Shhhhhhh.....there's gorillas in the mist!!

Ruhengeri Travel Blog

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With much hassle and cost I set out in the footstep of Diane Fossey to see the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. We left in the morning to the entrance of the Parc National des Volcans to receive our briefing and be split into small groups. I was told the gorilla group I'd be seeing was creatively called "Group 13". It turned out this was a good group since it had 21 members and very picky females. About 6 years earlier, so I was told, the silverback of the group died. The females rejected 2 other silverbacks before accepting the current silverback that leads the group. After the briefing we headed into the park to the area where our gorillas were to be found. Over an incrediably bumpy road we ended up in a small village and then started the hike into the forest.

who's that over there
First through terraced crops and then over a rock wall and into the pristine forest. The actual trekking was fairly easy and only a little muddy. After about an hour we found ourselves perched on the side of a mountain the guide ahead of us squatting and whispering.

I couldn't hear what he was saying and didn't know why we were stopped and then I looked up, right in front of us crossing our path was a huge female gorilla who could care less that we were there. After she crossed we went a little higher and then the whole family came into view. The silver back looked at us briefly in the beginning and then decided to head further down the mountain side and out of view in search of better food. The females and babies on the other hand were perfectly content lounging and playing right in front of us.

lunch time
You're only allowed an hour to see the gorillas and then they have to be left alone for the rest of the day. The hour went by fairly quick as we watched the creatures just hanging out in the wild right in front of us. The babies would wrestle, the females would eat and chill out, occasionally looking at us and occasionally looking at the kids. It was really a majestic sight, one that I won't soon forget, just totally awesome to see such huge and magnificent animals up close and personal. To think that at one time there were hundreds of Gorillas in the wild, unfortunately today that isn't the case due to poachers killing a good majority of them.

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whos that over there
who's that over there
lunch time
lunch time
young one having fun
young one having fun
away they go..
away they go..
Ruhengeri
photo by: vickie-lou