You can read a book or a magazine, watch a documentary or research on the web. Any preparation for your trip into the Mahale Mountains is probably for the best, but nothing can prepare a traveler for the intensity of a real life chimpanzee encounter.
Fortunate as we are to visit this group of chimps regularly, a recent trip was particularly notable. As we hiked for an hour and half along the foothills of the mountains, we came across Ako, Kalunde and Ako's year-old daughter. We sat quietly on the forest floor with our group of four as Ako's child stole our hearts completely.
Although still unnamed -- Chimpanzees are only named when they reach three years due to high infant mortality -- Ako's daughter is so full of life and character. As the larger part of the group moved on, Kalunde and Ako were quietly sitting together exchanging little sensitivities. Where females with baby's are generally a little more shy, Kalunde and Ako where at total peace.
Ako's daughter carefully explored the surroundings and her mother's back, leaving us to share with them some unique moments.
-- Bas Rosenkamp and Suzanne Scheffer
To read more about the chimps at Greystoke peruse the camp blog.