Our guide Enock, picked us up form the hotel in Entebbe at 8am. We drove form Entebbe to Kampala and then to Kibale forest. A long drive, but quite nice as we got the opportunity to see the countryside of Uganda. We arrived in the afternoon in Ndali Lodge, a very beautiful settlement next to a crater lake. The owner, is a a third generation Brit with great taste that shows all around the lodge. We enjoyed a really great 3-dish dinner under the candle light in hte lodge’s dining room, served by the excellent staff.
We woke up at 4am as we had to reach the Kibale forest National Park before dawn in order to track the chimps. We drove for about 40 minutes to the the rangers lodge to meet our guides. We would spend the full day tracking a chimp group, being part of a habituation project. This particular group is used to local humans but not to white people and they are habituating then to the presence of white bi-pods. After 30 minutes trekking we found the first one, high on the trees, eating his breakfast. The chimps sleep on the trees and start and end their day there, coming down only during mid day.
The trekking, in a group of 8, was very difficult because of the dense vegetation. It did not help that I was carrying the camera with the 100-400 and a full bag. They move very fast and it is extremely challenging to keep up with them. Only the males came down, the females and the babies did not feel safe with the humans and stayed the whole time on the trees.
The closest encounter was with Efizu, a lonely teenager. The guide told us that he was too cute and the older males always pushed him away from the females to avoid copulation.
We consumed our lunch boxes close to the chimps and then decided to call it a day as we were quite tired. Great experience, although we did not get to come really close with more chimps and we did not see any babys.
Next: The Gorilla Experience