Rain sounds like a rolling drumbeat, filling your senses with its sound, just as it drenches your body. It is not a pitter-patter of raindrops on pavement here in the forests of Uganda, neither is it the roar of a prairie storm; it is an overwhelming orchestra. Thick leaves, layer upon layer from the sky to the dark forest floor below, create a scale of sound as rain hits from one leaf to the next. Like fingers on a keyboard it is a full symphony that drowns out the multitude of other noises in this abundant ecosystem.

The forest feels huge, sound and site feel dulled by the sensory overload of the rain around you. Then from within its depths, fists pounding the earth, limbs swinging in a frenzy of motion, teeth barred with a scream penetrating even the rain, a male chimp mock charges you. Your heart rate matches the beat of a thoroughbred and your legs to those of a new born calf. You feel you will never feel so tremendously alive as in this moment.

Perhaps not every encounter with a wild animal in the East African country of Uganda will leave such an impression, but from a serene spotting of a lion draped camouflaged against the tan bark of a tree, to the brilliant flash of Southern Carmine Bee-Eaters against the endless blue backdrop of the sky, the magnificence of this country can surely be found within its wilderness.

National parks like Bwindi, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary provide these rare opportunities to reach out and experience interactions with nature that leave such lasting memories. However, there is a need in Uganda, as in many places world wide, for the continued support and advocacy of both the natural habitat and the species that reside there if we hope to continue to experience the majesty of the true wild of Africa for generations to come.

p1

Mist rising over the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the early morning light.

p2

 

The darkness of the forest as the rain’s start in Kibale National Park Chimpanzee tracking, male chimp watching over his troop prior to making a mock charge at the tour group. (*Camera flash is not permitted around the animals)