We just returned from our most recent trip to the Dark Continent. This trip was and aberration from our normal trips down the Zambezi river with our sister company Global Descents. On this trip we focused on Southern Kenya and Uganda. After an incredible visit to the Masai Mara Plains and Nairobi, we made our way to the beautiful, lush landscapes of Uganda. It has been almost 10 years since we visited this amazing place and after this trip we realized that was far too long. The first part of our Ugandan adventure was in the Bwindi Inpenetrable Forest near the Rwandan and Congo border. A short 1 hr. flight from the Entebbe airport delivered us to a small dirt airstrip deep in the forest. The views from 10,000 feet were amazing! Rolling hills of dense, bright green vegetation comfortably covered by a soft layer of mist. Very few inhabitants over all with a bit of terrace style farms and small clusters of homes. From the airstrip we started a 2 hr. drive through villages toward the border.
Driving through Eastern and Southern Africa in general, but especially Uganda is a great experience and it’s all about the children. Kids love to see Muzungos (white foreigners) and are always so curious and anxious to communicate with what is typically the only English word they know, “hallo”. Absolutely adorable and always with smiles from ear to ear! Upon reaching the National Park, we were floored by the beauty and density of the forest. The following morning, we embarked on our trek into the dense forest in search of the gorilla group which we were permitted to see that day. The regulations here are very stringent and followed specifically in order to protect the gorillas. There were 3 different groups of gorillas known to reside in the area and a group of tourists, no larger than 8 people, were permitted to attempt to find the the group with the assistance of an armed guard, tracker and guide. The walk was not as strenuous and long as we were prepared for, or at least that was the case on our particular day. After about a 2 hour hike into the forest, we were informed by the Tracker that the group of gorillas was not far. We then proceeded, with the help of machetes, down a steep and through an extremely dense part of the forest until we had our first sighting.
These are absolutely amazing animals. They were very peacefully enjoying their morning in the dense vegetation as we made our first contact. The adults were lounging and eating leaves and branches while the juveniles were playing and showing off a little. We never got closer than about 20 feet or so and stood and observed. They are so human like with every gesture that it is truly incredible. We were able to stay with them and follow them through the forest for about an hour before it was time to leave. These are all rules implemented by the National Park and will hopefully help to preserve these groups of gorillas and the tourism to the area for many years. The entire group agreed that this was by far, one of the greatest experiences for each and every one of us. If you ever have the opportunity, please don’t pass up an encounter with this endangered species. Visit Global Descents today to learn more about these incredible trips.