After a great migration safari in Masai Mara, I headed of west, in pursuit of the primates on a photographic safari with Nathab/WWF. Our first stop was at Kibale forest in Uganda where we had great opportunity to photograph the chimpanzees. On top of tracking the chimps in the forest, we did a walk at Bigodi swamp as a warm to the main tracking activity.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. The park is home to a total of 70 mammals species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimanzee. It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park. The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori mountains and Semliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. We stayed at a beautiful lodge (Ndali) which sits on the rim of crater lake. The location gives you stunning views of the surrounding, whether looking west or east.
After Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National park, we proceeded to Bwindi.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back many years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas– roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
On our safari, we tracked Rushegura group which has 16 members, which includes one silverback and two black-backs. We also tracked Mubare or “M” Group which has 15 members. There is only one silverback in this group. Gorilla tracking is the park’s main tourist attraction. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit to do so. Gorilla tracking generate much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority and neighboring communities which is crucial for gorilla conservation. The gorillas seldom react to tourists and there is plenty of photographic opportunities over the one hour viewing time. There are strict rules for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases passing from them to the gorillas.