CHARLOTTE HAS BEEN WONDERING WHERE THE ELEPHANTS ARE
Episode 2 of Volume 1
By Charlotte Beauvoisin, aka Nagawa, posted from Sunbird Hill, Kibale Forest
(Posted 02nd of July 2020)
In the second of a series, Charlotte Beauvoisin shares some of her #LockdownDiaries from Kibale Forest in Western Uganda.
My morning walk cum run skirts the edge of Kibale National Park. I have walked these forest trails for 100 days now. When I see safari ants, I walk the first lap of the trail with my eyes pinned to the ground. I scan the path, placing branches to mark where I must jump over the rivers of ants that stream like oil.
This morning ants are scattered everywhere. A skip and a jump aren’t enough to avoid them entirely. I think I’m dodging them well okay until SCREAM! An ant sinks its jaws into my ankle.
I stop. I look down to see an ant wriggling in the lace hole of my trainer. I grab its back legs and try to yank it out. It hangs on tight. I try and extricate it from the other side of the hole but it will not budge either way. I take off my shoe and bang it hard against the trunk of a tree. It clings. I use the tips of my nails to mimic its pincers. I pull hard.
This is not fun anymore. I decide to abandon the run.
I take a detour along the edge of the elephant trench down towards Frog Loop, a swampy area where long-legged amphibians jump through wet grass.
I notice some compressed greenery to one side of the trail. Baboons regularly move in and out of the forest but these tunnels of vegetation are larger. Could a group of chimps have crossed the trench here? I wonder.
A few hundred metres ahead, I find an even larger patch of flattened greenery. One of the indentations is half a metre in circumference. Elephants!
The broken vegetation is fresh but there’s no sign of their dung. It isn’t until I see these elephant-sized holes in the vegetation that I recall last night’s dream about a large grey shape silently pushing its way through the undergrowth below my house.
As I walk onto Rosemary Lane, I’m shocked to see a fallen tree blocking our road. During the first 70 days in lockdown, we only used the road once, for a brief and uncomfortable foray into Fort Portal.
Between tiny ants and huge elephants, where is there left to run…?
If you enjoyed this story, look out for the next one in this series, exclusively here on ATCNews.
Charlotte is best known for her blog Diary of a Muzungu. She is a travel writer, influencer, marketing manager and trainer. She lives at Sunbird Hill on the edge of Kibale National Park.