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Day 8 (Tuesday, 3rd March)

     Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest

Chimp HQ Chimp trek Chimp trek

The best day was arguably left until the last. While the swamp walk the previous evening was good, this area is famous for its population of Chimpanzees. Over 1000 are reputed to live in the forest, with 3 families being habituated, 2 of these for study purposes, and the third for tourists. That is where we come in, collecting at the forest reception at 8am for the briefing, and then being allocated to a guide with only two other intrepid explorers in our particular group. The other group was led straight from the reception into the forest, but we were driven to another part to increase the chances of finding the Chimps. The forest here is much flatter than Bwindi for the Gorillas, so it is time rather than elevation that would provoke tiredness. And this seemed to threaten. We had been going some time without a sniff of the quarry, and the 85% success rate seemed to turn round to focus on the 15% failure rate. Even the guide reported that the other group were also struggling. By the time we came across them, all we had to show was a Golden-winged Sunbird and Crested Francolin - birds were also hard to come across!

However, after we sat for a rest here, the guides came back with the good news that a Chimp was close by, although when we got there it was tightly curled in a newly made nest. We camped out hopefully underneath this for some time, trying to decide whether views of an outstretched arm and hand counted for a tick, when another appeared in the canopy. Decent views this time, and the first individual also raised itself from its slumbers. Even better news was that another guide had found the main family, so we were frog marched back to the van at reception, and dropped off just a little further up than the ealier disembarkation. We expected to optimistically see Chimps in better numbers, but perhaps still in the trees. Wrong! The first 2 were sat on the ground grooming each other, and as time went on, we came across more again on the ground. They were totally oblivious to our (close) presence, and were either flat out resting, or eyeing each other up. 2 youngster topped the bill playing with each other and their mothers.  We were allowed the regulation one hour drinking in this wonderful entertainment, before having to return to the vehicles.

Golden-winged Sunbird Chimp Chimp
Golden-winged Sunbird    
Chimp Chimp

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