posted on Jun, 3 2007 @ 05:26 PM
based on my geographical studies based on the Megatransect from National Geographic and with the use of Google Earth this is the material of interest
to all Tarzan lovers.
Its just some thoughtful reflections on the tribe and their lifestyle.
Seasons and Journeys and Customs of the Mangani
1898/ Tarzan is Age 10
A Year in the Life of the Folk
Paranthropus Australopithicus Robust / Petit Loango / Gabon Africa 1888
Summer Solstice Coastal Megatrek / May - June
Winter Solstice Inland Megatransect / December - January
Winter Solstice Inland Megatransect :
December – January / Short Dry Season / 600 Miles
Ogooue River / Ngounie River / Waka / Lope
Summer Solstice Coastal Megatrek :
May – June / Long Dry Season / 550 Miles
Ogooue River / Petit Loango / Mayumba
The coastal range of the Mangani is 250 miles from the mouth of the Ogooue River in the north to the Mayumba National Park in the south. This was the
Summer Solstice Coastal Megatrek. There are four large major lagoons and three national parks in the coastal area of the tribe of Kerchak. Loango
National Park and Mayumba National Park are on the coastal boundary and Moukalaba DouDou National Park lies only 50 miles inland. Of the four lagoons
Nkomi Lagoon to the north is the largest lagoon. Iguela Lagoon the smallest of the three in the middle. The Ndogo Lagoon which was nearest Petit
Loango was further south where the Cabin of Lord and Lady Greystoke was built. Mayumba National Park and Banio Lagoon was the southern limit of the
travels of the tribe. It was 250 miles from the mouth of the Ogooue River in the north to the end of the Banio Lagoon in the south. This 250 mile
coastal stretch of beach, savannah, rainforest and lagoons and up to 100 miles inland, was the main nomadic area of the tribe of Kerchak comprising an
area of 25,000 square miles. There were also two more National Parks on their yearly inland Winter Solstice Megatransect to Lope and Waka National
The Mouth of the Nkomi Lagoon was 80 miles North from Petit Loango and 20 miles south of the mouth of the largest river in Gabon, the Ogooue River.
It is the largest of the three lagoons. Nkomi Lagoon is 50 miles long with a 35 mile long and 1.5 mile wide peninsula of coastal beach, savanna and
rain forest on the west side. The mouth of the lagoon was a half a mile wide and ran for 10 miles south before it opened up. Here it varied from 2
to 5 miles across for 27 miles south where it then turned in east for 14 miles.
The mouth of the Iguela Lagoon is 35 miles north of Petit Loango. Only a quarter-mile wide, it travels east and in land for 2 1/2 miles before it
opens up. The lagoon itself is 20 miles long, where it varies anywhere from one to 5 miles wide. Iguela Lagoon is the smallest of the three lagoons.
It has a 10 mile long 1 mile wide peninsula of coastal beach, with savannah and rainforest.
Loango National Park is the location of Petit Loango home of the Mangani. Petit Loango was only 12 miles north from the mouth of Ndogo Lagoon and the
Cabin of Lord Greystoke on the protected cove. Only a half of a mile south from the cabin and also a 1/3 of a mile behind it ran a jungle stream that
entered the mouth of the lagoon that ran with clear cold water from a lake 3 miles in land. The three major local rivers are the Nioungou River which
drains the Iguela Lagoon south. The Echira River which flows east and the Rembo Ngowe River which converge at the Akaka forest. The water from the
lagoons tended to be warmer and a dark brown color due to the mineral content of the soil. The mouth of the Ndogo Lagoon runs south for 12 miles but
is only a third of a mile wide with a narrow peninsula on the ocean side that was only 1/4 mile wide that was mainly beach and savannah with some
jungle forest at the south end. The mouth of the lagoon then travels east for 5 miles. It then opens up into the world's most abundant island
studded lagoon that runs 25 miles south as it varies between 3 to 5 miles wide.
Banio Lagoon was 150 miles south from Petit Loango and is the location of Mayumba National Park. The mouth was only .1 of a mile across and ran 5
miles south west then makes a sharp turn south for 20 then opens up into the Banio Lagoon for another 22 miles. This was the southern end of the
The nomadic habits of the tribe depend greatly on the yearly weather patterns. There were four major weather patterns at Loango. There were two Yearly
Megatreks of eight weeks each. The rest of the time was long rest periods. The majority of the year was spent at Petit Loango with inward treks
dependant on the dry seasons. During the three month Long Wet Season between February and April the tribe stayed only on the coast keeping to Petit
Loango. The majority of this time was spent in the rainforest for some shelter from the heavy rains and occasional tornados. The 385,000-acre (1,550
square kilometers) Loango National Park protects diverse coastal habitat, including part of the 220 km² Iguéla Lagoon, the only significant example
of a typical western African lagoon system that is protected within a national park.
