The Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking is in the far west of Uganda, close to the Congo border. Options do exist on how to get there, including an air-transfer towards the Bwindi National Park region, or to travel by road. The road transfer does allow seeing the country at its best, traversing the ever changing rolling country landscape, seeing the many villages and tea and coffee plantations along the way, to give a great insight into the way of life of the Ugandan community. The journey itself is only 320km long from Entebbe to Fort Portal, however, this did take 6 hours because of the amount of villages that are needed to travel through, and what seemed to be endless procession of speed humps in every village.
Fort Portal is the biggest city after leaving Entebbe, nestled in the mountains and is the closest to the Kibale Forest, one of the many wilderness areas where the Chimpanzees are found in their natural habitat. The region does boast a fascinating landscape, with several lodges in the wider region nestled on the top of hills or surrounding lakes to offer breathtaking views before and after trekking.
Our lodge for our two night stay was at the very scenic Ndali Lodge. Perched on the edge of an extinct volcano and overlooking Lake Nyinambuga, this 8 room lodge offers all facilities in a very relaxed setting. It is possible to walk around the lake un-guided, as no predators exist in the region. This is a perfect activity to explore the surrounds, and also enjoy bird-watching, which is a very popular activity at the lodge.
Being in November, it is one of the times of year that heavy rain is predicted, and the following morning’s drive to the Chimpanzee Trek in the Kibale Forest was evident of the rain due to the amount of muddy conditions and bogged vehicles that we saw during the drive. As we continued, we spiralled further and further down into the forest to the main entrance and meeting point. Here we were given our orientation and introduced to our guide. It is at this point where we are instructed to ensure that we have all the required attire on and plenty of water and energy foods for our trek for the search of the Chimps.
The forest itself was quite flat, extremely green with high tree formations, which the Chimps love to swing to and from. We are told of the 90% success rate of seeing the Chimps in the wild. Groups sizes are up to 8, with a guide and split up into different tracks throughout the Forest so that multiple eyes are on past tracks and listening for the sounds of the Chimps, as they are quite loud.
Our trek began with our guide and we started our walk through the forest, keeping quiet and walking in single file. We stopped several times during the morning listening to sounds of the forest and looking at tracks on the ground. Walking through mud and crossing little waterways was all a part of the morning’s experience. It didn’t really seem like it at this point that we had done 7km’s so far with no sign of the Chimps. Other groups also had no luck finding the Chimpanzees. Towards the end of the morning we were looking at being in the 10% category, of no success seeing them, but just as we were about to give up, we were given radio communication that a very large congregation of Chimpanzees had been seen, so we made our way further into the forest where we finally found them. All of the other groups were now all together which at times made it quite congested as the Chimps were moving through the forest quite fast, making it hard to keep up with them. The experience though to be amongst the Chimps was amazing, hearing them screeching as they swung between the trees, making their way through the forest. Their screeching calls could still be heard for as we made our way back to the main headquarters.
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Tour Date: November 2015