July 16, 2024

Trekking mountain gorillas

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a bit of a blur. Tania had the worst stomach bug of the trip and after we’ve moved to the Kinigi Guest House 300m before the Park headquarters, she went to bed for the rest of the day. I went to town to buy oil for the bikes and some snacks for the gorilla trekking trip. In town I got swarmed by kids everywhere I stopped. Some even got on my bike and started it and started hooting the horn. Another guy was amazed by our trip when I told him. He said he has never heard of this kind of travel. The people are really friendly here and try very hard to make you feel welcome in Rwanda.

Back at the camp I serviced the bikes and we spent the rest of the afternoon watching CNN. We haven’t watched TV in years (we don’t have one at home) and it was weird seeing the crazy stuff going on around the globe. We are really lucky in South Africa and should stop complaining! 😉

Earlier when we arrived at Kinigi we saw a Land Rover Disco with an offroad caravan. I told Tania it must be South Africans. We met George and Alice from Rondebosch in Cape Town and they invited us to drive with them to the trailhead today (as we didn’t have a lift yet). The also offered us tea and cake and fresh water from the caravan. They have been on the road since February and are travelling through East Africa for a year. George also gave us valuable info on campsites in Uganda and Kenya after we had burgers and chips with them in Musanze just now. We had a great time with them and wish them all the best for the rest of their trip through Tanzania and Mozambique.

We got up at 5h30 and went for breakfast. Tania was feeling a bit better, but I felt SO sorry for her as she has been looking forward to seeing the gorillas for months now. We couldn’t believe the timing and I wish there was something I could do for her. After being assigned into groups of eight we started walking around 8h00. I will hand over to Tania now to tell the story of the walk and the big black apes:

The first part of the gorilla trip involved quite a steep walk from where you park your car up a tiny track past some houses and many potato fields. All the kids come out to say “hello” and wave and some are quite advanced – saying: “give me one dollar!” and it seems as if shoes are quite important here as some asked for shoes. We walked for about one hour up the hill when we reached a thick stone wall that marks the beginning of the Volcanoes National Park. Beyond this wall it is thick lush jungle vegetation, really awesome! I struggled a bit up the hill as I haven’t been able to eat anything lately bit eventually I made it – phew!

A short while beyond the wall the ranger informed us that the gorillas are very close by (I was very glad to hear this!). We had to trek through some dense jungle to follow them as they were still on the move, eating bamboo, before siesta time. Sometimes they even came from the back almost brushing up against us as they walked past. This was the Ugenda family and had 12 members, which included a few babies and two male silverbacks. It was amazing to see them in the wild roaming around free. We spent an hour with them just watching them and enjoying the scenery. They are so much like humans!

Gorillas
Francois and silverback

Tania and Francois with gorillas

Silverback gorilla
The time went by too fast and it was sad to leave again – what an amazing experience and as soon as we left I already wanted to go back again! The walk down was much easier than the up and by about 13h30 we were back at the guest house. We also got our diplomas in gorilla trekking :o)

View coming down
Definitely the highlight of the trip so far and we feel very fortunate to have had time to spend with these amazing creatures!

Gorillas 3

10 thoughts on “Trekking mountain gorillas

  1. WOW!!!! Ongelooflike voorreg en ek is so bly vir julle part. Ek hoop julle maak baie notas, want julle ervaringe moet geboekstaaf word.Om te dink julle het die gorillas in lewende lywe gesien!! Tania ek hoop jy is gou weer tip-top – julle het seker medikasie vir die goggas. Coke sal jou weer skop gee nê? Pas jul goed op en voorspoed. Groete uit die Kaap.

  2. !!!!! 😀
    Wat ‘n ervaring! Jammer jy’t nie lekker gevoel, Tania, maar taai soos jy is, sou jy enigiets oorleef net om jou droom waar te maak. Ek glo na ‘n middag en aand se rus, gaan jy 100% beter voel. Sterkte! Ek’s mal oor die foto van julle twee met die gorillas in die agtergrond. En, gorilla-man, jy moet mooi kyk na Tania, sy’s al dogter wat ek het!
    Lekker aand! Liefde, E

  3. Hallo julle twee – baie jammer om van tania se ongerief te hoor, dit was (amper) swak tydsberekening deur die virus! Maar julle het hom ook op sy plek gesit ! Lekker ry môre en kyk mooi na julle self. Ons geniet die trip !!

  4. Hi julle, baie nice foto’s, veral daai eerste enetjie is vreeslik cute! Kan mens so naby aan die gorilla’s kom? Ek sou bietjie nervous gewees het om hulle van so naby af te bekyk! 😉 Maar dit lyk pretty awesome! Jammer om te hoor jou maag gee jou ook grief, lyk vir my ons Pretoorse se gestel like dit nie altyd in Afrika nie! 😉 Hoop jy sterk vinnig weer aan! Baie groete, Martin & Amelia

  5. Haai Julle,
    Ons volg julle allipad en beny julle !! Tanie, bly jy voel weer honki dori !! Bakgat foto’s asook die meegaande verslag !! Francois, met jou baard lyk dit amper of jy verlore familie gaan opsoek het – Ha ha
    Voorspoed, sterkte en geniet elke oomblik !!
    Groete vanuit VSA

  6. Haai Julle,
    Ons volg julle allipad en beny julle !! Tanie, bly jy voel weer honki dori !! Bakgat foto’s asook die meegaande verslag !! Francois, met jou baard lyk dit amper of jy verlore familie gaan opsoek het – Ha ha
    Voorspoed, sterkte en geniet elke oomblik !!
    Groete vanuit VSA

  7. AMAZING!!! Definitely on the bucket list 🙂 What a magical trip so far – safe and happy travels for the rest!

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