The most memorable travel experiences are often the ones that push you beyond your comfort zone. For me, trekking in search of gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is likely to become a staple dinner party tale for years to come.
Before arriving at Bwindi, I was already a little dubious about my capability of handling the trek. While travelling through Africa, I bumped into lots of people who had done it and the story from every single traveller I met was consistent. I was warned it would be challenging. Very challenging.
After a briefing, our group of eight set of in search of the Rushegura gorilla group.
Our trek was a constant 90-minute march uphill. It was challenging but not as difficult as I had anticipated.
Here’s the video of our trek:
We were very lucky to find the gorillas just beyond the crest of the first mountain.
Others who trekked the previous day followed the gorillas up and down three mountains and only managed to catch glimpses of them swinging through the trees.
We spent an hour filming and photographing. We were so close I had to put away my long lens.
Click below to see how close we were:
It took us 45 minutes to get down the mountain and by 1.30pm, we were the first group back at camp.
I had seen the amazing footage of traveller, John King, who walked out of his tent at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp into the arms of gorillas that had decided to pay the camp a visit. One gorilla proceeded to groom him while the silverback watched with interest just meters away.
Although I was staying at the same camp, in my wildest dreams I didn’t believe the gorillas would decide to check in while I was there. Neither did anyone else at the camp, including the staff! Even more unusual, they were looking for a place to sleep for the night and found it between my tent and the next!
Here’s what happened: