25 Sept 2016

Kalinzu: First Impressions

I’ve been at Kalinzu research station in Uganda for just over a week, and it’s hard not to think of Wamba while I’m here. I’m constantly making comparisons!

To start with, Kalinzu is much easier to get to. It’s about a six-hour drive along a paved road all the way from Kampala. We have a 4x4 for the last section into the forest, but it’s still easy to get to compared to Wamba’s charter flight and motorbike expedition.

Easier transport means different food. There’s also reliable electricity, so we have a refrigerator with cold soda and beer!! Samuel, the cook, is amazing. There is a wider variety of ingredients available here than at Wamba, and with them he can cook all sorts of Japanese specialties (Kalinzu, like Wamba, is run by Kyoto University).

As you will perhaps have noticed by my more regular Tweets, there is also internet. Wamba doesn’t have any mobile phone reception, but Kalinzu does. Which is nice, but also, at Wamba I’m pretty happy being able to avoid all administrative work via email. I don’t have the same sort of excuse here.

The forest is also very different. The canopy is shorter. And although there are small streams, there is no swamp! I will not miss the ‘poto poto’.

What has struck me most about Kalinzu is the species diversity and density – there are many more monkeys here than at Wamba, probably because people don’t hunt them here. We regularly have colobus monkeys visit the camp, and every day I have seen blue monkeys and red tail monkeys. It definitely makes you wonder whether bonobos at Wamba would hunt monkeys if there were more monkeys to hunt…

Overall, it’s been a great first week. But I get the feeling that the next two months will fly by way too quickly.

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