Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi!

Trip Start May 31, 2007
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Trip End May 20, 2008


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Flag of Uganda  ,
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The internet is not great in East Africa which partly accounts for my lack of good entries and photos lately...

The endangered mountain gorillas can be found in Uganda, Rawanda and the DRC...Democratic Republic of Congo, not the most politically stable place in the world.  Only a certain amount of permits are available at any given time and you are only allowed 1 hour with the gorillas to minimize the human impact on them.

Anyway, on my Gorillas and Chimps tour through Kenya and Uganda.  Trekked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and as our guide put it:  "Penetrated the Bush" to see the gorillas.   English as a second language has its high points.

So after paying our $505 entry fee, we took a 2-wheel drive minivan, completely overloaded with gear and us up a slippery muddy dirt mountain road to get to the campground and National Park.  It was by far the scariest ride I have been on to date...skidding around turns etc.  It was terrifying and when I mentioned that to my guide, he said "Really"?  Different cultures, different expectations of safetly I suppose.  The drive back was much less interesting cause the road was dry.  We arrived at our campground in the pouring rain, I upgraded to a room...really a small clean concrete enclosure with a bed, a window and a door.  No electricity or amenities...but priceless considering I didn't have to deal with a muddy tent!  Our showers consisted of buckets of water and long drop toilets...quite reasonable and clean.  We have been used to peeing in the bush so this was just fine.

Hiked with the group down a steep dirt path past some local villages and local people, crossed a small stream and then we found the gorillas!  The guides with us were in contact with the trackers who were following the trail of the gorillas.   They do make an attempt to limit our trekking time so we actually get to see the gorillas during our visit.  

The silverback male of the group caught my eye at first, he glanced our way and watched us for a bit then went back to his meal.  We saw a few other females, some youngsters, and a blackback male just relaxing in the bush and eating.  We weren't actually in the jungle so we had plenty of light to take pictures.  They ignored us mostly but would ocasionally glance in our direction then lean their head back with a yawn and go back to what they were doing.

An experience that I will always remember...
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Comments

gilbertenstein
gilbertenstein on

I can't wait!
I'm off to Rwanda and Uganda in 10 days to spend 3 days trekking for the gorillas and 2 weeks with the Chimps in Budongo and Ngamba. I love reading other people's experiences there so I thought I would let you know I can't wait to tell the same story :)
Have you seen Ewen McGregor's 'The Long Way Down'? He treks for gorillas in that and wait to see the look on his face when he gets close to the gorillas. It looks like he is having an epiphany on camera....keep on travelling!

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