Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Have Orthotics Will Track...12 Assorted Primate Treks in a 3 Week Safari

Have Orthotics Will Track...12 Assorted Primate Treks in a 3 Week Safari

Reply

Sep 5th, 2009, 01:08 PM
  #21
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
BUTARE
Kigali to the National Museum in Butare = 2.25 hours. This is a good attraction to visit early in the trip because the guides in Nyungwe and PNV made frequent reference to artifacts from the museum. It was nice to be able to remark, “Oh yes, I saw that,” or inquire further about the displays.

Docents are sometimes available but none were around for my museum visit so I toured on my own, which worked fine. English translations were always provided.

There was a big screen TV that showed musicians and a dance troop performing very impressive traditional dancing and drumming. I asked about seeing one of those performances live and learned they can be scheduled at the museum in advance for a cost, usually for a group of visitors. Later in my visit I’d be in luck and get to see a drumming and dancing performance similar to the one at the museum.

From the museum we went to lunch a couple of minutes away at the Ibis Hotel. The eggplant, cheese, and tomato dish was a standout.

Then it was about a half hour drive to a memorial that I’ll describe as staggering in its hideousness and brutality. The guide for the museum tragically suffered the loss of his wife and several children in the genocide. He accompanies guests to rooms containing remains exhumed from a mass grave. The Murambi Genocide Memorial in Nyamagabe District is an overwhelming assault to one’s senses and that is the intention. A visit typically lasts under an hour but makes a lasting impression.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:26 PM
  #22
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
NYUNGWE—4 NIGHTS
From Nyamagabe to Nyungwe ORTPN Guesthouse = 2.5 hours. The road to the guesthouse usually provides views of mountain monkeys and other primates, but during our entire trip we never saw any monkeys along the road.

The conditions and time for each trek can vary. In general temps were a low of mid 60s and high of low 80s (Fahrenheit) for my August visit. Except for the first and last trek, which were not too strenuous, I was drenched and my energy level ranged anywhere from tired to exhausted by the end. But always very happy with what I saw.

Morning Chimp Trek to Uwinka to see the Mayebe group:
This group is also referred to as the “close group” because it is close to the ranger station or the “big group” because it has about 65 members.

Depart ORTPN Guesthouse at 5:00 am and arrive at the ranger station at 5:45 am. After another 5 minutes of driving a young woman from the Netherlands and I headed out with our guide, Isaiah, for an easy 45 minute walk to the chimps. We were urged to move quickly to reach the chimps while they were still feeding in the trees and we obliged, so our heart rates were up and we were short of breath by the time we arrived.

Four chimps out of the 65-member troop were continually visible in the trees above us and we viewed them with our naked eye and binoculars and took pictures (yielding about 5 keeper shots) for an hour, as they ate contentedly.

We were wrapping up our successful viewing and the chimps started moving off when the dominant male of the group became angry and began flailing branches wildly. We were told he could tell time and he knew our hour was up (seriously). It was his way of letting us know he had had enough of our presence below.

The rate of success seeing this group is about 50% because the forest is so large, therefore we were quite lucky.

The 2-hour stroll back was leisurely in comparison to our early rush to the chimps and we stopped for birds (listed below) and interesting plants. One such plant was the Cercostacus Scandit. It was also known as elephant plant because elephants love to eat it. The problem was there had been no elephants for over a decade in the park so the species was out of control. We were told in 20 years it might consume Nyungwe Forest and from the looks of a few slopes covered with this aggressive vegetation and not much else, I believed the prediction. The solution was to bring back elephants and there was a plan to relocate some forest elephants from Cameroon in the next couple of years.

The other interesting thing about this light yellow blossoming plant was that it had not bloomed since 1994. The myth was that when it does bloom, there will be tragedy. Guide Isaiah emphasized his lack of belief in that myth.

We heard some accents over Isaiah’s radio that did not sound Africa. He told us it was the Indian Sikhs and Pakistani peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo. How interesting.

Afternoon Colobus Monkey Trek to see the Gisakura Group
This group of about 65 colobus is also referred to as the “group near the tea factory” because they live in a forest that has been surrounded by tea farming. If they wish to access the larger intact forests of Nyungwe they must traverse the tea fields. Fortunately the colobus do not eat tea leaves so there is no threat to them from the tea growers.

They are also called the “small group” because they have only around 65 members. (65 members is big for chimps, 65 members is small for colobus)

There are four species of black and white colobus monkeys. The Angolan Colobus are found in Nyungwe and are not the kind with the long, flowing black and white tails. Their thin tails were dark with white tips.

