Nathan, our intrepid design and marketing guru recently came back from Uganda having spent some time with the famous mountain gorillas. He takes us through some of the highlights of his awesome trip below!
"Hell yes!" was my immediate response when I was asked if I wanted to join one of our tours heading out to Uganda to complete one of the world famous gorilla treks. I'd always heard about this ultimate wildlife experience but I'd never thought I'd get the chance to do it myself, but here I was standing at the visitors centre in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda, with our guide going through the initial briefing.
It was a beautifully sunny morning but we knew that the weather could change within an instant and so we were fully prepared with daypacks, rainjackets, walking boots and gaiters (or double-socked if like me you had forgot to buy any gaiters). There were seven fellow adventurers in my group and we were heading off into the forest to try to find a family of 15 gorillas which included 3 babies. We had a 45 min drive to our section of the forest and we were all hoping for a decent length trek as we were all up for a bit of adventure.
Into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
We met our porters and we were off! On the drive I remember thinking how "impeneterable" the forest could be? I mean there are groups going into it all the time! After 15 minutes of trekking my question was answered as our guide hacked through thick bush with his handy machete and we clambered up and down ravines as if we were the first explorers into the forest.
2-hours in and I began to wonder if we were going to be the 1% that were unlucky enough not to find the gorillas, however my porter kept telling me that the guide knew where they were and we'd be there soon. Another 30 minutes later and he was still telling me that they knew where they were but I felt he was just telling me what I wanted to hear. We then came to a clearing and rested for a bit; the guide told us to give it 20 minutes and they'd come down from the tree tops. We all looked up and there they were, our family of gorillas up in the canopy having a quick meal of a few berries.
A close encounter with Uganda's Gorillas
A couple of days before we'd been on the chimp trek and it was pouring with rain - the chimps, understandably, remained up in the shelter of the canopy for the entire time we were with them, so I was hoping that scenrio wasn't going to be repeated today and that the gorillas would soon descend. Thankfully, within a few minutes the silverback made his way down the tree and the rest followed. Then began our magical hour with the family! Within 10 minutes however it began to pour with rain! Our guide questioned if we wanted to return to the porters to get our rainjackets but we were all more focused on seeing these amazing animals in their natural habitat and we didn't want to miss a thing, especially after the disappointment with the chimps a few days before.
The family soon found shelter under a big tree as we all gathered around and watched the mothers cuddle up to the youngsters. The silverback was in the centre of the group with the other young males fooling around in the branches above.
Our hour came to an all-too-soon end and it was time for us to head off back to the visitors centre. We couldn't stop talking about the experience on the drive back, we really couldn't have asked for anything more. Everything fell into place perfectly and even the torrential downpour added to this amazingly wonderful experience.
If you'd like to enjoy your own magical experience with gorillas, check out our tours which include a gorilla trek...