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Sangeeta: You know how it goes – the very day after you learn a new word (like risible), you spot it immediately in the next thing you read. Or if you’ve just discovered that you’re allergic to peanuts, then all of a sudden you find yourself surrounded by people who are also allergic to peanuts? Guassa was something like that for us. The very day after Kit and I came back from our visit to this little-known home of the gelada monkeys in Ethiopia, National Geographic published a full-blown article on Menz-Guassa… http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/gelada-monkeys-grass-eating-guassa-ethiopia-bleeding-heart/ Where had they been when we were researching our trip? Kit & I had had been looking for a short add-on to our trip to Zakouma. Since we were both flying Ethiopian Airways, it was logical to look for something in Ethiopia. But since we only had 4 nights on the ground, we decided that Bale was too far (although we both wanted to see wolves) and getting to the Simiens was just too complicated (the flights and transfers would have eaten up a substantial chunk of our time). Guassa, as it turned out, was our Goldilocks destination. Not too far, not too complicated and with at least a theoretical chance at seeing both wolves and geladas. And so, Guassa it would be. A quick look back at ST shows that none other than @GameWarden talked about Guassa on ST as early as 2012: http://safaritalk.net/topic/9346-guassa-community-conservation-area-two-ethiopian-wolf-pups/ even though nobody seems to have visited at the time. @TomKellie then linked through to some interesting papers here http://safaritalk.net/topic/14587-ethiopian-wolf-and-gelada-interaction-to-increase-foraging-success/ which resulted in an animated discussion on ST as well as an attempt by @@SafariChick to visit Guassa on her recent trip to Ethiopia (though sadly, that did not work out due to time constraints). Then in May 2016, new member @@Alyson described her trip to Guassa here: http://safaritalk.net/topic/16340-hi-from-new-zealand/ I mention all these antecedents simply to reinforce what a wonderful learning tool this community can be because of the generosity of those who have shared their knowledge so freely on this forum. I also want to add that although we may get a certain secret thrill about being one of the ‘first’ to do something or go to a place that is relatively unknown, we’re all really walking in the footsteps of those who have gone there before us. The beauty of exploring new and remote places lies in the privilege we have of talking about our experiences with others who share the passion. Planning @@SafariChick’s aborted trip to Guassa helped me learn about the logistics involved. So I knew it would be a 5-6 hour road trip to Guassa, that we would stay at Frankfurt Zoological Society’s rustic self-catering lodge there, that it would be rather cold & breathlessness-inducing at an altitude of more than 3000m, and that with some luck, we would we would see both geladas and wolves there. Neither Kit nor I wanted to spend any time in the kitchen, so we took a chef with us. Turned out to be the best decision we could have made. Addis, our chef, whipped up a staggering variety of delicious meals for us day after day, and we got out of Guassa with no tales of upset tummies at all.
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