Kibale, Semiliki and Budongo forests

25-30 July 2018

 

These three primary forests are very different from each other, but have one thing in common : the three of them host our closest relatives, the Chimpanzees. Yes, we may well know that our respective genetic heritage is more than 98% identical, having the opportunity of observing them radically transformed us. The emotion was even more intense than we could imagine! One of the most extraordinary experiences that we have lived.

 

As with Gorillas, some groups of Chimpanzees are used to humans and if the rangers find them, they let themselves be approached by Homo sapiens !

Their daily trips to search for food are often made over long distances and it is not always easy for rangers to track them. We went on two outings to look for them : the one in Kibale was a great success. We very quickly came across a group and we were able to witness different fascinating behaviours : grooming session, meals, plays, baby training, etc…

We also were lucky to see one by chance at the bend of a track.

 

A special aknowledgement to Semiliki forest, where animal and plant species are still regularly discovered. Many rare birds species have only been seen here across the country. It is remote, there is no lodge, very few tourists, a kind of end of the world as we like them! The only accomodation option is the rustic but welcoming ranger camp wonderfully located in the middle of the forest. One oft the ranger named Justice is passionate about butterflies, which he has studied for many years. Given their incredible diversity in Uganda, its life will probably be too short to make an exhaustive inventory. A favourite meeting.

In the Budongo Forest Reserve (attached to Murchison Falls National Park), the unmissible birds hotspot is the Royal Mile. This legendary trail is always full of birds, from the most common to the rares ones. We won’t list them (see our species list), but here are some tips before you get there: get there early in the morning, arm yourself with a telescope to observe the canopy which is very high and walk there slowly… Lots of Surprises are waiting for you!

 

 The other regions visited:

 

- Mabamba Swamp and Lake Mburo

 

- Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga National Park  (Virungas volcanic chain )

 

- Ishasha and Queen Elizabeth NP

 

- Murchison Falls National Park

 

- Kidepo Valley

 

- Pian Upe reserve and Mont Elgon National Park