Gorillas in the Mist
Trip Start Dec 23, 2007
244Trip End Ongoing
Waking up early, we left for the National Park headquarters to meet our guides. While waiting for the group assignments, we were treated to a Rwandan cultural dance performance and then we met our guides for the day. We drove out to a small village and began out ascent. Our gorilla group was the Umubano group, which luckily had a few babies recently! Art and I were hoping for a longer hike, but the Umubano group was fairly close, about a 45 minute hike. This turned out to be quite a blessing as the hills were very steep, the jungle quite dense, the mud thick, and there were plants that when touched creating intense stinging and itching! It is called the 'Impenetrable Jungle' for a reason, folks!
After some good hiking and heavy itching, we finally came across our group with two females foraging in the bushes nearby. Hiking a bit more, we turn around some bushes and there is the dominant male, a female, and two babies playing amongst the branches. A cursory glance by mom and dad and then we set to for amazingly close photos!
The babies frolicked about (here's a short video) and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend time so close with the gorilla group! We followed the silverback down the hill and got a treat as he sat down to enjoy lunch..there we were two feet away from this remarkable creature as he strips vines, chews them up, and sucks down the nutrients (here's a short video)! He looked so much like a kid eating and slurping up his spaghetti...a giant kid who could easily rip off your arm, but still! ;)
I could describe things in a lot more detail, but the photos truly do tell a better story and I also smacked my head playing racquetball earlier today, so am not sure if this writing is any good or not anyways!!
Anyways, if you have the opportunity, I can highly recommend going to visit the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. It really is an amazing, unique, and wonderful experience!