Today was our first full day in Uganda and we were so excited to spend it at the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island. We started the day with a delicious but eclectic early breakfast before setting off at 9 o’clock. Once on the boat, we enjoyed soaking in the stunning scenery of Lake Victoria. After half an hour we began singing and playing games as a team – a great bonding experience for us all. Drunken Sailor seems to be a particular favourite of the group!
On arriving at the sanctuary we met Innocent and Joseph – two of the fantastic employees at the sanctuary – they offered us tea and coffee before introducing us to the history of the sanctuary, including some amusing stories about the chimpanzees. Our favourite was about Sande, who scared fishermen away by jumping on their boat – causing them to swim to the nearby island – only for Sande to be drifted out into the lake by the wind! There are many more stories to tell when we get home…
After a nutritious lunch of plantain, fish and much more we watched the chimpanzees being fed by the caregivers. They were all just as anxious for food as we were. We were entertained by the chimpanzee alpha gathering up food off the youngsters; much like Mr Griffiths does to us…It was fascinating to see how many similarities there are between us and the chimps – we do share 98.7% of the same genes after all.
Once on the boat, we all went out like a light, the 36 hours of travelling prior taking its toll. However, after disembarking the boat, we were all delighted to be let loose onto the inflatable slides, much to the enjoyment of both us and the Ugandan children playing with the group.
We are now looking forward to visiting the equator tomorrow before heading to our first school – Kamazinda!
Kate and Tash