|Mabira National Forest|
On Sunday, the team minus the Ugandan interns, took a day trip to hike in Mabira National Forest. When we asked Simon-Peter and Hannington if they were interested in hiking we were given looks of “are you kidding me…why would I want to walk around in a forest?” Too funny. So we left them behind and took off for the small village of Nejembbe. Travel in Uganda is anything but predictable, kind of like the weather. So, after switching matatus (taxis) in Jinja we headed toward the forest into some pretty ominous looking clouds. Next thing we know we’re in the middle of a full blown hailstorm. I pull out my peanut butter and banana sandwhich…by now it’s already past 12pm (after leaving the house around 10am) and hope for the best. We are crammed into this taxi…water splashing up through holes in the bottom of the van, dangerous puddles of water collecting on the roadway, and unfortunately the van’s defrost system wasn’t working…why would it? Everyone is a little on edge…for our safety and plans for hiking. By the time we are dropped off in Nejembbe about 20 minutes later the rain is now a steady Seattle drizzle. Typical Ugandan rain…lasts about 30-40 minutes and then disappears. Lucky for us it was when we reached the forest and as we started our walk the sun was shining through the trees and the butterflies (over 200 species live in the forest) are out.
The forest was beautiful…lush, tropical and full of life…mostly plant life, but we did see some birds, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders, ants…by the time they were biting us, millipedes, and yes…a red-tailed MONKEY! We didn’t happen upon the monkeys until the end of the hike, but we saw a bunch of half-eaten fruit on the ground so we started searching in the canopy high above and sure enough saw what looked like a large squirrel from our viewpoint. The camera’s zoom revealed a red tail with a furry body! We were pretty excited. I tried to get a picture, but the resolution is not that great…but still…we saw a monkey on our own little safari through the forest.