Trip Start Aug 26, 2011
56Trip End Oct 27, 2011
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Where I stayed
Woke up at 4am, even though alarm set for 4.30 due to excitement. Quick breakfast of egg and sausages with toast and strong coffee, before being picked up in 4x4's and taken to the Volcanoes National Park. Waited about 45 mins, during which time the locals, who are also involved in the conservation of the gorillas, put on a display of traditional dance.
Got in a group of 8 and was introduced to our guide, before loading back onto the 4x4's and driven about 45 minutes to the foot of an ancient volcano; here the trek began.
My prayers had obviously been heard yesterday as today has been fine and clear. It was hard going up the mountain, the altitude and thick undegrowth didn't help matters. After about 4 hours or so trekking we finally got the heads up that we were nearing a family of mountain gorillas called the Ntambara group.
It was incredible, I really cannot describe the experience. There were two silverbacks in this group with four females and two mischievous babies. They were stunning and the hour I spent with them was over before I knew it, it felt like five minutes tops. I have taken a ridiculous number of photos and am sifting through them for the best ones. The babies werre playing with each other, climbing up and then jumping off low branches, or the branches simply collapsed under their weight before they had a chance to jump. It's unusual to have a family with two silverbacks, but these are brothers and live in harmony within the group.
Before I knew it, it was time to start the descent, which went considerably quicker than the ascent! I wish it was possible to spend more time with them.
Literally got back to the accommodation and turned on my laptop to check out my photos, i'm sat in the bar with now semi dry mud covering my hiking boots and a fair propportion of my trousers. Got the rest of the day to myself, once I've looked at the photos i'll grab a shower and maybe some kip!
Photos will follow...