After rising early for a pre-trek briefing at the headquarters of Uganda’s wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, we were off! As we ventured through the thick rainforest, our guides used machetes to clear a path over mossy fallen logs and entangling vines, up and down hillsides dense with tropical growth. Occasionally the lead ranger would use his walkie-talkie to check in with the trackers who had left at first light, from whom he would get directions to the last known location of our gorilla family — the news that they’d been found brought a telling smile to his face. Our walking speed increased with excitement and anticipation, and when we met up with the trackers they led us in a hushed silence to see our first gorillas in the wild. Our one hour in close proximity to these remarkable creatures went by in a flash! The gorillas largely went about their business of eating, grooming, and playing with little regard for us, but we gazed in awe at these creatures who looked and acted so much like us. Finding and reaching them had been a challenge, but the reward far surpassed our expectations. Seeing magnificent mountain gorillas in the wild is one of the great travel experiences imaginable.
Photos and text by WT team member Ray Rodney, Mountain Gorilla Safari