Watching a mountain gorilla from only metres away is a priceless real life experience. In the forest of Rwanda and in the company of these majestic creatures, Intrepid’s Dara Leonard enjoyed a precious hour that will last a lifetime…
“Within ten minutes of leaving the national park office we were engulfed by the forest. The guard at the front of the group hacked away at the bush and undergrowth while we followed closely behind, eagerly looking for tell-tale signs that the gorillas were nearby. After about an hour our guides spotted an area where the gorillas had slept the previous night, so we knew we were close. A few steps further and our small party of eight quickly stopped – peering through the brush we could see a female gorilla. After a lot of hushed ooohing and aaaghhing and frantically taking our first photos, suddenly a 6 foot Silverback appeared and walked right in front of us, followed by the rest of his family!
Silently we kept our distance and watched as the gorillas found a spot to hang out and rest. For the whole hour that we were allowed to spend with the group, I was completely overwhelmed and mesmerised by these amazing animals. The babies and adolescents were playing in the trees above us, while the Silverback was being groomed by the women in the group. I didn’t know where to focus the camera next since they were all so close and all so fascinating.
After our precious hour we walked back down the mountain to join up with the rest of our Intrepid group. We shared our tales and our photos, and while we agreed that the pictures were fantastic, we concurred that nothing can quite describe the incredible feeling of seeing these endangered mountain gorillas up close and personal!”