Travels

Queen Elisabeth National Park

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We share a common ancestor with them. It was 7 million years ago when human beings and chimpanzees decided to take different directions although even today the similarities are amazing. Even a recent study compared 14,000 genes of both and the surprise was that it was the chimpanzee genes that had evolved the most. It does not surprise us, sometimes it seems that man devolves, destroys, ... Today we will reach the Queen Elisabeth National Park, one of the most important parks in all of Africa as far as birds are concerned.

We have had to get up early. Kibale Forest It is a lovely park full of lakes, swamps and grasslands. It seems to be taken from one of those adventure movies of lost explorers in the jungle. Almost 80% of the park is covered by evergreen forest. But Kibale Forest is mostly famous for being the rainforest that contains the most concentration of primates in the world, from guerezas, olive papions, gray cheek mangabeys, pothos, Demidoff greyhounds and red-tailed cercopitecs. Do they sound to you? To us not until today. But what we were really looking for is one of the possibilities offered by the forest, the tracking of one of the world's dying species and most loved by many, chimpanzees (here live about 500 copies)

Juve and Paula have not slept too much for the continuous animal noises from the vast forest that surrounds us, even trying to enter the rooms torn the door. In Juve and Ruth's room they have entered, we believe that mice, and have eaten some food that was left on the table the day before. Isaac and Paula have woken up surprised by the scandal that was heard that have turned out to be red-tailed monkeys uploaded to nearby trees. Being in the middle of nature this is the most normal thing that can happen to one. The rooms are very integrated in the middle. We would have to stay at least a week to enjoy it in its splendor. Of course, some basic amenities have made Paula look for the shelter of the cabin with hot water for her morning shower. It seems to Isaac that the cold shower for "Portuguese washing" has arrived. The boiler here is heated with firewood and that day they forgot to turn it on.

Another little animal that says good morning is a fist-sized spider, of course, we dedicate to Feli who would have loved it.



Before starting with the route through the forest, we fill in the documentation that they require and give us some advice for the march such as not smoking, taking care of the ants, not talking loudly, trying to go in an Indian line, turn off the mobile phones and stay in a group. In our adventure today Ronald accompanies us who will be our tracker, an Italian couple and an armed Ranger that would be responsible for trying to scare away the elephants if they appeared in our way (and it seems that they can hit some good scare)



The ficus forest is so dense that we can barely see beyond 20 meters and the fog with which we left at the beginning of the day even gives it a magical touch. At every step we take we are surprised by the huge trees covered with moss, twisted vines, and the lush vegetation that makes the road a bit arduous, yet we feel immersed in a jungle typical of a Tarzan story.




As we move forward we pay more attention to the treetops trying to see some recognized figure, far away from the forest there are noises of what could be several angry chimpanzees. Suddenly a shadow passes quickly on our path. Roland turns his head and goes back through the steps already taken. We have been almost 40 minutes on the road.

Almost by intuition, the first clearly defined silhouette appears in the treetop. !! It is the first Chimpance !!



A body covered with straight hair, color pulling black, not too much hair, and with that peculiar snout, you can see up there that you almost have to leave your neck to see it



Our eyes hardly see chimpanzees that they enjoy their breakfast perched on the glasses of trees but still every time we are able to distinguish them or perceive movements up there. Our heart speeds up and we feel an indescribable emotion.


Suddenly Ronald receives a radio call and it tells us that we have to move to another area, where it seems that they have seen chimpanzees eating at ground level, so we immediately start up through the jungle rapids like arrows. It is incredible how these people are able to orient themselves since each tree, which would seem to us exactly the same as the previous one, serves as a signal to recognize the roads.



We arrived at an area where we found another group gathered looking up. We tried in silence to distinguish something among the weeds, and suddenly, a few meters away we see a chimpance clinging to a tree trunk who looks at us and shrieks as if protesting to interrupt his family's breakfast. In a matter of seconds you get lost on high. We looked for the right position to finally distinguish three or four family members, and we even managed to take some more decent photo, although this is frankly difficult because of the high they are and the lush vegetation, say that about 100 few photos we managed to save ...



The chimps are an endangered species and in Uganda there are almost 5000, but the most incredible of all is that they have a behavior and a social life not so different from that of the human being, meeting in larger groups when they want to play, although Without fixed housing.

