From Ndali we headed to Chibale Forest National Park for our first chimp trekking experience, about an hour’s drive. The temperature was mild and we were fortunate to have some nice cloud coverage. Once we arrived inside the park we got to meet some of the guides and received a preparatory talk about what to expect. For example, there are ants in the forest and it is highly recommended that you roll you socks over your pants so they don’t sneak in and bite you while you stand and look over the chimps. There were two groups of 6, each having one guide and any number of porters to carry your gear (highly recommended since you need to bring your own water). The forest itself was very thick but the paths were well defined and the terrain was quite flat and easy. Almost immediately our guide spotted a mother with a baby far up high. They had been feeding on the fig tree we were under but the fruit was not quite ripe. They were difficult to spot at that height due to the dense foliage and after a few minutes we decided to move on. The guide knew the location of other fig trees so we traveled to the edge of the forest to see if we couldn’t find a larger troupe. No luck there but we had been radioed by the other group that they had spotted some chimps a short distance away. Since the sun had not really come out during the day the chimps were inclined to stay in the trees where it was cool. This made it difficult to get great views but with some patience Jason managed to get some great photos regardless. Overall Chibale was very nice and the success rate for spotting chimps is quite high. You are only allowed one hour with the chimps and it goes by fast. In order to habituate them park rangers had to spend approximately 10 years following them through the forest.
Here you can see the density of most of the forest, although there were walking paths similar to this road, allowing us access.
Here is one of the old chimps with a quite young one. Once again you can see the density; Jason had to peek through multiple other trees to get a somewhat clear shot.
This is probably the clearest shot Jason got of the chimps at Chibale
Unfortunately for us we did not have time to rest and wash up after this and had to start the drive to Ishasha following the trek. In a normal itinerary this would not be the case but we needed to see as much as we could in as short a time as possible. The drive took a solid 5 hours. There were great amounts of butterflies on one stretch of road.
We arrived at Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park and instead of heading straight to camp we decided to go on a quick game drive before sunset. We popped open the roof of the Land Rover and headed back out. In about an hour we got to see some large herds of Topi and Cob.
A Cob and her fawn.
This Topi was grazing as we passed by.
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