Chasing Chimps

By Erin McDonough


A chimpanzee in Budongo Forest (photo: Erin McDonough)

Masindi, Uganda– Last night, Brian Dugas asked to gather the group to suggest adding something to our agenda since we had the next morning free. He suggested that we go to Budongo Forest to go chimpanzee trekking. The group’s decision was unanimous. We decided to get up early and go see some chimps!


Erin McDonough in Budongo Forest (photo: Noreen O’Connor)

After breakfast, we got on the bus and headed towards the forest. During the ride, one of our group started shouting and asked Dennis, our bus driver, to stop. Once I looked at the window I found that there were about ten baboons playing in the road! We took some time to take many pictures and to observe what they were doing. Some of them were running around, others where climbing trees, and a few had babies hanging from their stomachs. It was adorable to say the least!


Chimpanzee trekking guide Deo Chombedeo (photo: Noreen O’Connor)

A few minutes later, we picked up our guide and he took us to the part of the forest where he knew we could find the most chimps. We walked to the edge of the forest and he asked that we be quiet to enter. We were dodging vines and stepping over fallen trees for a little when all of a sudden we heard some very loud noises coming from the chimps. It was surreal! It sounded like dog’s bark, but louder. Everyone did everything they could to hold in their laughter.


Baboons on the road near Masindi (photo: Noreen O’Connor)

We finally got to the area where the chimps were playing and eating. I was surprised by how much they could move the trees that they were in! We watched them for a while and tried to get as many pictures as we could before they ran away. Every now and then they would start communicating with one another. Once we had gotten out of the forest, the guide told us that they were making those noises to scare us away. I think I speak for the group when I say that it was a very exhilarating experience!

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