The highlight of my trip to Virunga National Park was this encounter with mountain gorillas. I’ve always said that if I only had five days left on earth, I’d spend one of them trekking gorillas. I must have done 25 odd gorilla treks and this was among the best experiences I’ve ever had.
We spent time with two family groups of 7 gorillas, with three silver backs in each. There’s something about a 500 pound silverback coming up and sitting six feet away from you. Underneath their powerful sacral crest, you see a pair of brown eyes looking at you with a curiosity that shades into indifference. No doubt about it, in gorilla terms we’re tiny and insignificant.
The viewing groups are small — only four visitors at a time. So there’s a special intimacy. And tourists here are still a welcome novelty.
The baby gorillas in particular seemed fascinated by us. We left absolutely blown away by the personality of the encounters.