Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The tree house at Kibale Primate Lodge

We were covered in orange road dust when we arrived at Kibale Primate Lodge.  And pretty tired.

But in typical African lodge style we were presented with a hot towel and a cool drink on arrival.  It was as we were checking in that I broke the news to Karen that we weren't staying in the lodge itself, but in their little tree house way out in the forest.

The lodge is situated deep in the Kibale rain forest and is adjacent to the the main visitor centre where chimp and primate treks are organised.  It has a thatched bar/restaurant/lounge and the rooms are either safari tents or cottages in the surrounding woods.  Except one, which is the tree house 15 minutes down a path beside the swamp.

The lodge manager, George, explained to us that we could only take a minimum of stuff with us to the tree house because of its size, that we would need to be there before dark because of the risk of meeting elephants and that we would need to be escorted to the tree house to make sure we didn't wander off into the forest never to return.

He arranged for us to shower in one of the safari tents, as the shower block for the tree house had been knocked down by an elephant and we sat down for a hurried dinner.

Kibale tree house
Our two guides then guided us through the dark forest (we were far too late to beat the sunset) and helped us settle in.  There is a paraffin lamp for light, two bunk beds, two little chairs, a table and a red plastic bucket for any ablutions.  Luckily the red plastic bucket has a lid.

Inside the tree house

The thing that strikes you the most is the noise of forest- monkeys whooping, frogs croaking, insects chirruping and lots of rustling.  The tree house has mosquito nets and the windows have screens, but we gave it a liberal spray of doom just to make sure.  We also chased away the large spider and I removed the cockroach from Karen's bed.

We tried to settle, but it was just too disturbing with all the noise, especially when a mouse ran across my pillow and something dropped from the ceiling onto Karen before scuttling off.  The mouse then spent the rest of night chewing at things in my rucksack.

It looks idyllic, but the reality is of course a little different.  That said, how often can you say you slept in a tree house in the African rain forest?

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