Not everyone gets to see Africa

Trekking to the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Posted by Claire Gillman on March 11, 2014

Serious Silverback

Serious Silverback


Claire just feet away from a silverback

Claire just feet away from a silverback

At about 8am, Jones, the Ugandan Wildlife ranger gave us the briefing, and then we set off (us and a Dutch couple and their 22-year-old daughter). We descended about 1,000 metres down vertiginous slopes that we’re treacherous under foot. After crossing a small river (getting very wet feet), we started up the other side but. Luckily we didn’t have to climb/scramble through the dense vegetation for long before the trackers led us to the gorilla family. Suddenly, there they were, so close that it took your breath away.  There were three silverbacks in this group; all were massively powerful but the dominant male dwarfed the others, as he was easily the size of a small wardrobe. When he moved down the bank, he snapped a thick log just by stepping on it. There were also some playful youngsters in the group as well as nursing mothers. In the main, they were disinterested in  our party, unless someone made an unusual or unexpected sound, at which point they would look around at you quizzically. At one point, one of the large silverbacks climbed a tree next to us and rained down urine, fortunately narrowly missing our party.  The expressions on the gorillas faces and the look in their eyes are so,like our own that it is almost unnerving. We were simply mesmerised by their actions and proximity, and the viewing hour flew past. As if on time, the lead silverback followed by the rest off the troupe moved off into the dense foliage. We then started the brief descent, the river crossing and the long, steep trek back up the other hillside.although it was tough going, we were buoyed by our experience and we all remained cheerful.  What an amazing and very special experience. We feel privileged to have been so close to these magnificent and endangered wild animals.

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11 Responses to “Trekking to the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda”

  1. Jean Alger-Green says:

    Fantastic!! So pleased you got to see a family group. Not so sure about the urine episode! xxxxx

  2. Kim brown says:

    Wow!thats Lucy’s dream Claire…all she has ever talked about since she was three ! Hope you had the loo roll handy for the unexpected wee !
    Glad to hear you’re feeling all warm and unnecessary.

    Love you lots , K xxx

  3. Joy the geologist says:

    Jings, crivens! It’s brilliant that you got to see them & so close. I’ve seen a similar family group in a zoo in Kent & that was pretty cool too. xxx

  4. Dave says:

    Not wishing to sound too trite; but Nick must have felt very much at home amongst the primates.
    What a fantastic experience. We’re enjoying following your progress and as always send you our love.
    Dave, Jo and the kids x

  5. elizabeth hurry says:

    you are having fun aren’t you? how wonderful :-) x

  6. Nick says:

    Brings back memories…I am glad they are still there !

  7. Sue Jones says:

    Really enjoying your adventures and looking forward to next post. What great experiences you’re having. X

  8. Nicola H says:

    So glad that you are both having such exciting adventures and experiencing the wildlife at such close quarters, I am enjoying being an armchair traveller.

  9. Robert Yates says:

    Amazing photos – told you about talking dolly shoes though.

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