Island retreat

Posted on November 20, 2010

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Chasing chimps in the jungle may sound exciting, and don’t get me wrong it is, but it’s also bloody exhausting.

Mawa with treats

If you’re lugging a camera and a tripod; the world’s heaviest rucksack – even though you’ve packed it like a capsule wardrobe – it’s still tough. Plus you’re watching out for snakes and spiders and the Red Safari Ants (more on that in another blog). My friends will tell you, I’m not the fittest individual around, and up until five years ago I didn’t even own a pair of trainers. But I’m definitely stepping up my game, because if I don’t, my new career path is likely to give me a cardiac-arrest!

So now you know – chimps are agile little buggers – the easiest way to watch them without getting out of breath is at a sanctuary. I decided to take a break from the forest and headed back south. My hiatus took me to the magical Ngamba Island. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust was set up in the late 90’s. It runs the island which is 23km from Entebbe, on Lake Victoria in East Africa.

Here you’ll find  semi-wild chimpanzees that are able to roam free in a 97-acre forest. Their habitat is separated from the staffs’ living quarters by an electric fence. You can watch these incredible apes four times a day when they are being fed and you don’t have to strain a muscle doing it. This is another film (see link below) I made during my Uganda trip. I gave a copy to the sanctuary to show tourists what happens on the island. The chimps here are very well looked after and they’re absolutely enormous.

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Posted in: Branching out