Guide Daniel and I departed the ORTPN Guesthouse and walked along the road, then through tea fields, and finally up and down difficult vine-covered hills in pursuit of the colobus. It took an hour and 15 minutes to catch up with the monkeys because they were on the move through the hills. At one point Daniel told me we were skiing and his description was accurate for the downhill portions.

We finally found a couple of monkeys and watched them hopping from obscured branch to branch. Then the trackers cleared some brush to reveal dozens sitting out in the open eating. (In all three colobus visits I was surprised at both the quantity and quality of on-the-ground sightings I had compared to in-the trees sightings.)

There even were a couple of mothers with their white infants clasped to their chests. The babies do not turn black and white until they are over a month old. Their tiny size makes them susceptible to eagles swooping down from above, which is why they do not ride on their mother’s back like baboons. This troop had accepted one mona monkey, who joined in the activities and was allowed very near the babies.

Like chimp viewing, colobus viewing is limited to one hour. After 50 minutes the troop disappeared into the forest. We headed back but after about 15 minutes of walking, we encountered almost all 65 members for our remaining 10 minutes of outstanding viewing. How thoughtful of them to reconvene for me. The remaining walk back took 20 minutes.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:33 PM
  #23
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Morning Chimp Trek to see the Cyamudongo Group:
Depart ORTPN Guesthouse at 4:30 am and drive 1 hour and 15 minutes on really bumpy roads for the last half of the trip that produced one black backed jackal sighting. This chimp group is also known as the “far group” or the “small group” because it has 28 chimps. To avoid such a very early departure and to further enjoy the local surroundings, accommodations for chimp trackers are in the planning stages at Cyamudongo.

The odds of seeing this group are about 95% because this forest is much smaller.

I asked to have a porter and I got a walking stick. We hiked through extremely difficult terrain in the forest for 2 hours and 15 minutes, during which we had two glimpses of a few of the chimps on the ground and several views of mountain monkeys and mona monkeys in the trees, plus some birds, listed below. The chimps had immediately come out of the trees that morning and were on the move, making it a challenge to locate and follow them.

Eventually, the trackers determined that the chimps would be crossing the road to reach some favorite fruit trees on the other side. Watching them cross the road was going to be my best shot at chimp viewing that day.

The dirt road was undergoing an upgrade thanks to tourism dollars and many of the local residents were employed to work on the road with shovels and picks. The trackers feared that the chimps might be spooked by the construction activity and alter their route, so about 100 workers were asked to halt. They willingly obliged and then the waiting game began.

The residents all stood at the roadside, leaning against their shovels or picks, looking at me. I stood along the roadside looking at where the trackers thought the chimps would pass. And the trackers fanned out and gave hand signals to each other and my Guide Daniel to indicate when and where the crossing might take place and where I should direct my gaze.

I would have been very uncomfortable to be the sole source of the work stoppage if I had not been informed that the community viewed the chimps (and the foreigners like me who came to see them) in a positive light.

After about 15 minutes of waiting and not working on the road, one chimp scampered across, then he was followed by a few more, including a mother with an infant hugging her belly. They flew across the open road and I got to see seven chimps in the open, thanks to the persistence and expertise of my guide and trackers. Road construction resumed.

As we drove out, the residents working on the road smiled or waved and we returned the warm farewells.

Afternoon Waterfall Walk and Sightings of Unhabituated Gray Cheeked Mangabeys:
This escorted 4-hour round trip walk is not an easy stroll and I used a walking stick. Near the falls, there are two options. The more difficult one takes you right to the falls and the easier one provides more of an overview. The route, as well as the falls themselves, is very picturesque, especially the areas with walls of ferns. Enroute I saw and photographed two managbeys and a toad. When you pass by others returning from the waterfall, the joke is to ask, “Is it still there?”

Morning Colobus Trek to see the Uwinka Group:
This group is also called the “big group” with 400+ members or the “far group” because it is not near the guesthouse.

Depart ORTPN about 6:00 am to ranger station, then drive about 10 minutes. I had a porter and a walking stick and set off with Guide Robert on the most difficult trek yet. We were also hindered by a problem with radio transmissions so it was hard to find the trackers. Whistles and shouts were used instead of modern radio technology. That was kind of neat.

After 2 1/4 grueling hours and hard work by the trackers, we located the troop. Food was not plentiful so the 400 members had dispersed. I saw probably 100 members scattered about, with good views of their varied activities.

