The Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to one of our closest relatives, the chimpanzee. I decided to sign up for the chimpanzee trek; however to be honest I wasn’t that fussed about seeing the chimps, but I thought it would be a good to stretch my legs and to try out my walking gear in preparation for the gorilla trek.
I looked the part for my jungle adventure. Uganda has a big problem with Malaria, so as well as taking tablets every morning, I wanted to be well prepared against any nasties fancying me for dinner. So, I wore my sturdy walking boots; I was very pleased to hear there were no leeches, but I still pulled my socks over my trousers to help protect myself from the ants; long trousers and long sleeved shirt, both soaked in permethrin (insect repellent); and finished off with stylish insect repellent bangles.
I have loved the rainforest since studying geography as a little girl. I love the thousands of lushest green plants and trees, soaring so high. I love the sound of the thousands of insects singing away. I love the fresh smell of the plants. I just love it, the rainforest is a magical place. It was wonderful to be back
It was a pleasant trek to the see the chimpanzee. It was early morning, so under the rainforest canopy it was a nice temperature and slightly humid. The path was muddy and slippy in parts, but it was much easier going than I expected. It amused me that both our guide and tracker were both wearing gum boots (wellies to us Brits). Even though I had good grippy boots and a walking stick, I slipped in parts, it would have been completely impossible in gumboots.
Before we knew it we were directly below a group of female chimps. They were very high up in the trees, so they were difficult to see. The best shot I got was of a chimpanzee bum – doh!!! We were welcomed with three lovely showers of urine, as they tried to shoo us away. Luckily, the downpour missed us. We were probably with the group for about 15 minutes before moving on.
Our next encounter with the chimpanzees was a lot more intimate. It was a mother and baby chimp; and they were much lower in the rainforest canopy. It was wonderful watching them eating berries and the baby was just so cute. The next 20 minutes were just spent gazing up; it was so beautiful. They seemed very quiet and reserved creatures, not vicious, which was my preconceived notion. The experience changed my mind about chimps and I am so glad I did the trek.
The remainder of trek was enjoyable. We got some lovely views across the top of the rainforest canopy, before hitting the road where we were picked up in a jeep to take us back to our Hippo Camp.