Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Forest
August 19-20, 2010
Traveling from Murchison Falls to Kibale forest requires almost one full day, because of the bad roads. The Kibale forest national park in Uganda, is an excellent place to see the chimpanzee in its natural habitat and we are lucky enough to meet many of them, just after a few minutes trek in the rainforest. We overnight near Kibale inside a fantastic resort build along an ancient volcano crater containing a blue lake inside.
Our safari to Uganda continues traveling from Murchison Falls to Kibale, a trip requiring almost a full day drive over bumpy and dusty roads for most of the time. The road goes along the Rift Valley border, but unfortunately the haze doesn't let to see the Albert lake, just 10 kilometers away, where the border line between Uganda and Congo is located also. Albert lake is very important because of the fishing resource and, just recently, oil has been discovered and refineries are about to be completed.
Along the road we can see extended tea plantations. Tea cultivation is an important resource for Uganda, for either internal use and for massive exportation.
On late afternoon we get into the Nyinabultwa resort, a luxury accommodation built along an ancient volcanic caldera now partly filled by a lake. The resort is located close to Kibale forest national park and is the ideal base for chimpanzee trekking and other interesting excursions.
The Nyinabultwa resort is immersed into a lush nature and from the bungalows there is a beautiful view onto a lake filling an ancient volcano crater.
We see many Agama lizards (known also as Rainbow lizard).
The next morning we join a small group and, together with a local guide, we enter the Kibale forest national park, in the middle of the rainforest, searching for chimpanzee.The Chimpanzee trek may vary in length depending on where the animals are actually located and can be either a short hike or a strenuous trek in dense vegetation, as the chimpanzees move quickly in the forest searching for their preferred food.
We are actually very lucky and after just 10 minutes of easy hike, our national park guide begins to hear the typical noises made by the chimpanzee while jumping from tree to tree.
Figs are one of the preferred food of the Chimpanzee and they may climb the trees for several dozens of meters in order to get them.
In fact, we look up and soon we see a Chimpanzee eating figs.
One of the first thing that we learn, is to not stay below the trees when a Chimpanzee needs a toilet...
We continue to track the Chimpanzee for about one and an half hour, looking them while they eat, run and jump over the trees. Staying longer time with the chimpanzee is not allowed by the national park authorities, to prevent disturbing these animals too much.During our Chimpanzee trek we have been very lucky to meet them so quickly, but it's best to not take this positive experience as the normal rule, because sometimes several hours of trekking in the forest are necessary before starting to locate them.Taking chimpanzee pictures is challenging because of the distance and the light's conditions (as they normally stay on the top of the taller trees, they are usually very back-lighted and is strictly forbidden to use the flash)
But today we are particularly lucky, also because one chimpanzee comes down from the trees with her baby, coming very close to the group.
More chimpanzee pictures: a mum with her beautiful baby.