The setting was lush and verdant and the only sounds were those of the monkeys—until I heard an ear splitting crack. It sounded like a gun shot. But it was just too many monkeys crowding onto one tree until it buckled under their weight and came crashing down, monkeys leaping off left and right. It appeared all 20 or so monkeys jumped off uninjured. After an hour of great viewing, it took two hours of tough hiking to get back, during which we saw some mountain monkeys and gray cheeked mangabeys.

I had planned to track the habituated troop of gray cheeked mangabeys that afternoon, but the radio problem meant we did not know where they were. So Plan B was to return to the “small troop” of colobus not far from the guest house.

Afternoon Colobus Monkey Trek to see the Gisakura Group (again):
Four other guests and our colobus guide hopped into Kirenga’s vehicle with me for a ride over to the colobus. We had to walk another half hour in sometimes very difficult habitat to find them sitting on a hillside across from us. The mona monkey was with them, the white babies were visible on their mothers’ chests, and we watched the colobus feed leisurely for almost an hour and then take to the trees to find a place to sleep for the night. It was perfect timing for our visit.

As we walked back to the guesthouse, which took 45 minutes, we saw a vehicle bringing about 10 guests to the colobus troop. Unlike chimps, where the limit is 6 observers (I think), there is no limit to the number of guests who can visit the colobus. There is also no limit to how many groups per day can visit, but the one hour time limit is imposed. Since we had seen the colobus retreat to the forest to settle down for the night, we figured these new visitors would not see much and they didn’t. The lesson here is plan to wrap up the colobus visit by 5:00 pm—at least in the month of August.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:37 PM
  #24
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
*************************
QUOTE OF THE TRIP
On one of our drives back from seeing primates we came upon a truck that had just plummeted over the side of a steep embankment and started to burn. At this remote location, Kirenga could not access his cell phone to summon help, nor could anyone else who had stopped,

When we arrived there was no sign of the truck drivers, but we later learned the two drivers inside had avoided life threatening injuries. Worried that the fire could get out of control, Kirenga instructed me to get back in the vehicle. “We must rush to save the forest!”

We headed back toward the guesthouse and park office next door, at a good clip, but not so fast that we’d end up in the same predicament as the truck.

A few miles down the road we saw a park vehicle and Kirenga signaled for it to stop. We alerted the ranger of the problem. Later that day we found out that the fire occurred in an area without much dry brush and it was quickly extinguished with no serious injuries.

“We must rush to save the forest” is an urgent message that applies to more than one burning truck. Here is what I learned is being done to help save the forests and savannas of Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest:
- As mentioned above, in 2 years forest elephants from Cameroon will be introduced to bring back more balance to the environment and control the spread of voracious vegetation.

- A corridor with Volcanoes National Park is planned so that species can go between the two. The Nyungwe environment would be suitable for gorillas.

- To encourage tourism, which will help sustain the park, a canopy walk is planned. Also there are two new lodges being built. In addition to primates, Nyungwe has many endemic bird species for birders. There is fantastic hiking for all skill and fitness levels.
-The forest around the inhabited areas that included the tea factory and the ORTPN Guesthouse was an artificial forest, planted so that local residents could cut down the wood for firewood and leave the native forest intact.

Volcanoes National Park:
-The waist high stone buffalo wall was completed in 2005 to help keep buffalo and elephants out of the fields of neighboring farmers and to delineate where the park boundaries begin to discourage encroachment into the protected habitat.

- There are long range plans to relocate some of the farmers and plant bamboo in order to enlarge the gorilla habitat and increase their food sources.

- PNV and the much larger Bwindi in Uganda can support far more gorillas than currently live there. So as the population hopefully continues to increase (which it has done despite wars and terrible human conflicts) there will be a place for them to live.

Akagera,
- In September, 2009 there are plans to erect a fence between the park and the more populated areas to prevent wildlife from leaving the park where it can be shot. This may also help control fires that burnt 1/3 of the park in 2004. Fires are often set to lure animals out of the park to eat the succulent new grass that returns after a fire. Then traps and snares are set to catch them.

- Recently there were some hectares recovered from the 2/3 reduction after resettlement of the refugees and there are plans are to try to recover more in the future.

- Animals that once were plentiful are going to be re-introduced. The variety of habitats and year round sources of water, provide excellent potential for this park.

Despite these initiatives, I’m aware there are great challenges facing the parks. But the above initiatives provide hope.

