Sunday 10 November 2019
Up before sunrise. Breakfast at 6am, still in the dark. And we left at 6.30am, just as it was getting light.
We had a 90 minute drive to get to kibale national park. Being a Sunday, lots of villagers were heading off to their 7am church service.
This rainforest park is spread over nearly 800 square kilometres and home to 13 species of primate. We were here, ready for an 8am briefing to go chimpanzee tracking!
We were split into groups of 6 people. And given an armed guide. Then headed off into the jungle.
We walked for nearly 2 hours. Going to the places that the chimpanzees were found yesterday. Wading through forest, completely not on a path. But found nothing.
Until we arrived at a more sparse area, pretty near the road, where everyone else had already been (without the long walk!).
The chimpanzees were high up in the trees, eating fruit. There were around 8 of them, but hard to see as they were so high up.
We stayed for around an hour – which is the maximum time allowed – surrounded by a carpet of butterflies on the forest floor.
But as we headed back to the road, we heard really loud continuous screeching. More chimpanzees. This time on the ground! So close to us (we were supposed to maintain a distance of 8m, but the guides seemed to be taking us closer than that). The chimpanzees didn’t even notice we were there. They just carried on cleaning each other. So cool.
We then drove to the local village, where we visited a house of a Bigodi community family. We had lunch with them – they had cooked local food, all vegan and was all so delicious. Local food is very simple, lots of vegetables, but really tasty.
Then we headed off to the Bigodi swamp. This is a protected area, filled with wildlife. Lots of birds and monkeys.
They gave us wellies to wear (it was muddy) and we had a guide to take us around in a loop around the swamp, looking for animals.
It was a 2.5 hour walk. And we saw so much. 5 different species of monkey – black and white corobus monkey, red corobus monkey, baboon, red tailed monkey and l’hoest monkey which is apparently very rare to see. It was really cool.
Then the 90 minute drive back to the farm. Through villages and pretty farmland. Back to our tents!