Africa

Gorilla tracking in Uganda

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We continue with the stories of trip to Uganda that we did in October 2012. The day I will describe below was one of the most impressive of the trip and at the same time one of the most beautiful of our traveling life, since we made the desired gorilla tracking in Uganda. We enter the Bwindi National Park to keep track of the last specimens of mountain gorillas that live on the planet.

After a night of rain, the day dawned without rain but with all the mountains covered with thick fog. We leave our band and we went up to the dining room of community camp for breakfast. It seemed that morning it wasn't going to rain and that was good news because we were waiting for a day that could be very long.

The hotel prepared the bags with take-away food. Then we rented a wooden stick to use as a cane for $ 5 to help us during the tracking and we went to the meeting point of the national park. When we arrived at 7:30 am, almost all the people who were going to participate in the tracking were already there that day, all prepared for the big moment.

We were distributed by groups and each one was assigned a family of gorillas to track that day. From Buhoma three families of gorillas can be traced: the Habinyanja, the Rushegura and the Mubare. The latter is the one we visited. It was the first that began receiving visits in 1993 and, therefore, is more accustomed to the eyes of humans. The rangers who came with us explained some basic behavior standards: maintain a minimum distance of seven meters and, if a gorilla approached, we had to remain still, not make noise during the visit and always follow the instructions of the rangers.

Each family receives a group of eight visitors per day. However, a couple of American retirees from our group decided not to show up since the day before they had already tracked the gorillas and had ended up very tired. So there were only six tourists: a Japanese photojournalist, a German family of three and the two of us. On the other hand, the father of the German family had a few days with gastroenteritis and was not fit, but he did not want to miss that experience for nothing in the world. In addition, we were accompanied by a couple of rangers armed with rifles, two new UWA recruits and a total of three porters that we hired at the entrance to help us along the path, which could be very hard.

Before starting, they explained that a few hours before another group of rangers He had left in search of our family of gorillas from the point where they had been found the day before. Despite that, there is never full guarantee to find them. As we were told, some groups have come to find the gorillas in just fifteen minutes and others have taken 12 hours.

Little by little we began to enter the national park. The trail was very beautiful and the jungle lush. Tracking gorillas is not exactly like hiking, since the roads are barely marked. Progress is made where the guides believe the gorilla family will be. So you have to go over fallen trees, make your way through the jungle based on machetes and walk on bloodied roads. It was not an easy road but I enjoyed as a dwarf for the first time on the trip. Despite the tiredness and hardships of the road, he had a smile on his face from ear to ear. I was having a pipe making the goat through the jungle.

Suddenly, the whole group stopped and the guides signaled us to leave the backpacks and wands behind. The gorillas were a few meters away. We climbed stealthily up a slope full of bushes and among the dense weeds we saw three gorillas eating in a place surrounded by vegetation. One of the rangers He cleaned the weeds surrounding one of the gorillas and there it was exposed so we could admire it.

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