**************************
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:46 PM
  #25
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Bird sightings:
red warbler
Ruwenzori turacao
regal sunbird (an endemic that was often in the ORTPN Guesthouse Garden)
southern black flycatcher
casqued hornbill
Ruwenzori batis
yellow white eye
Chubb’s cisticola
brown woodland warbler
red faced woodland warbler (a first for Kirenga)
ovambo sparrowhawk
firefinch
rednecked spurwing
black crowned waxbill
streaky headed seadeater
white eyed slaty flycatcher

ORPTN Guesthouse:
It is very basic, clean, safe, with decent meals provided on the premises, a comfortable bed, and shared toilet, sink, and shower facilities. Service is minimal--sometimes breakfast was late, a sock sent for laundering was lost, a bill took half an hour to arrive. While hot water is available, it may not flow from the spigot of choice at the preferred time.

The grounds were beautiful with lots of flowers to attract sunbirds and the only blue monkey I saw was at the forest edge next to the guest house. Meals were served family style. Special requests such as vegetarian options were not part of the routine; therefore, I can rave about the Spaghetti Bolognese. The avocado salad was really good too.

As to specific rooms, unless being as close as possible to the shared facilities was a priority, I’d avoid House #3. In this house you walk out of your room into a cement hall, facing the bathroom doors. The other houses exit to the garden. Within House #3, Room #3 is the least desirable because it is closest to the kitchen and to the area where people may sit around and socialize at night. There also is a hall light, that if not turned off, shines through the space above #3’s door and onto the bed. None of House #3-Room #3’s faults were sufficient for me to request a room change, maybe because I had unpacked everything right away and didn’t want to repack or maybe because the little time that I spent in #3, I was unconscious.

ORTPN Guesthouse a good place to stay if you follow Kirenga’s philosophy of “non-performing issues.” That was his phrase for not dwelling on less than perfect conditions that do not directly affect the real purpose and focus of the trip. I agree with him completely and would categorize any shortcomings of ORTPN Guesthouse as non-performing issues. It’s a good deal for the price of around $50/night. I’d definitely go back at that rate, though very soon there will be other options, as two new lodges are being constructed nearby. Still, I’ll gladly pack a sacrificial sock to save hundreds of dollars per night.

The “non-performing issues” philosophy did not mean that Kirenga just dismissed as inconsequential anything that was subpar. Quite the contrary. In fact he told me his hobby was making things work well and providing good service. Then he corrected himself to state it was not just his hobby, but his whole purpose in life to be sure Rwanda tourism was providing good service and making things go smoothly. It was obvious to me that he pursued this mission of his with a passion.

Choosing and Scheduling Your Activities in Nyungwe:
The chimp visits must be done in the morning because the goal is to reach the chimps before they come down from the trees and disappear into the forest. The Uwinka colobus troop of 400-some members must be visited in the morning because it can take many hours to reach them (and then return) and you want to complete the trip in daylight. The Gisakura colobus monkeys near the tea factory, which is close to the ORTPN Guesthouse, can be visited in the afternoon because it does not take long to reach them. One of my visits to the Gisakura colobus group was scheduled before leaving home and I added another at the last minute—both were done after lunch. The waterfall walk was also added at the last minute, in the afternoon, but can be done anytime.

There are also troops of gray-cheeked managbeys and (I think but am not sure) blue monkeys that can be visited. I’d like to see them some day.

Two activities a day is reasonable assuming you find the primates that you track in the morning in time and you are in good enough shape. I did two activities a day for a total of 6 outings in a 4-night, 3-day stay.

In general the dry season means the primates are more scattered as they search out food, so treks are often longer and the primate groups are smaller. But, different trees bear fruit throughout the year, so their feeding patterns are also dictated by the success of each type of fruit-bearing tree. Recent weather patterns make any sort of predictions harder. Who knows what the rain, the weather, and the fruit trees will decide to do, but the constant you can count on is the guiding and tracking, which I found to be excellent.

The album linked here contains 65 photos. The last 5 photos are sightings at the ORTPN Guesthouse and shots inside. Each photo is labeled as to the specific primate group.
http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...localeid=en_US
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 08:15 PM
  #26
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,284
Lynn, thanks so much for your excellent chapters! The photos are stunning, especially the colobus pics. Some beautiful faces in this gallery, and I'm not just talking about Ranger Daniel. .

Two questions:
Can you elaborate on "extremely difficult terrain"?

