Leaving behind the village and lush mountainous countryside, we entered the jungle. The vegetation started to grow thick as we weaved our way along the narrow muddy path. I couldn’t believe that we had made it here to finally go gorilla trekking in Uganda. We had been walking for around 1.5 hours and it was now beginning to get steep and slippery.
Originally written by Rach (Veryhungrynomads.com)—Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – How to book it
Our guide stops our group and asks us to get out our cameras, the gorillas were very near. Passing our trekking sticks to our support crew, we scramble down a dense area, clutching at tree branches and vines to stay upright. Suddenly, five dark figures appear in the tree ahead of us.
Our trackers point out the female and her baby clung to her neck near the base of the tree as two juvenile gorillas were stretched out on branches, appearing not to have a care in the world.
A rustling sounds further up the tree as the sun shifts, branches part and I lay eyes on the mountain gorilla I had hoped to see today. I was looking at a huge silverback gorilla. His back was to us at this stage, yet his size and unmistakable silver markings across his enormous back gave me goosebumps.
Our guides slash some of the vegetation for each of us to take a seat on the muddy slopes of the jungle. We sat and admired these beautiful animals.
After a few minutes, the silverback effortlessly turns around in the tree and continues pulling fruits and leaves and chomps away. His size is intimidating, yet his face seems gentle. He didn’t seem to notice us, his interest was only to eat. David, our guide tells us that a gorilla of this size will eat up to 25kg of food each day. 99% of this is fruits, leaves, and vegetation with the remaining 1% being safari ants.
It seemed a little surreal. I felt humbled to be able to observe these mountain gorillas in their home. Then and there, I wanted time to stay still, I wanted to bottle this feeling of awe I was experiencing. Next to me was Marty and I turn to face her, her smile said it all. She felt the same.
Suddenly, the silverback hangs out his huge arms and climbs down the tree in seconds. We could hear him grunting and moving through the forest, yet we could no longer see him. Our trackers ask us to follow them. We move quickly behind our two guards carrying rifles for safety. They cut more vegetation to reveal the big guy sitting on the ground, back to us and eating again. This was close, this was amazing.
Our guide tells us to get any last photos of the silverback, who now appeared twice the size as before. We held our breath as we were all quietly willing him to turn around. It wasn’t to be.
Throwing his huge hands in front of him, he darted off into the thick trees. At the same time he departs, we catch a glimpse of the female sitting hidden in the jungle, close by our group. She lets out a quiet grunting sound as she slowly makes a move and disappears too.
In total, we spent almost an hour quietly observing these gentle giants. We re-grouped and followed our guides to make our way out of the jungle, the same way we had entered. I admired once again the stunning green countryside surrounding the forest, feeling accomplished and smiling from ear to ear.
Before I went gorilla trekking in Uganda, I had many questions. Now that I’ve had this experience (and loved it), let me tell you everything you need to know if you’d like to do this too.
To read the full experience by Rach, follow this link Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – How to book it