Gorgeous Gorillas

Trip Start Jan 20, 2006
Trip End Mar 24, 2006

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Flag of Congo - The Dem. Repub.  ,
Friday, January 27, 2006

Today we met the Humba family. Humba, a large silverback with a rather large beer belly greeted us with a sly raise of one eyelid and went back to his sleepy repose. One of his two wives, Gato lay by his side with her baby Kanyarwunka. A young adult gorilla sat in quiet contemplation a metre or so from us and watched us watching him! While entranced by the spectacle in front of us, a cheeky mother and child were taking a keen interest in our bags, piled in the corner of the jungle clearing! One of our 5 guards spotted the impending theft and we span round to be greeted by Humbas second wife, Magori and her adorable baby Semabuka. Semabuka entertained us for several minutes by attempting to climb the thin bamboo stalks around us, but they couldn,t bear his weight so he kept falling off! It was difficult to stop yourself from laughing out loud, but we didnt want to wake Humba.

Humba and his family live in the Virunga National Park, in a part of the Congo called Albert National Park. Despite UK warning about travel over the border from Uganda to the Congo, we travelled for two hours in a 4x4 before reaching the Bukima tourist site. Another 40 minutes into the jungle led us to the gorilla family. Nothing can prepare you for the first sighting of a gorilla through the mass of leaves. It was so moving to just look into their eyes and watch their facial expressions. Photos just dont do them justice!

I saw the same sadness in the eyes of the Congolese as we drove through the eastern part of the country. Unsure of our white tourist faces after so many years of civil war, we were greeted by curious, but indifferent looks, as if each person had so much more on their mind than us passing through. The children, however, were very enthusiastic in their waving and their calls for pens!
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