How's it going hive??
I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy 😊
So I have finally had some free time to go through my photos and write up a blog about our gorilla trek in Uganda and meet king Kong face to face!
We spent 3 nights camping a lake Bunyonyi
Which was our base to the Bwindi impenetrable forest which is home to the Ugandan Mountain Gorillas.
We were two weeks in on our East African overland camping safari, so we opted for an upgrade into a cabin at this campsite as Renee was allowed one upgrade on this camping trip and this turned out to be one of the best decisions on this trip!
Not only did we have to not put up and down our tent but our upgrade into a cabin turns out to be a mother fucking CAVE!!
How awesome is this set up. We instantly knew we were in for a super rad weekend.
OK enough of the campsite bla bla bla lets jump to the following morning.
We woke up around 4 am and it was still dark, we jumped into a van and started our journey to the Bwindi impenetrable forest!
It was about an hour and a half drive from the campsite.
It's a beautiful drive up the mountain above the valley below.
We stopped to watch the sun rise and the mission we are about to embark on set in.
The African mountain gorillas are only found in this mountain range that share a border between Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo.
These gorillas can not survive outside of this mountain range, so the only way to see a mountain gorilla in real life is to hike that ass through the jungle to hang out with a gorilla family in their natural habitat. And trust me you will not be disappointed.
We made our way to the entrance of the famous Bwindi impenetrable forest.
We were greeted by a machine gun welding guard. By now we have been decensitisd to machine guns and large automatic weapons as we have been traveling through East Africa for the past two weeks and there has always been a guard with a large gun close by.
We arrived at the meeting point and were greeted by a local tribe, it was 6.30 am and these guys were lit!!
They were singing and dancing which really set the mood for this once in a life time experience!
We got briefed on the different gorilla families that live on the Ugandan Mountain range then we met our guide.
Now all the money from the permit into the Bwindi impenetrable forest goes directly to the conservation of the mountain gorilla's and the guides and security get paid in the form of tips.
Also at the briefing they try and sell you a walking stick, politely decline as your guid can just cut down a walking stick with his machete during the trek.
We jumped back into the van and headed deep into the forest. Untill we came across two heavily armed security guards on the side of the road.
We all introduce ourselves and these guys are coming on the trek to protect us from buffalo, bush elephant and poachers.
As we are super close to the Congo boarder there has been instances in the past were tourists trecking for the gorillas in Congo have been kidnapped and held for ransom by Congo militia.
We tuck our socks into our pants to protect our legs from fire ants, then proceed to penetrate the Bwindi impenetrable forest!
Our guide leads the way with machete in hand carving a path through the forest. We follow behind in a single file line, with one security at the front and one at the back.
I stayed at the back of the line with the security guy behind me, I tried to make some jokes and talk to him but he had his game face on the entire time. Maybe my jokes were that bad or he didn't speak English... none the less the further we got into the forest the harder the trek became.
Back home in Australia we were like hell yeah let's do some bush walks to train up for the gorilla trek haha this trek was like nothing we could have pictured or prepared for. The terrain was very slippery as we climbed up and down mountains through thick bush. Slipping and sliding all the way.
We had to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt and gloves to protect us from the shrubs. It wasn't long Untill we were all covered in mud.
Nick came across this huge earth worm that he wrangeld.
The deeper we penetrated the forest the more humidity we encountered. I was dripping with sweat as we finally came to some flat ground as we crossed some little creeks.
The mud along the creek bed was like quick sand, if you missed a rock to stand on, your foot just sunk straight into the mud and need help to get pulled out just as Renee discovered very quickly haha.
My legs were burning and I was starting to become very exhausted but looking around my surroundings I just kept thinking push on cause not long now we will be face to face with these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
We were about an hour and 20 minutes into the hike and the guide said we are getting close now. He let out a huge grunt to let the gorillas know that we are on our way.
As we eventually get to the top of a hill we meet up with the gorilla family's guards.
Now every mountain gorilla family have 24 hour protect from security to protect them from poachers.
We put down our bags then the excitement set in as we could hear some russeling in the trees we look up and there was two gorillas up in the trees jumping from tree to tree.
We got out our cameras then slowly started to head towards them. Through some trees we were meet by this huge silver back gorilla just chilling with his family all around him.
It was so crazy he was just meters in front of us and he didn't mind us being there at all.
It didn't seem real at all this guy was massive!
The baby's were wrestling and their mum was keeping them in check, it was so cool to watch. We just sat down and took it all in.
Now they told us not to make direct eye contact with any of them as they see that as a threat but these guys seemed to be very chilled.
As we all sat there and observed these gorillas doing their everyday gorilla business the giant silver back stood up and started to charge directly towards Nick. Holy fuck, this all played out in slow motion as the guide said what ever you do don't move.. As this one tonne beast picked up the pace straight towards Nick eventually bowling him over and then disappeared into the bushes. Man that was crazy! All I could think of when this happened is "is he going to kill him???"
Like an absolute legend Nick got up and brushed himself of after his super close encounter and near death by silver back experience . He sure got the full mountain gorilla encounter that is not advertised in the brochure haha.
The rest of the family got up and followed the silver back into the bush, along the way a smaller gorilla walked right through jus and pushing her over to the ground this was just insane.
This all happened with in 10 minutes of getting there. The guide insured us it was safe and they just wanted to move on, so he said well let's follow them, Just don't get to close.
We quickly realised we were hanging out in their home and they could tear us apart at any moment. But it didn't take long for the gorillas to accepted us and they just went about their afternoon in the forest.
It was so amazing just walking around and hanging out with these beasts.
One baby gorilla slid down a tree right next to me then pushed past my legs to get by.
This family seemed to be pretty active today as they would chill for a bit then make their way further down the mountain.
We followed them for about an hour, which is the maximum amount of time you are allowed to spend with the wild gorillas. To limit human interaction and to not disturb their family to much.
I got face to face with King Kong!
Before we knew it our hour is up and we realised how far down the hill we had followed these guys. We said goodbye to the gorillas as the slowly disappeared into the forest. We slowly walked our way back up to collect our bags.
It was such an amazing buzz we couldn't wipe the smile off our faces.
What an amazing experience we just got to share with each other.
Quickly snapped this group shoot with our guides and the gorillas security.
Then we disappeared into the bush to make our trek back to some sort of civilisation or at least a road.
Just like our hike into the forest it hadn't changed. It was hot, slippery and muddy.
We stopped for a quick lunch that we had packed earlier that morning.
Then continued to trek through the hills until we finally made it back to the road where our van was waiting for us.
Covered in mud with a memory that will last a lifetime we headed back to the starting point and we all received certificates haha.
As we left the Bwindi inpenetrable forest we stopped at a shop for some water and tourist treasures as a keep sake from this adventure.
I waited at the van and a little kid, I'm talking about 5 or 6 years old, appeared from the bush on the other side of the road. He came up to me and asked if I had any water?
I grabbed a spare water bottle and filled it up for him, he was super stoked. We jumped back into the van and headed back to our campsite.
What an incredible adventure. It sure was a once in a lifetime experience!
I can't believe how close we got to these wild gorillas.
I hope one day you too will be able to go on a trek for the mountain gorillas.
I have nearly finished putting together a video from this adventure so I'll upload that in the next week or so. Stay tuned for that 😊
As always happy travels 😊⛰️🦍
I have also posted this on my travel bog so for more travel blogs check out