The Loango is an exceptional coastal park because of the diversity of its ecosystems. Located on the coast some 250 km to the south of Libreville, the
Loango encompasses over 100 km of wild uninhabited coastline. In this magical place, Forest Elephants, Hippopotamus, Red Forest Buffalo, Sitatunga,
and sometimes Gorilla wander on the white sandy beaches or concentrate in the adjacent marshlands.
Loango National Park created in 2002 on joining the Iguela and Petit Loango Reserves is an area of outstanding beauty combining a variety of different
habitats including ocean, lagoon, forest and savannah. The choice of attractions varies depending on the season with whale spotting from July -
October and the turtle season from mid November - mid January. Throughout the rest of the year one has the chance to see Buffalo, Crocodiles,
Elephants, Hippo, Chimpanzees and Gorillas. From October through to March one will often see the larger mammals such as the Forest Elephant wondering
along the beach, or if lucky the Hippos surfing in the sea!
The Long Dry Season was five months long between May to September and had no rain although the sky was often overcast in the afternoon. The tribe had
two nomadic Megatreks. The first one they would spend all their time on the coast line and open areas between May and June as the inland dried. This
was the Yearly Summer Coastal Megatrek, a total journey of 550 miles. They would migrate from Petit Loango north of to the Ogooue River and back to
Petit Loango which is a 125 mile journey one way. Then travel south 150 miles to Mayumba National Park and Banio Lagoon, a 70km ribbon-like lagoon
that acts as another natural barrier between the interior and back to Petit Loango. They averaged 10 miles a day.
It was between the next three months of the Long Dry Season during July to September that they made journeys further inland as the land dried. These
inland journeys were within a 100 mile limit which is now the eastern edge of Moukalaba DouDou National Park. Moukalaba DouDou is a lush region of
vast savannahs with many Elephants, Gorillas, many great cats including the huge Liger, the Water Buck and Jackal all interspaced with lush
rainforest. Here they rested for three months after their long Coastal Summer Solstice Megatrek.
October and November was a Small Rainy Season with heavy rain in the morning and afternoon sunshine. The tribe having returned to Petit Loango would
gather food semi protected from the rain in the forest in the morning and in the sunny afternoons on the beaches spending most of their time resting.
In December they traveled north along the beaches of Loango and slowly work their way up the coast to the Ogooue River which was 125 miles north. This
was the start of the Yearly Inland Winter Megatransect, a journey of 600 miles. They would walk about an average of 10 miles a day with much resting
in the sun on the beach which they shared with all the animals of the jungle. It was an area of social gathering and the beauty and splendor of the
beach and the ocean surf was enjoyed by all the animals of the jungle of Loango.
The tribe of Kerchak never traveled more than 60 miles north of Point St. Catherine Beach at Iguela Lagoon as the mighty 1200 km long Ogooue River
emptied into the Atlantic Ocean there. It was too large and deep for them to cross it. The largest river of Gabon the Ogooue (Ogowe) River meets the
Ngounie River the second largest tributary about 100 miles inland. This again made another physical barrier. They would travel on the Megatransect
inward east once a year along the Ogooue River for 100 miles and then follow the Ngounie River south for 100 miles where it finally ended deep in the
forest. They would travel straight east of the south end of the Ngounie River 100 miles further inland to the east edge of Lope National Park and the
Ogooue River to the point where the Lope Hotel now sits overlooking the Ogooue Rapids.
Lope National Park is a lush open savanna region of the African landscape. It has rolling landscape with many hills and valleys with the jungle
forest interspaced amongst the large savannas of Lope National Park. It was early January when they traveled the 200 mile journey back to Petit
Loango. This was the end of the Yearly Megatransect of 600 miles.
This Yearly Megatranset to Lope, a journey of 600 miles, took eight weeks and was during the Small Dry Season between December and January which has
clear blue sky with very little rainfall. They would average about 10 miles a day. It was just before the start of one of these Megatransects that
Tarzan was adopted by Kala in November 1889.
