I didn’t find it easy to see Chimanzees in Kibale Forest, or to photograph them. The dark forest and bright skylight mid morning made for some challenging contrast to overcome, but it was absolutely worth it.
Most of the images that I took weren’t great, but I did find a few that I hadn’t previously edited, and a monochrome treatment seemed a perfect solution to highlight these amazing animals in the best way that I can.
For the last few blog posts, I have been revisiting my journey through Uganda and editing some photos that I passed by the first go around. It’s been wonderful to review these images and relive the memories that I carry of that wonderful journey. Today and tomorrow will be the last of Uganda revisited, and after that, I am going to be moving on to revisiting my time in Kenya.
These images were taken at Queen Elizabeth National Park while staying at Ishasha Wilderness Lodge, along the Kazinga Channel while staying at Mweya Lodge, and in the Kibale Forest, where I stayed at Primate Lodge.
My wide angles only project took a bit of an unexpected detour this week, into video editing. I took loads of GoPro stills and video during my 2016 trip to Uganda and Kenya, and never did anything with them. I think I edited one, possibly two GoPro still images. Since the GoPro is by design a very wide angle camera, I thought going through my archives to find some still shots might be fun, but it turned out that compiling a video was more compelling.
I’ve created a short video that follows my journey through Uganda; from Kihihi to Bwindi, onto Ishasha, the Kazinga Channel, the Kyambura Gorge, Kibale Forest and then ending in Entebbe. The still image for the post and the video of the Batwa tribe were shot with my Nikon camera, but the balance was all with the GoPro, generally on a head mount or out the window of a vehicle. Video is not something I’ve ever spent much time on, but it does provide a good feel for what the areas, and a little glimpse into what the gorilla and chimp treks are like. Pardon the shakiness at times and awkward head bobbing; when I was with the gorillas I was taking stills with my Nikon while wearing the GoPro on a head mount.
I hope you enjoy this week’s project. I’ll be going through my Kenya videos for next week.
This monochrome Monday is features some of the primate images from my time in Uganda. Trekking to see gorillas and chimpanzees is a bucket list item for many, and it is something that I would highly recommend.
The WordPress post prompt for this week is “It IS easy being green” and when I saw that, I immediately thought of Uganda. Many of the places I visited in Uganda were amazingly lush forested areas, with varying tones of green as far as the eye could see.
If I had a scorecard for successful trekking experiences in Uganda, it would look something like this:
Gorillas treks 2/2
Chimpanzee treks 1/2
Now by successful, I am only meaning that I saw the animal that I intended to when setting out for the trek. We could define successful in lots of ways though: if success meant coming back safe and having fun, I’d be 2/2 on both of them.
One trek felt like a quest more than the others, and that was the chimpanzee trek through the Kyambura Gorge in Uganda. You see, with gorilla trekking, trackers go out long before guests to try and find the animals in advance, so you don’t spend loads of time wandering, and the success rate of seeing the gorillas is quite high. There are no trackers that go out ahead of time for chimpanzee treks, and in Kyambura Gorge, the success rate for seeing chimps is somewhere between 50-60%.
Several times I had contemplated giving the gorge trek a miss, as I was worried about the physicality of it, but decided to give it a go anyways. The gorge itself is around 150m deep, has a river running through it (with hippos) and the pathways along are often steep, muddy and slippery. On more than one occasion, rather than fall over, I sat down at the top of a hill and slid down the muddy path on my butt!
After the initial decent into the gorge, we crossed a very nice, sturdy bridge over the river to look for the chimps along the other side. And as we walked along the paths, up and down hills, through streams and over fallen trees, we passed several more bridges. But when our guide declared it was time to return since the chimps weren’t in the area, we were a good two kilometres from the nearest bridge, and so instead, we had to cross the river by crawling along a fallen tree!
Crossing on the tree wasn’t actually that bad, it was wide and sturdy, and while the bark bruised my knees terribly, I wasn’t scared I was going to slip and fall. But then I reached the other side and learned that to get off the fallen tree, I would have to stand up, bear hug a big branch, and take a step of faith to another tree lower down that was further away than my legs could easily reach… and then finally jump to the riverbank below. I wish I had photos of all that but even my GoPro was safely packed away in my bag. I was terrified taking the leap of faith at the end of the tree, but very thankful for the other people in the group that helped me out and walked me through what I needed to do.
I saw chimpanzees the next day at Kibale Forest, but the Kyambura Gorge walk sticks out for me just as much. As one of my new friends said “You’ll always have a story to tell because of this!”