We must have trekked for about an hour and a half until we came to a stop. The air was crisp, cool but damp. The smell of the vegetation up there is unbelievable. A cross between eucalyptus, citrus and herbs. Magnificent! I stood inhaling the air deeply, catching my breath.
As one conservationist told me, trekking at 2700m is the equivalent of oxygen deprivation. After my epic 10-hour round-trip hike in Sri Lanka I told myself at the start of the trip that anything is possible following that feat.
After dumping all our bags except for cameras we walked through into a clearing and there they were. I stood still taking in the scene not really able to fathom where I was and what I was seeing.
Susa group is the larges of all the groups n Volcanoes National Par, Rwanda. Thirty-nine members – an enormous Silver back, many females and lots of babies. Every time you turn around there is something in front or behind you.
As good as the rangers are, I should say that we really were far to close to the apes and this is not good from a conservation point. We (tourists) put their lives at risk every time we are in the same area because of disease transmission. We can unwittingly pass on common colds or worse. Being 4m not 7m away should not be allowed. We all did try to move back when the babies came bounding towards us, but gorillas don’t adhere to these regulations and sometime you can’t always get far enough away.
I can’t help but feel these regulations are allowed to slip so that tourists tip well at the end after an fantastic experience.
There are no words to describe how I felt for the next hour amongst these stunning animals. They were gentle, peaceful and remarkably well habituated. I went bananas with my camera and iPad…here are some highlights with probably the best selfie I’ll ever take in my life!!