wander in rwanda

rwanda gorillaThe wonders of Rwanda suddenly become very real when you trek through the jungle to come face to face with the noble mountain gorillas. This real life experience left Intrepid’s Jo Edgley almost lost for words…

“I always knew that it would be amazing to see the mountain gorillas of Africa, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what an impact they would have on me.

Our small group of seven headed off on the walk up the mountain with much anticipation. We were accompanied by our guide, two army personnel (in place to protect us and the gorillas from poachers), and some local porters to help carry our wet weather gear and water. Whilst it’s not really necessary to have people carry things for us, the employment of local porters helps lessen the amount of illegal logging and reduce poaching because it provides an alternative source of income.

We were told that the group of gorillas we were looking for may take up to two hours to reach. Two trackers were already in front of us and in radio contact with our guide. Fortunately for us it only took us 45 minutes to find our family group, as there are only eight gorilla groups permitted to be viewed and a group is visited only once a day.

The group we visited was made up of 4 females, 2 babies, 2 adolescent males and the biggest silver back on the mountain… he was huge! It is hard for me to describe my feeling, sitting only a short distance away from the family. The babies were making mock charges at us, the females munched away on young bamboo leaves and the big silver back preened himself as if we were not even there. It was so surreal. It felt like I was living a Discovery Channel documentary, so much so that at one stage I questioned if they where actual gorillas or men dressed up in gorilla suits!

Before I knew it our 45 mins was up and we had to leave. It was hard to walk away, but I made a promise to myself to try to return one day soon.

The future of the mountain gorilla is constantly under threat due to poachers, unstable governments, border disputes and warfare in the areas they live. By visiting the gorilla you not only get to help spread the conservation message and hopefully assist in their protection, but you will get the biggest warm and fuzzy feeling you are ever likely to experience!”

Tour Rwanda with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Gorillas, Chimps and Game Parks – 16 days
Gorillas to Vic Falls – 39 days

* photo by Dara Leonard – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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2 comments

Hi Jo. Great to read your experience here on the web site after travelling with you to see the gorillas. An experience of a lifetime for sure and spot in with everything you say, except for maybe that bit about it beng surreal. Maybe if they gorillias were holding a dinner party. Thanks for the opportunity Intrepid. After this I went on and did the Walking with Maasai trip and I think iit could have been an even more amazing experience – if that is possible.

Wow this is a dream of mine come true. Just reading this gives me goose bumps. I hope to one day experience the same. You are very lucky to witness this beauty of nature and the connection between humans and the mountain gorillas. Thanks so much for sharing and re-lighting the passion. Smiles :-)

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