Puff adder Soyo

The most dangerous snake in Africa, Puff adder (Bitis arietans) here in defensive posture, can be found around the outskirts of Luanda in suitable habitat

Snakes in Angola.  The diversity of Angolan reptiles is poorly known. Due to the war and difficulty traveling in the country, very little research has been conducted here. There are no field guide books on reptiles specific to Angola; the count of Angolan species diversity remains unknown. But venomous snakes do exist. The Angola Field Group invites you to a presentation, Snakes in Angola and Africa, at the Viking Club, Thursday April 23rd at 7:45 PM with reptiles specialist Warren Klein who will talk about reptiles in general, venomous snakes of Angola and explain basic First Aid treatment of a snake bite.

​Presenter Warren Klein handling a large female python for data collection. The African python, (Python sebae) is the biggest/longest snake in Africa.

​Presenter Warren Klein handling a large female python for data collection. The African python, (Python sebae) is the biggest/longest snake in Africa.

Warren has been the head curator of herpetology at various reptiles parks in South Africa and since 2006 he has been working as the Wildlife Advisor and Reptile Specialist for the Angola LNG project in Soyo, focusing on the identification, safe capture and relocation of snakes and other wildlife. Warren maintains a large captive breeding group of snakes and other reptiles from all around the world at his breeding facility in South Africa.

​Venomous Black necked spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis) in Zaire province.

​Venomous Black necked spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis) in Angola’s Zaire province.

Everybody is welcome to attend. In close cooperation with the Viking Club, this event is offered free of charge. The talk will be in English. Beverages and snacks are sold at the Viking Bar which opens at 7:15 PM. Coupons must be purchased. You can download a map showing the location of the Viking Club on our Join Us page. The Viking Club is on the main floor of Edificio Maianga, Rua Marien Nguabi, No 118 in Maianga, across the street from the Panela de Barra restaurant.

For Sale: Pure raw honey from the Zambezi Valley in Moxico. Photo books, Natural Medicine books and other books about Angola also for sale.

​A Forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) found in residential area.

​A Forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) found in residential area in Angola.

​Warren Klein relocating a beautiful forest cobra specimen in Soyo.

​Warren Klein relocating a beautiful forest cobra specimen in Soyo, capital city of Zaire province.

Ivan is now a poor masculine figure, humble  and skinny, feeble and frightened, beaten.

Ivan is now a poor masculine figure, humble
and skinny, feeble and frightened, beaten.

Remarkably, out most popular character – crazy Ivan the Terrible resurfaced! Following an absence that lasted for more than six months we had lost hope to locate him alive and assumed he had probably been another casualty of poachers. Well, he is alive yes, but unfortunately…. he was caught in one of the many infamous snare traps that are constantly being mounted in the park and neighboring areas. He has become a shadow of the Ivan we knew, and if it wasn’t for the white ear tags and VHF collar I would find it hard to accept that he is the same individual… Our old Ivan, strong and proud, mighty and threatening, undefeated… is gone.
His left front leg carries a nasty ring-shaped scar, evidence of the cable snare that almost took his life. The incident must have happened many months ago and he must have gone through hell.

His left front leg carries a nasty ring-shaped scar, evidence of the cable snare that almost took his life. The incident must have happened many months ago and he must have gone through hell.

It is likely that the worst has passed and he will survive, but it is hard to predict if he will make a full recovery. This was yet another shocking proof that the poaching curse is far from resolved, even in Cangandala National Park. It is highly frustrating that in spite of all the effort put into the project by the various stakeholders and the very significant successes obtained over the past few years, still we don’t seem to be winning the war against poaching and the recovery and survival of this magnificent and iconic species hangs by a thread.
 
Visit our Giant Sable page to read biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Second Trimester 2014 Report with photos from Angola’s Cangandala Park, in English and Portuguese.
 

 

Valley of salt looks like snow.

Valley of salt looks like snow.

Back to the Salt Mines! Saturday and Sunday July 26 & 27, an overnight camping field trip to Ngunza, about 1 hour southwest of Muxima inside the greater Quicama National Park, to explore the ancient and historic salt mines of the Quicama tribe. In 2012 we had a field trip to re-discover the Salt Mines mentioned in historic documents as far back as 1593 (see last year’s post here). We found a large salina but didn’t have time to properly explore. We are now going back to spend more time hiking around the surrounding area.

Land of Baobobs, the Road to Quicama Park via Muxima.

Land of Baobobs, the Road to Quicama Park via Muxima.

Please note:
1. This trip requires several hours of hiking mostly on level ground.
2.  Participants must be self-sufficient in terms of camping.
3. A 4 wheel drive vehicle with high wheel base is required.
4. We will be camping in tall grass, capim, so take along a machete or shovel to level an area to set up your tent. This is the kind of grass that has burrs that attach to clothing.

Field group hiking to the salt flats in 2012. Potential salt domes loom in background

Field group hiking to the salt flats in 2012. Potential salt domes loom in background.

We will leave the city at 6:30 AM, drive via Catete and then right before Muxima we will head south west to Ngunza.  We will be accompanied by Angola Field Group member Serafim Quintino who is a native of Quicama.

Meeting point and further details will be provided once you are confirmed for the trip. As with all our field trips, there is limited space. Sign up at the Angola Field Group presentation on July 10 or by emailing: angolafieldgroup@gmail.com and state:    1)your cell phone number   2)names of all participants including drivers  3)whether you have room for passenger/s (keeping in mind space occupied by camping gear)    4)whether you are travelling from Luanda Sul or downtown Luanda. All Angola Field Group trips are at your own risk. There is a provincial border crossing so you must carry valid documents with you.

