|Well equipped for chimp-tracking: hats, long sleeves and trousers tucked into boots.|
|The Kyambura Gorge cutting its way through the savannah.|
|A tangle of lianas down by the river.|
|Dizzy patches of sky high overhead.|
|Ben the ranger|
|Thick forest right to the water's edge.|
|Hippo invasion imminent.|
|Colobus at rest.|
Only half a dozen human visitors can visit the gorge at a time to observe the chimps, and the rangers lay down strict ground rules so that humans don't teach them bad habits. You cannot smoke in the presence of chimpanzees as they might raid local homes for packets of fags. You cannot eat apples as the chimps might think they were mangoes and pillage the villagers' gardens. You can, however, drink from bottles of water, as apparently, they will simply go and drink from the river. I'm a bit sceptical about this advice. I wonder, if you drink a bottle of Fanta will they ransack the shelves of the local shops?
Anyway, be that as it may, we were lucky that day. Within ten minutes of entering the gorge, our ranger looked up and said we had reached the chimpanzees. There they were above our heads, getting out of their nests and eating their breakfasts. Fruit was on the menu, much to our relief, as we didn't fancy being bombarded with the inedible bits of caterpillars or witnessing a hunting party of chimpanzees surrounding a hapless colobus. The chimps leant lazily against the branches right up against the clouds, or so it seemed, breaking open the fruit and dropping the peel and stones. All around us we could hear the soft thuds as debris hit the ground, and then a quiet continuous pitter patter. Oh no, I had forgotten my hat! It was a gentle shower of chimp pee. It went on and on and on.
|Who said you can't eat while having a swing?|
|Left over breakfast.|
|Looking down on the humans.|
|Perhaps just one more piece of fruit.|
|There's a head among all those limbs...somewhere.|
|You would scarcely know the gorge was there.|