Possibly this treking, That lasted almost !! 4 hours !!, is not the clearest way to see them, but of course it is the most rewarding, virgin and authentic experience we have had in the countryside, far from other sweetened scenarios. And of course, the most important thing is that what seemed impossible ... !! We have achieved it !! and it is not an easy task since there were groups that came with us that failed to see them. Thanks also to our ranger who we thought was throwing breadcrumbs like Thumbelina to know how to get out of that immensity that is the jungle of Kibale and thanks also to "our vigilante" who with rifle in hand was protecting the group



As if nature also knew our outcome, after a night of heavy rain and a first hour of "chimpanzees in the fog", the sky has opened completely and it shows us a sun going through the few spaces left by the glasses.

And if that were not enough to know Kibale as the world of "primates" (with more than 12 species of monkeys as we said yesterday), what is a true spectacle is to see dozens, we would even dare to say that hundreds of butterflies hovering around us. They are scenes for that great bottle of memories that we take. They even seem to follow us, accompanying us with their multiple colors (blue, green, red, white - they could not miss-) and drawings (of stripes, stripes, pictures, dots) on our trip. Why will it be? We do know.




We leave the Primate Lodge, after eating (drinks 5500 UGX) and doing the checkout (5000 UGX), an experience that we would always recommend, and We continue on our route to the south of the country.

What we can never stop talking about is its people, its children, its "How are you? How areeee youuu?" excited, of the way of life that they have lived, as for a simple candy they give you the best of their smiles, and there is Juve to receive them, giving candies to all who can, and Paula delivering a shirt to a mother in a gesture that excites both. They are cute scenes, much more than any animal we can contemplate in this world and from which we have much to learn.



On our way we keep seeing the landscape of which Uganda is composed, one of the most beautiful we have seen on any trip, immense new plantations of bananas or other crops or hidden lakes (more than 30 small lakes) that make this country a place with which to exhaust qualifications


Yesterday we talked about Ankole cows, from the ancient kingdom of Ankole. Today we have stopped to see them. They are really scary and, although they are tame, some have certainly been challenging. Those horns have nothing to envy those of some Big Five



As we did in Kenya, this time also from North to South, we stop again in Ecuador. Here in Uganda there is no one to explain the Coriolis effect or take out any hamlet to explain some other crazy Italian scientist. A sign indicates that step and a photo also remains for the memory. Juve, Isaac ... you have learned a lot from those chimps, right? Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii



Without arriving at 2 and a half hours, let's rush to the next stop. We are entering Queen Elizabeth N.P., at the base of the huge mountains of Rwenzori (the third highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya), adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. Although we will travel tomorrow, this time we receive a curious bird hammer and a challenging buffalo away from any pack.



Our destiny is in a small peninsula at the point where the Kazinga Channel that joins the previous lakes, merges with Lake Eduard, in one of the coolest lodges we have found (we are giving a lime and a sand in accommodation, today we have to wash something). In addition, today we are going to hit a small whim, since there is a small Spa. Quick Fix Massage (or also called TORTURE MASSAGE for USD 25 per person ... next time an aromatic one, please)


Although our rooms have a terrace, any point of the hotel is a luxury to observe magnificent views of the canal, the hippopotamus, crocodiles, elephants or buffalo on the other shore, or listen to the sounds that nature gives us, always accompanied by a diversity of UNFINISHED birds and even some other cute little animal



While the girls finish their "torture" session, Juve and Isaac hit a bath. The pool is not only appealing, it also allows you to enjoy the panorama


The night begins to fall and with it the mosquitoes appear (the place where we have found the most, there are real battalions), although here we have found a particular ally, or rather several. !! They are bats !! And good smacks are stuck against glass and walls by eating them. While we have just had dinner (6750 UGX per couple drinks)

But the adventures do not end here, tomorrow there will be many more ... have we told you about the elephant that ran after us until it hunted us? What are we writing like? This ... ahem ... better see it yourself, hahaha



Anyway, those for Fito, hahaha. A big hug to everyone, from one of the most beautiful places of the whole trip. And as always, we are !! FROM 10 !!


Juve, Ruth, Paula and Isaac, from Queen Elizabeth N.P. (Uganda)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 50 USD (approx 35.71 EUR) and 17,250 UGX (approx 4.46 EUR)

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