Going to the jungle of Central Africa
Once again, the landscape changes dramatically from the flat steppe of the East African savannah to the jungle of Central Africa. There is one reason above all that brings the adventurers, nature and wildlife lovers to this national park, the encounter with our most conspecific creature on this planet, the chimpanzee. Uganda is most famous for its gorilla tracking tours. The mountain gorilla can only be seen in three countries in the world and most of these rare creatures exist in the mountain landscapes of Uganda. But even though the gorilla is so much more imposing in appearance, so much more dangerous in physical presence and so much rarer, the experience of encountering a herd of chimpanzees is no less spectacular. This is a lesson that should be in store for us these days.
Visiting Primate Lodge
At Primate Lodge you are already in the middle of the dense forest and jungle and only small narrow paths through the greenery lead you from bungalow to bungalow and the main building and restaurant. From time to time, the numerous herds of chimpanzees pass through here and thus one of the most fascinating wildlife experiences starts right at the front door. Usually, however, you must sign up for a tracking tour, where you will be informed about the rules of the game and the presence of the national park. Especially in this day and age, it is very important to consider the sustainable aspect of one's actions and presence as a traveller. Here one is educated that the national park and the rules and the earnings from the entrance fees are primarily used to protect the species, which are always the absolute priority. Responsible and respectful behaviour is obligatory here. Then it's off and you follow an assigned guide deep into the jungle, depending on where the chimpanzee herd has been located that day. So the "walk" can be extended from a few minutes to a whole hour if there are no groups nearby and depending on how quickly they move on. We were lucky and found them after about half an hour.
Primates, primates everywhere!
The encounter had already been announced to us by loud shouting, but to actually see one of these likenesses in front of you puts you into an undreamt-of fascination. Before you know it, you are already in the midst of them. We all expected to observe the animals at a respectful distance, driven by the idea of not seeing these creatures penned up in a part of the world where they do not belong, but being guests at their home. Without borders. However, that we would soon be surrounded by them, that they would be behind us, in front of us, next to us and even above us, in groups and families of 50-100 individuals, was completely surprising for us. We enjoyed this special kind of encounter for as long as we could, which is usually only 60 minutes, a limit that also contributes to species conservation. We enjoyed the euphoria of this bucket list highlight with a drink in the evening at Elephants Hill Lodge.
Watch our Story highlights from Kibale Nationalpark