Seeing Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat is right up there on my bucket list. For now I’ll have to be content with living vicariously through our lucky clients who go Gorilla Trekking in either Rwanda or Uganda and then send us their trip reports.

Liesl (who has been gorilla trekking) recently put an intensive East Africa safari together for Scott and Laurel Farrell and their friends.

Walked over by a big Silverback!

“Amazing, interesting, humbling, and rewarding and there is probably 10 more words that could be said.  The first day we went on an “easy” trek with M&M that ended up being more of a medium trek as the gorillas had moved into a steeper area.  We had to move about as they were also moving but had a great day and good weather.  The second day Laurel and I split off from M&M and went on a harder trek.  This one went toward the volcano and was steeper and denser jungle.

The gorillas ended up moving down the mountain and we had a heck of a time getting down to them.  Slipping and sliding.  Finally came around some vegetation and there was the Silverback just sitting and eating.  We spent the entire hour parked right there with him, a mother with a young, and several juveniles.  Laurel got some great video of the baby using mom as a play toy.  It would climb up her back and roll off the front and grin.  This went on almost the entire time we were there.

While mum feeds, a youngster clambers on her playing peek a boo.   Photo by Scott Farrell

This is also where the Silverback decided to walk over me.  I was sitting down, legs out, on some thick vegetation taking pictures.  Towards the end of our time he fed downhill and was even with me on the slope.  After a while he just walked toward me, put his left hand on my thigh and walked over me.  When I saw him coming I laid back to give him room but he decided it was easier to come through me.  It was interesting as he actually grabbed my pants and held on as he passed, pulling my leg with him until he lost grip.  I think it was his way of saying that he was boss.

This was taken just seconds before the Silverback stepped forward and over Scott.    Photo by Scott Farrell

The female guide was right there and she was smiling as big as I was.  Another guest got the whole thing on video and was supposed to meet us at the ranger station.  Unfortunately they didn’t stop so no video.  It started to rain shortly after heading back and we proceeded to get soaked.  We had good rain jackets and rented gaiters but when it rains that hard and you end up shin deep in muddy water for most the trek the rain just seeps in.  The trip out was definitely a challenge.  We were glad for a room with a fireplace that evening.   I had to talk M&M into doing the second gorilla trek and we were all happy we did.  We both saw such different behavior on the second day.

It was well worth the expense and we probably will never have another chance to see them.  Doing only one trek would not have done the gorillas justice.”

A Mountain Gorilla’s hands – so human.   Photo by Scott Farrell 
The group had to hike quite deep into the jungle before coming across the gorilla family. But it was so worth it.   Photo by Scott Farrell
With a reasonably good camera, it is possible to get this close up.    Phot0 by Scott Farrell