This Megatransect was the longest journey from the general area they covered along the coastline of Loango and the inner savannahs of Moukalaba Dou
Dou during the rest of the year. The trek to Lope was always exciting for the tribe and an important part of their nomadic habits. The Journey along
the Ogooue River and Ngounie River was an easy trek as the rain forests and open savannah made for leisurely progress especially during the Small Dry
Season. This brought them to Waka National Park by the end of December. Waka comprises 1070 square km and is in mountainous Mitsogho country, they
traveled a deep rift valley over 100 km long in a block of ancient forest and only 50 miles east of Lope National Park.
Lopé National Park, located in the center of Gabon, is 4970 square km and became the first protected area in Gabon when the Lopé-Okanda Wildlife
Reserve was created in 1946. Its legal and management statutes have changed several times over the years, and the Lopé National Park became part of
the network of 13 parks created in August 2002 by Presidential decree. Although the terrain is mostly rain forest, in the north the park contains the
last remnants of grass savannas created in Central Africa during the last Ice Age, 15,000 years ago.
These savannas are now a rare ‘island’ habitat in the rain forests and represent a unique record of biological evolution during that time. The
largest mandrill baboon troops ever recorded are found here. Lope is home to 400 of the 680 bird species in Gabon including the rare rock fowl and
approximately 60 different species of mammal including forest elephant, lowland gorilla, chimpanzee and mandrill. The Lope Reserve has an estimated
population of 1,350 mandrills (usually visible in July-August) and 3-500 lowland gorillas; whilst one makes every effort to track these primates they
are fast moving and elusive. Lope is located in the centre of Gabon and became the first protected area in Gabon in 1946. Although the terrain is
mostly rain forest, to the north the park contains the last remnants of grass savannas created in Central Africa during the last Ice Age. It has a
relatively dry climate compared to most other equatorial rain forests. Lopé National Park has several important primate species, especially Western
Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Mandrill and the endemic Sun-tailed Monkey, Forest Elephants, Sitatunga Antelope, Forest Buffalo and Red River Hog.
The Ogooué River flowing through the north of the park has always been a major trade route across Gabon. Despite the designation of the reserve, a
road was built in the 1960s through the northern edge of the park and the area was opened to forestry in the 1980s by railway. Villages spread through
the forests of the park at the turn of the century, but have gradually migrated north to benefit from the economic possibilities of the river, road,
The Lope Hotel is a tranquil place with its bungalows, private bathrooms and air-conditioning are surrounded by extensive lawns. The lodge overlooks
the Ogooué River which tumbles over a series of rapids. It is easily the nicest and best lodge in all of Gabon
ELARMEKORA: Ancient Petroglyphs in Lope: The Lopé area has been inhabited almost continuously as of 400,000 years ago. Artifacts of hunter-gatherer
settlements represent the oldest concentration of archaeological relics in west-central Africa. Between 2500 and 1400 BC, iron-working cultures burned
and felled the forest and carved some 1200 petroglyphs. “This forest was home to ancient hominid civilizations that lived here for perhaps hundreds
of thousands of years. Stone Age people cut down trees in the forest and developed complex communities. Then they died off, for unknown reasons, some
1,400 years ago.” The ancestors of today’s inhabitants arrived around 700 years ago. They cleared forest for plantations of fruits and manioc, as
villages still do today. Many rural villages have completely vanished, as Gabon’s population has urbanized in recent years. Today, the population
living around the park is around 3500 inhabitants, occupying six villages on the northern and eastern boundaries of the Lope National Park. No
villages existed within the park when it was created in 1946, but some Bongo ‘pygmy’ groups still hunt and gather in its south. It was the same in
the days of The Folk. The tribe of Kerchak by habit and chance always stopped east of the pygmy tribes hunting grounds and would swing back west again
to the coast and Petit Loango. Their only encounter with human beings was with Tarzans parents, Lord and Lady Greystoke in 1888 at the Cabin at Ndogo
The jouney through Lope was over much beautiful and exciting terrain. The countryside here is spectacular. There are mist-covered hills, rocky rapids
in the Ogooué River, large rolling savannahs and Jungle Forest was incredible.
This forest was home to ancient hominid civilizations that lived here for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. Stone Age people cut down trees in
the forest and developed complex communities. Then they died off, for unknown reasons, some 1,400 years ago.
The journey back to Petit Loango was 150 miles and over much beautiful and exciting terrain. This brought them back to Waka National Park by the
middle of January. Waka comprises a 1070 km² and is in mountainous Mitsogho country with the Deep Rift Valley over 100 km long in the block of age
and forest and only 50 miles east of low-paying National Park. This deep rift valley was the route home. The terrain was easy-going and the amount
of wildlife was numerous. Gorilla, Chimpanzees, Mandrill baboons, five species of monkeys, Forest Elephants rare Reed Buck, Sid Striped Jackal,
African wild dog, Sheeta, Numa and rare African Tigers who where the last in Africa.
