You can read a book or a magazine, watch a documentary or research the net. Any preparation for your trip into the Mahale Mountains is exciting and fun. But how close we really are to our nearest living relative we found hard to imagine from the comfort of a chair. Nothing in the world could have prepared us for the intensity of a real life chimpanzee encounter.
Kalunde, Ako & her young daughter
Fortunate as we are to visit the M group regular, yesterday again was a mind blowing experience. As we hiked for an hour and half along the foothills of the mountains, we came across Ako, Kalunde and Ako’s 1 year old daughter. As we sat quietly on the forest floor with our group of 4, it was the daughter of Ako that stole our hearts completely.
Ako's daughter climbing her mothers back
And we are sure she will steal yours too...
Although still unnamed – M group chimpanzees are only named when they reach three years due to common infant mortality – Ako’s daughter is so full of life and so full of character.
Laying in her mother's lab
As the larger part of the M group had 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.