A day in the Wild with the Mountain Gorillas. As a Ugandan, I didn’t feel the urge of visiting the gorillas, as you may know, you don’t appreciate something because you have it or grew up knowing you can access it. Not until I joined the tourism industry and I saw foreigners so interested in these gentle giants, paying enormous amounts of money for a gorilla permit, that’s when I said I need to see what was so special in the Mountain Gorillas. I then put it on my bucket list. It didn’t take me longer than 4 months and opportunity knocked. Luckily, Ugandans pay a simple 250,000 UGX which is much lower than the 600 USD that foreigners pay so I took it, set a date, convinced a friend and we made arrangements.
A day in the wild with the mountain gorillas continued on this day, the 7th of December is a day I will never forget in my life. We slept in a cozy lodge next to the Rushaga sector gate. So as early as 6 am, we woke up to the biting coldness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The mist was thicker than I had ever seen in my life. I got ready in 20 minutes hurriedly excited for this moment to look into the eyes of this 400-pound creature. I had heard so many stories about these animals, on how they are very strong and it would need 10 well physically built men to wrestle one down so that thought kind of gave me jitters but I stayed strong. So after my cup of coffee, I met my friend and we drove to the park headquarters for our briefing at 7 am. We got a ranger and joined another group of people who had come for the same cause. On our trek, I noticed we were only 3 Ugandans and the other 5 trekkers were foreigners.
When all was set, we set off to the forest, walking through the thick bushes as we the further we went into the forest. It was exciting at first though tiring. Thank God I went during a dry season as the ground is unleveled and can be mushy and slippery during rainy times making movement harder than it already is. This hike needs someone to be physically fit. We hiked for about 3 hours before meeting the gorillas. It drizzled a little on the trek! Please remember this is a rainforest so the rain can be at any time of the year that it is why it is advisable to be ready.
We finally got our once in a lifetime experience with gorillas after 3 and a quarter-hour of searching. Our rangers were very knowledgeable about these animals and advised me not to look straight into their eyes as they would feel intimidated and might charge. We spent about an hour looking at these unique creatures that mind you are only found in 3 countries in the whole world. The silverback sat high above and it was evident he was the leader. This experience, everyone needs to have it. I now understand why people fly all the way to Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo just for this one hour of bliss. These are very strong but very amazing animals. I got some future tips from the guides in case of an unplanned encounter with these gorillas. We after traced our way back to the gate and parted ways with our ranger guide. Remember to keep calm when around these creatures as they have seen more tourists than you have seen them.
A day in the wild with the mountain gorillas ended like that.
Don’t wait any longer and book yourself this gorilla trekking permit or start saving up already to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda or Virunga National Park in Congo or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.