What do you think a nearsighted person (sans contact lenses) would get out of the chimpanzee sightings if she were, in fact, so lucky to find them?
Leely2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 8th, 2009, 08:35 PM
  #27
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Wonderful report Lynn. I was thinking of going to see the gorillas on my next trip to Africa, but my husband has a bad knee and I don't know if I want to risk booking it and finding out he isn't able to do the hike to see them. I am looking at maybe visiting the chimps in Mahale on our next trip to Tanzania.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 03:41 AM
  #28
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,422
My oh my! That's some serious trekking you did. I feel like I burned some serious calories just reading your report!
Lillipets is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 07:35 AM
  #29
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Lillipets if you jog in place while reading, that aids in the calories burned. Just a suggestion, not implying you need to burn them or anything.

Raelond, thanks for the nice comments. The tough hiking conditions I mention here are for the chimps and colobus in Nyungwe. The gorilla part of the report is up next--well, eventually--and I describe every one of those treks as fairly easy, very easy, never breaking a sweat, etc. Some of the treks were as short as 45 minutes, others closer to 2 hours, but all in reasonable terrain for the gorillas.

To elaborate on those Nyungwe conditions and to answer Leely's first question:

None of this was real mountain climbing with ropes or picks or anything. It was not even like rock climbing on a sheer face of stone. But it was very steep and sometimes I would slide down the hill a ways until I got my footing and gripping. There was rarely danger of falling off the trail and down a steep and dangerous slope, but there were a couple of places like that.

Sometimes the next step up was so high that short legs, which I possess, had a problem making the step. I did a lot of grabbing vines and roots and tree trunks. I also grabbed the arm of the guide or porter as needed. There weren't too many stinging nettles in this region, but you could also just wear gloves.

While on the trails, it was pretty good. Often we were not on the trails though so you never knew what surface would greet your foot. It could be down much farther under the vegetation than you thought. With new trails being whacked through the vegetation, there was a lot of ducking down real low, sometimes crawling, to advance. That made for slow going, which was fine. We were not in a race. Going slow actually made the cardiovascular part of the hike easier.

The vegetation beneath my feet was often made up of vines that would "grab" my ankles so it could be easy to trip. The vines were often very slippery so getting traction was hard. Skiing was a term used by one of the guides.

I found it necessary to really concentrate and say to myself, "Step, step, step," for each step. By the time I reached the chimps or colobus I was in a heightend state of meditative calm with all my mental faculties having been focused on each step. The state of meditation was occasionally broken when I stumbled and fell on my butt.

Are the chimps in Mahale suppposed to be that much easier than the gorillas, Raelond? The chimps in Kibale, Uganda were much easier to track because the terrain is flat there.

One thing about the gorillas in Rwanda, there usually is at least one easy group to reach and the staff knows which one it is. Often there are several easy groups.

They have a pretty good idea the night before you track which groups are close and which are far based on the visits that morning. Then the next morning before that day's tracking, there is a big powwow at the ranger station with all the guides and some rangers and they share the latest information on the location of all the groups as of that morning based on radio reports. This gives the most up to date info on which groups are close and which are far.

The visitors don't get assigned their group to visit until after the big powow. Then there is a second meeting with all of the visitors' safari guides. It's sort of like traders on the floor of the stock exchange where bids for various gorilla groups are made and there's some give and take until each gorilla group has no more than 8 visitors. Your safari guide could request an easy group.

At Mahale, I think there are about 2 groups of chimps. (Not positive, never been) so I don't think there are as many possibilties for easy or hard groups. But if they are all fairly easy, then it doesn't matter.

Not trying to dissuade you from Mahale, Raelond. I want to go there too, maybe 2011. Just trying to lay out facts.

You also could hire extra porters to assist or almost carry a person with a bad knee. I heard a touching tale about a paralyzed man seeing the gorillas with the help of extra porters.

Now for question #2. If the near sighted person could use binocs, chimp vieiwng should be fine. By far the best views were through binoculars.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 09:39 AM
  #30
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Thanks for the clarification Lynn. I just assumed the hikes to see the gorillas would be the same or worse.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 01:24 PM
  #31
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,057
I am always amazed by your incredible adventures! I'm exhausted just reading about all those treks. I hope you ate a lot of the Spaghetti Bolognese so you wouldn't waste away. Waiting for more.
Marija is online now  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 02:38 PM
  #32
dlo
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 175
Great report Lynn. I found your report on Nyungwe very interesting,i still regret not being able to go.Looking forward to your Budongo report.
dlo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 03:58 PM
  #33
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 788
Lynn, I'm loving your report! I thought I'd seen a lot of monkeys in Uganda, but your trip takes the cake. I wish we could have taken this trip with you, but reading your report and seeing your pictures is the next best thing.