We will be camping in grass this high.

We will be camping in grass this high.

Kayaking the Kwanza River, Angola's longest river, which stretches for almost 1000 kilometers from Bie to the Atlantic. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Kayaking the Kwanza River, Angola’s longest river, which stretches for almost 1000 kilometers from Bie to the Atlantic. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Kayaking the Kwanza“, a recent three day adventure from Muxima to the Atlantic… The Angola Field Group invites you to drift down the Kwanza River, Angola’s biggest river, with ‘the kayak guys’. Take in their travelogue Thursday, July 10th at 7:45 PM at the Viking Club. They will offer kayaking tips for Angola and have on display one of their boats! (Please note our new starting time).

Water taxi, tranquilo. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Water taxi, tranquilo. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Baby alligator. Every year there are reports of humans, especially women and children, dragged into the river by alligators. Courtesy Christian Stolte.

Baby alligator. Every year there are reports of humans, especially women and children, dragged into the river by alligators. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Glistening waters of the Kwanza River hold many secrets. Queen Nzinga's sister was reputedly drowned in the river by the Portuguese for spying in the 1640's. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Glistening waters of the Kwanza River hold many secrets. Queen Nzinga’s sister was reputedly drowned in the river by the Portuguese for spying in the 1640’s. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

In addition, we will also be showing some clips of the historic and culturally rich Luandos region, south of the Kwanza River, home of the former Quicama warriors. Field Group members are invited to the annual Festas Populares dos Luandos , a time for those who left Luandos, to come back to the village and enjoy its traditions, September 12, 13, 14. Representative Serafim Quintino will be on hand to register people and answer questions.

Villagers welcoming visitors to the Luandos Festival.

Villagers welcoming visitors to the Luandos Festival. Photo courtesy http://kudisanza.wordpress.com

Everybody is welcome to attend. In close cooperation with the Viking Club, this event is offered free of charge. Beverages and snacks are sold, coupons must be purchased. The Viking Bar opens at 7:15 PM. The location is: main floor Edificio Maianga, Rua Marien Nguabi, No 118, Maianga, across from Panela de Barro restaurant. You can download a map showing the location of the Viking Club at angolafieldgroup.com/find-us

For Sale: Wild honey and artisanal peanut butter from the Mutti Farm in Moxico. Handwoven baskets from the Zambezi Women´s Cooperative. Natural medicine including Artemesia Tea from ANAMED in Bie. Books about Angola.

Area known as Luandos, located just outside the southeast zone of Quicama National Park.

Area known as Luandos, located just outside the southeast corner of Quicama National Park. Map courtesy http://kudisanza.wordpress.com – click map to enlarge.

Angola is one of the countries in Africa with the highest bird diversity – 938 native species – including a high number of endemic and threatened species. Despite its richness, Angola is still one of the least known countries for birds. This lack of knowledge is mainly a consequence of both the Portuguese Colonial war and the Angolan civil war which together lasted 41 years (1961–2002), halting scientific studies and expeditions.

Click here to read this recent paper on historical data on birds of Angola based on the Angolan ornithological collection held by the Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT) in Lisbon, Portugal.

Bird and nature conservation in Angola needs public input. The Angola Field Group invites you to a presentation at the Viking Club, Thursday May 1st at 7:30 PM with Conservation Biologist Michael Mills, the foremost expert on Angola´s birds. Michael will highlight the challenges and problems facing Angola´s birds/wildlife and discuss what the priorities are for a Bird Conservation NGO. (Please note, due to the holiday the presentation will kick off half an hour earlier than usual.)

Michael Mills has been working in Angola for more than 10 years. His work has included improving knowledge of birds and their habitats and running practical, community-based conservation at Mount Moco in Huambo province, central Angola (www.mountmoco.org). He has led outings for and delivered talks to the Angola Field Group. Currently his work represents the BirdLife network in Angola,  (www.birdsangola.org) and now he and a group of concerned individuals are seeking the formalisation of an Angolan NGO to take forward and expand on this work.

Everybody is welcome to attend. The talk will be in English. In close cooperation with the Viking Club, this event is offered free of charge. Beverages and snacks are sold at the bar, coupons must be purchased. The Viking Bar opens at 7:00 PM! You can download a map showing the location of the Viking Club on this website’s Join Us page. The Viking Club is on the main floor of the former Swedish Building at Rua Marien N”Guabi, No 118 in Maianga, across the street from the new Panela de Barra restaurant.

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Shore birds on Musssulo Bay.

Shore birds at Mussulo Bay. Photos courtesy Michael Mills.

UPDATE: This field trip is now full. Calling all birdwatchers! Did you know that we have an internationally recognised ‘Important Bird Area’ right in our back yard?  Mussulo Bay, just south of Luanda, is significant due to being a vital feeding site for large numbers of waterbirds including birds migrating south from the Arctic.

Angola Field Group members are invited to join the foremost expert on birds in Angola, conservation biologist Michael Mills, in a morning of bird watching in the Saco dos Flamingos area of Mussulo Bay on Thursday, May 1st (public holiday). We will meet at 7:00 AM at the new big fuel station (it’s either a Pumangol or Sonangol, we’re not sure which one it is?) on the southern outskirts of Ramiros, on the right hand side of the main road. Take along binoculars, telescopes and your bird book.

 Important, there is a limit to the number of participants that can join this excursion. You must book your spot –  please email Michael: birdsangola@gmail.com  

For any trips outside of Luanda, you must have valid passport with you and car documents. All Angola Field Group trips are at your own risk.

Common Redshank.

Common Redshank at Mussulo Bay.