Gorilla & Chimps Safaris
One of the greatest experiences of my life to date are the times I have spent in the revered company of mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi in Uganda and the Virunga’s in Rwanda through the dense African forests is a magical experience. Nothing can prepare you for the impact of encountering a fully grown silverback male, up to three times the size of an average man (adult males can weigh up 450 pounds!), yet remarkably peaceable, playful and tolerant of human visitors participating in gorilla tracking. Standing still in awe as a full family of gorillas with toddlers playing and tumbling at your feet and the old stalwart maidens of the group stare you down. It is a privilege to spend an hour sitting with and watching these wild relatives. Only eights visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day.
We share the mountains and the lake with so many animals, but it's the chimps that inspire us; hard not to compare their daily lives, their movements, feeding, squabbling, foraging and grooming, with our own.
Anyone who doesn't believe in evolution needs to spend time with the chimps! It is both funny and wonderful to see how human the chimps are, down to the adult disagreements and the young ones somersaulting in the leaves.
Time spent with them is time away from everything else that is ordinary. The guides at Mahale have watched, over the years, as families have grown, alpha males have come and gone, bonds and friendships have been created and then broken, and then created again. They are not so different from us.
It's all acted out on this natural chimpanzee stage, and witnessing it is something we are privileged to be able to do every day.
I was extremely privileged to spend 1hr of quality time observing such behavior right before my very eyes. It was an experience I could never have dreamed possible, to feel such an affinity with them.