You've done an excellent job of describing what the trekking conditions are really like -- that will be a great service to people trying to decide about similar trips.

Raelond, for my two cents on the difficulty of gorilla vs. chimp trekking, we actually found the chimp trekking in Kibale quite strenuous because a) it was stormy and raining and thus very slippery, and b) we often had to run through the forest to keep up with the guide. (But anyone who's read my Uganda/Rwanda trip report will know that we had an unusually dramatic chimp experience in Kibale.) I don't know how Kibale and Budongo compare with Mahale, though. And for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, depending on where the gorillas are on any given day, you can usually chose between a wide range of treks -- mine were considered "difficult," but that was by choice. Another member of our group broke her foot shortly before the trip, and was still able to do one of the "easy" gorilla treks with her injured foot.

Looking forward to more, Lynn...
MyDogKyle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 04:13 PM
  #34
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,284
Thanks, Lynn, very helpful information.

Welcome back, MDK! I realize now I never wished Patty a safe and happy safari. Too many people heading out all at one.
Leely2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 9th, 2009, 06:32 PM
  #35
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
MDK, Why am I chuckling at the vision of you running through Kibale after the chimps? You snuck off to Africa again! Good for you!

I think Patty changed her mind on Murchison Falls, but don't remember if she was going somewhere else in Africa in late Aug.

Any primate group can be hard or easy, but the advantage of PNV gorillas is you have some control over which group you choose when you depart.

dlo,
I was technically not in the Budongo Forest. I was in the Pabadi Forest next door for the final chimp tracking. It was one of the most beautiful settings of the trip for primates. The guide was wonderful and I was actively involved in the tracking aspect from examining poop to knuckle prints to half-eaten furit. But it was raining and unfortunately the chimps did not want to come out and play in the rain. They never made a peep so we did not know where they were.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2009, 09:01 AM
  #36
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 788
Thanks, Leely. Yes, we snuck off to Africa and snuck back about a week ago. Can't say I'm too happy to be home... we had a fantastic time with the Earthwatch trip in South Africa, and I wish we could have stayed longer. I think Patty is in Kenya, isn't she?

I've learned my lesson not to start posting my trip report until I've finished writing my own journal, so I'm just going to continue enjoying Lynn's story for now. But I will eventually tell you guys all about it.

Lynn, I'm sorry the Pabadi chimps didn't make an appearance for you. Our best chimp experience was in Budongo, but we had special permission to visit the research area where they follow the chimps all day, so that's how we found them. Sounds like your other treks made up for it, though! And I agree -- what a beautiful place for a forest walk.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2009, 02:46 PM
  #37
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 260
Lynn

I've been waiting for your report since you left. It has been worth the wait. The detail is great, now of course I want to go see primates.

Your photos are wonderful, especially the colubus monkeys and the birds, the wonderful birds.

I also appreciated your info on what they are doing to "Rush to Save the Forest".

Can't wait for the next installment.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 11th, 2009, 04:13 PM
  #38
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Amazing report as usual, I envy your organizational abilities!
Femi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 11th, 2009, 04:32 PM
  #39
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thank you very much for the warm reception. So I WAS in Budongo when I tracked chimps in Pabidi. I barely learned to pronounce the places and am still not certain of their locations on a map.

"Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro are part of the Budongo Forest Reserve. The Jane Goodall Institute Uganda took over the management and infrastructure at both sites in 2006 which had been priviously operated by the National Forestry Authority."

I did not realize the Jane Goodall connection until now. Despite being there a short time in the rain and seeing no chimps I was very impressed with it. You can do habituation trips there and I think I'll try that someday.

In contrast with MyDogKyle's experience, the chimps I went to see do not have trackers with them continually, so it was necessary to find them in the morning. We just never did and I had to leave by noon for my flight home.

Re: organization. Ha ha, if you could only see the room I'm in now. I just jot down relevant stuff on my itinerary and other scraps of paper.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2009, 06:14 PM
  #40
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 129
Lynn: I had also been waiting for your report, and you have produced a stellar one! Your descriptions are great and will be such a help for anyone planning something similar, and you have some very nice photos with some very good bird close ups!Thank you for sharing your trip. I loved the "We must rush to save the forest!" quote. I appreciate the info about 'bad knees' as I have always thought I could not do a gorilla trek for that very reason. Another trip to plan!!
Thanks again.

Pat
scruffypuma is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:22 AM.