If a genie offered you one wish to use on choosing a wildlife experience anywhere in the world, I would recommend this: visiting the wild mountain gorillas in tropical jungle of Uganda or Rwanda. A few years back I was lucky enough to see them and it truly was a special experience. I will remember it vividly for years. We were in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to be more exact. And from what I remember it was most of a three hour hike/trek through heavy jungle to find the place where the gorillas were last seen the previous day.
Anyway, last year things unfolded slightly differently for a group of travelers from the USA.
John King, an American wildlife photographer and conservationist, has been travelling the world for the past four years with his wife to experience Earth’s remaining wild environments. And in Uganda, expecting to go on a long hike to find the gorillas, he instead got a treat of monumental proportions, right in the Bwindi camp. He simply had to get out of bed and wander towards the ablution block.
The rare encounter caught on camera shows Mr King sitting beside a trail when a family of wild mountain gorillas joined him. Intrigued by their fellow primate, three babies, a female and the silverback decide to sit down right behind him. Two of the gorillas then start touching the wildelife enthusiast’s hair and sniff him in an apparent attempt to groom him. “I just feel like one of the gang,” Mr King is heard saying.
A voice from behind the camera explains it could be his black T-shirt which is fooling the primates into thinking he is one of them.
After a few minutes the band of gorillas seem to get bored and are led off by the most dangerous and territorial of the group – the silverback.
Bwindi is home to roughly half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas which are an endangered species. Very occasionally young gorillas approach humans but local rangers at the reserve said interaction between wild gorillas and humans is virtually unheard of.
Male gorillas can weigh around 400lbs (180kgs) with the average male eating up to 50 pounds (22kgs) of food a day.
If you are interested in going on an Epic Journey like this, let us know. There are currently 2 places left for those who are keen to go at the last minute! OR get planning for 2013.
Uganda – Primates and Big Game Journey
20 – 31 May 2012 (11 nights)
Price: $ 7275.00 per person sharing (last minute price $6911.00 pp)