Trekking for gorillas is something I’ve always heard about but never thought that I’d actually get the chance to do it. That was until a couple on months ago when I jumped at the opportunity!
Mountain gorillas are located in the forests of Rwanda and Uganda, for my trek we were going into the Impenetrable Forest of Bwindi, Uganda.
On the morning of the trek we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine….we knew this could change within minutes and so were well prepared with all the gear you could ask for. We met our guide, and then after a 30 minute drive into a section of the forest further up from the visitor centre, we met out porters. We were all hoping for a decent trek in the forest, I was secretly wondering how ‘impenetrable’ this forest really was….after 10 minutes on the trek it was clear that the guide’s machete was going to come in handy!
We trekked up and down ravines, along & through streams and past trees that seemed taller and wider than skyscrapers. After two and a half hours I was starting to worry that we would be that 1% that didn’t get to see the family of gorillas that we were tracking. My porter, Jeffrey, kept telling me that the guide knew where they were located but I couldn’t help feeling he was just telling me what I wanted to hear.
We stopped for a break and then I felt a twig hit my shoulder we some force, looked up and there were the family of gorillas all feeding on berries in the trees. We were told to wait and they’d eventually come down. Ten minutes later the silverback led them down to the ground and our magical hour with the gorillas began.
It truly was like watching a family of slightly hairier humans feed, play and interact with each other. After 10 minutes of watching them the heavens opened and we were treated to a tropical rainstorm, this only added to the amazing experience. The usual rush to get on a raincoat was suspended in favour of just watching these amazing animals in their natural habit, a once in a lifetime event (for most) and one that you didn’t mind getting soaked to the core for.