Uganda 10th Feb: Chimpanzees and a Boat Trip

This country has delivered yet another extraordinary day. We started nice and early, as we were off to try and find a group of Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge, below.

It was a very different experience to the gorilla trek. As the chimps move so fast through the forest. As a result, it’s impossible to keep up with them and you only have a 50/0 chance of seeing them. We were dashing around all over the place, stopping suddenly and turning back on ourselves, then rushing back to the main trail, almost running along it to get back to the bridge, so you could cross the river. All in all, a lot harder work!

I have to admit I had already given up as the forest was just so quiet, there was no sign of them at all. Until a huge racket broke out ahead of us. We’d been asked to wait, whilst our guide went ahead and apparently he’d walked straight into the group who were all on the ground, so they all fled into the canopy calling all the way.

Luckily they weren’t scared off completely and we were able to spend a long time (probably about an hour or so) with them.

The feeling we got from the gorillas was of gentle giants. You had no doubt about the sheer power of them (it was really quite intimidating) but you felt there was no chance (unless you did something extremely silly!) they would harm you in the slightest. The chimps howerever were all about relaxed nervous energy. Once we were with them, they called to each other regularly, a quite extraordinay sound, and they would appear to be extremely relaxed, grooming each other and then they could either slowly move off ambling down a track, or suddenly burst into action and dissapear from view in about 2 seconds.

It turned out to be yet another exceptional experience. As for the art, there are at least 3 pieces I’m thinking about, but I’ll come on to those in a later post.

Later on, we went on a boat trip along the nile to see the animals that were taking in the cool water during the heat of the day. We saw huge numbers of pied kingfishers.

Hippo, buffalo, who knows how many species of bird, and many other things.

The thing that made the biggest impression on us though, were the elephants. There really were huge numbers of them across many herds and it was the sence of community that came across more than anything else. The lone, huge bull elephant, has a power unlike anything else and I’m sure I will do a piece trying to capture this.

I will also have to do a piece showing this community. They are always gently touching each other, rummbling away to one another and generally hanging out spending time together. It really was a joy to watch and without any doubt very inspiring!

This is a bit of an issue, I think I’ve decided on the work I’m going to do, only to have things change as more wonders are openned up to us. Therefore, I’m now resigned to the fact I cannot make any final decisions until this extraordinary trip is over. We are spending a couple of days in Entebbe at the end of the trip, so I think that’s going to have to be when all the decisions will get made.

Thanks once again for reading all the way to the end and all the best.

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