Monday, March 9, 2015

Up close with the Gorillas

Two weeks ago, my guests, and I spent 2 days tracking the Gorillas up in the Volcanoes national park, an adventure of a lifetime. This is in consideration that we are actually seeing the last of the mountain Gorillas. For me, it was one of the many trips here, but for my guests, it was their first, and as it turned out, was a lifetime experience. The two guests with me are Kym and Tonya, owners of Australian based company, Messages on Hold. they are here on a mission to top up their collection of African wildlife photos for their book, Africa on Safari, set to be launched in London in October. the book is on unique and different angles in wildlife photography. You can see details of the book here…/63…/africa-on-safari-the-book…

Gorillas are great example of tourism saving wildlife.  Deforestation and the region’s growing population could well have wiped out the less-than-800 mountain gorillas left in the wild in this region shared by Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. In Rwanda now, up to 80 guests a day pay upwards of US$750 each to trek through intensely rugged rain forest for up to four hours in order to spend 60 precious minutes in their midst.  Without those tourist dollars, it’s unlikely the species could last - man would simply take over their habitat as the demand for settlement to accommodate the growing human population increases. In fact Rwanda has the highest population density per square kilometre at over 400. Your visit to this park is not only great adventure for you, as a lifetime experience, but beneficial to the conservation of the Gorillas. The local residents, some of whom are poachers-turned conservationist can now see the benefits of the Gorillas, and as a result are now joining hands with their government to protect them.

Our adventure was no different from that of other guests, except that we were assigned a private group, courtesy of our host guide, Kirenga, the chairman of Rwanda Guides Association. This way, we were able to take as many photos without being in anybody’s way or someone coming into your shot. we visited two Gorilla groups, one was Hirwa and the other Amahoro.

Going to see the Gorillas also provides one, a way to experience the culture of the people of Rwanda. You visit will be incomplete until you have visited some of the genocide memorial sites. The one in Kigali offers more in-depth information about this event, which remains a significant mark in history of Rwanda.

Our visit wasn’t without adventures. One of the guests got a blister on one of his feet, which worsened by the physically demanding climb. At the end of our second day of tracking, we had to check out of our lodge and travelled to Kigali, where we took the guest to King Faisal Hospital where he was attended. He came out and remained to nurse, carefully his foot and managed to see the remaining 10 days of their safari end well.

If you would like to follow our trail for a life time experience, then kindly get in touch.

My two guests gets a close up shot of one of the Gorillas

One of the females from Hirwa group with her baby

Here Tonya,  waves in excitement as we climbed down the mountain after successful trek

Two babies sit together to stay warm on this cold morning

Kym on a face profile shot of the gorilla

This is Munyinya, the dominant silverback int eh Hirwa group

Feeding time

Family relaxing time

Here Tonya, makes a wise decision and puts here camera away so as to marvel at this super ape.


Balancing act. don't try it at home if not used to!

More traditional balancing skills


Is that how high we climbed? Kym seems to ask.

A pause before entering the forest

sometimes you needs these guys to give you a hand as you climb

This is how its when you are a model int this jungle

The entire crew here, were all at our service, and this is the effort that goes into the whole adventure

i didn't want anything escaping my capture

heavily laden with our gear


Hwi Suh said...

great photos. glad to connect with you.
I want to go there again!!

Hwi from Road scholar.

Hwi Suh said...

good to see mountain Gorilla which I have wanted for myself.

I want to gl there again !!