The Mighty Cats of the Jungle always presented constant challenges to the Mangani. If you wanted to stay alive, and survive it took all of your
senses honed to a critical degree. The West African Lion was very rare, for they preferred the huge open savanna of East Africa to the rain forests.
It was true, there were Lions on the coast but the majority of the mighty cats there were Leopards. The Lion preferred the larger savanna’s further
in land in places like Waka and Lope. The existence of the West African Tiger was extremely limited in area and in population to the Waka National
Park. The interbreeding between the African Lion and the African Tiger, creating the monster Liger was a creature unlike any other the tribe had ever
seen. They were glad that this huge cat did not live in their local territory except the east end of Moukalaba DouDou, so they always walked with
extra caution through the Deep Rift Valley of the Liger.
Continuing east they entered the region of Moukalaba DouDou National Park and home territory. It was not much longer before they were home on the
shores of Petite Loango. They had walked 600 miles in 8 weeks, averaging about 10 miles a day. The two Megatreks, the Coastal 550 mile Megatrek of the
Summer Solstice and the Inland 600 mile Megatransect of the Winter Solstice were always something that helped to tie the year together as much as the
ritual of the Dum Dum tied the months together. Having been part of the ritual nomadic lifestyle of the tribe since antiquity the Megatreks although
mainly driven by the four weather patterns were also an integral part of the tribal society of The Folk. The monthly patterns of the rituals of the
full moon and the Dum Dum and the two yearly Megatreks were important events in the existence of the tribe and was the closest they ever came to
DUM – DUM The monthly ritual of the Full Moon. The Dum – Dum was always beaten by three senior female members of the tribe. It was an earthen dome
that was fashioned on Palm Leaves and there was a local Dum – Dum from antiquity for all their Nomadic Travels. The consistent weather patterns and
the cycle of the Full Moon were the one time pieces of The Folk when it concerned where they traveled and when and why. They also would hold a Dum –
Dum to celebrate the crowning of a new King or the kill of an enemy tribe member, a gorilla or a fierce jungle cat. The Males of the tribe would dance
around the earthen drum and the night would echo with the Howls and Victory Crys of the Giant Paranthropus. Modern day recordings of a Sasquatch howl
sound very similar to the Victory Cry of the Mangani. The large throat sac and the powerful diaphragm muscles created an eerie unhuman sound. The only
person able to reproduce it was Tarzan of the Mangani. Nothing like the famous recordings of Tarzan Movies.
DECEMBER TO JANURARY / (SDS) = CLEAR BLUE SKY VERY LITTLE RAINFALL – THE MEGATRANSECT. 100 MILES NORTH THEN 100 MILES EAST ON THE OGOOUE RIVER AND
100 MILES SOUTH DOWN THE NGOUNIE RIVER TO WAWA NATIONAL PARK AND EAST 50 MILES TO LOPE NATIONAL PARK AND 150 MILES BACK WEST TO PETIT LOANGO, FOR A
TOTAL OF 600 MILES IN 8 WEEKS – 10 MILES A DAY.
FEBURARY TO APRIL / (LWS) = HEAVY RAIN AND TORNADOS – LOANGO JUNGLE AND COASTLINE.
MAY TO SEPTEMBER / (LDS) = NO RAIN, OVERCAST AFTERNOONS – FROM MAY TO JUNE THE 250 MILE COASTLINE MEGATREK. FROM PETIT LOANGO 125 MILES NORTH TO
OGOOUE RIVER AND BACK. THEN SOUTH 150 MILES TO MAYUMBA AND BACK FOR A TOTAL OF 550 MILES – 10 MILES DAY.
THEN IN JULY EAST INLAND 100 MILES FROM PETIT LOANGO TO MOUKALABA DOU DOU FOR 3 MONTHS ON THE SAVANNAHS TILL THEY RETURN TO PETIT LOANGO IN
OCTOBER TO NOVEMBER / (SRS) = RAIN IN MORNING SUN IN AFTERNOON – PETIT LOANGO JUNGLE AND COASTLINE
Small dry season: Dec-Jan Clear blue sky, very little rainfall
Long wet season: Feb-April Heavy rainfall with "tornades", warm
Long dry season: May-Sept Covered sky, no rain, smooth mornings
Small raining season:Oct-Nov Heavy rainfall followed by sunshine