My first big adventure in Cameroon was to Pongo Songo, a wilderness area where it's possible to see chimpanzees, both in the wild and at a small reserve where they care for orphaned baby chimps. A group of us ventured out in 2 land rovers despite the rain and mud, driving for over 4 hours. The roads were bumpy, but the scenery was beautiful and it was my first chance to see Cameroon beyond the city of Douala.
The highlight of the day for me by far was getting to see and hold the baby chimps at the reserve. There were about 4 or 5 they brought out; some of whom were quick to jump into our arms. Others were more interested in playing with each other and swinging in the trees. They were also quite mischievous and the caretakers advised us to leave any watches, jewelry, and even glasses in the car as they are apt to get swiped by the chimps. I experienced this firsthand when a lively chimp stole the hairband straight out of my hair!
On the boat ride back to the vehicles, we stopped to meet the grandpa of our boat driver who was blind in both eyes. It just happened that Therese, who works on the eye team on the ship, was part of our group and was able to see him and give him information about how we might be able to help him.