Beyond the Rift Valley 2018 – Day 4

Overload. Only four days into our #BeyondTheRiftValley Expedition through remarkable #rwanda, and my head is absolutely spinning. Over the past few days, we’ve experienced everything from the spotlessly clean capital #Kigali, to #hiking east Africa’s highest canopy walkway, trekking primal forests brimming with giant blue touraco – and finally, this morning – experiencing one of the best #primate wildlife sightings one could dream of.

A steep hike from Banda Village, on the edge of #Nyungwe National Park, saw us tramping right into the verdant bosom of one of Africa’s most untouched rainforests. Nyungwe records over 2m of rainfall every year, and it shows in the fecund profusion of tree ferns, bamboos and giant mahogany trees – festooned with creepers and veiling moss – straining skywards. Fungi as big as dinner plates and snaking lianas reclaim fallen tree trunks, and the smell of Planet Earth here is 100 per cent proof fertility.

After sighting a troop of skittish Angolan black and white colobus, our trackers heard chimp noises, and said they were lying in wait to ambush the smaller monkeys. Little did we know the deed had already been done. After spotting a few chimps furtively sneaking around in the under-story, all hell suddenly broke loose in the forest canopy around us.

The troop of chimpanzees burst from the thick brush, squabbling ferociously as they took to the trees. One of them had the dead colobus firmly gripped in their paws, and for the next half an hour, they helter-skeltered amidst the foliage as the battle for dead monkey surged amidst the forest giants. The males were properly formidable, and it was incredible to view the hierarchy, body language and verbal communication between the various troop members.

We had to however tear ourselves away from the chimps, as Peter Van Ketshad a date with Spoedniek, his #GiantRSA bicycle. A mudslide had put a stop to our trek along the first section of the #NileCongoDivide, but the eponymous route along the edge of #LakeKivu awaited. It’s a huge disappointment for PVK to not do the whole Dunlop Tyres SA #BTRV route, but Mama Afrika often has her own mind. Right now, he’s a man on a mission though, and we will keep you posted as we crank towards #Kibuye, where we hope to spend the night.

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