, really feet with webs, for going over marshland. And this thing sprinted away from us, Catherine wheels of water coming out. And looked as if it was being just lifted up off the surface of the lake by the sunlight, and into the vegetation on the bank.

British author Redmond O’Hanlon writes about his journeys into some of the wildest places in the world. His travels have taken him into the jungles of the Congo and the Amazon, he has faced some of the toughest tribes alive today, and has sailed in the hurricane season on a trawler in the North Atlantic. In all of this, he explores the extremes of human existence with passion, wit and erudition.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Lake Tele

Duration: 2 minutes, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: July - September 2008

Date story went live: 01 November 2017