"Normally when you are woken before the sun has had a chance to rise, you are usually annoyed. Though when you are woken early in Rwanda at the anticipation of seeing the Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat you are instantly filled with excitement.

That feeling you get when this day is going to be extra special....

The first thing noticeable is their size. Seeing them at such close range a feeling of immense respect grows..."

The Start

Normally when you are woken before the sun has had a chance to rise, you are usually annoyed. Though when you are woken early in Rwanda at the anticipation of seeing the Rwandan Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat, you are instantly filled with excitement. That feeling you get when this day is going to be extra special.

Being taken to the meeting point the energy is infectious. Everyone is on a high waiting for their chance to experience Africa’s most enchanting and endangered animal. 

Information is presented about the different families in the mountains, celebrations about new members in the family groups and everyone hoping they get to visit one of the groups with a young gorilla in it. 

Looking at these pictures everyone in the group is happy to see that there are new gorillas being born to help this species. Though also coming to the quick realisation that there is still so few of these beautiful animals here in the mountains. Their livelihood is still so fragile and threatened.

As the leader is giving you the information on what to expect on the hike, you can see their passion and love for these animals is enormous. Faith is restored when you can see they really are fighting to make sure these animals are protected.

We are divided into groups and taken to our starting points. 

The Moment

There are no words for how fantastic the porters are on these treks, dealing with slow walkers, helping with bags and stinging nettles, you can see these guys know their stuff. Most of all they know these gorillas and they know how to find them.

After a 45 minute hike we are told they are just ahead. Instantly your heart rate goes up, excitement is an understatement. Taking in new scents within the jungle, starting to realise that you are getting closer.

Then at that moment, just through the trees you see them. Two females sitting there slowly eating while a small infant plays around them, jumping on vines and throwing leaves at them.

They looked so quiet and peaceful. The peace though was short lived as a massive male silverback charged through the bushes from behind them and settled himself between us and them. Heart rates went up for a different reason this time, however the guides and porters kept everything under control and mimicked noises to keep the situation calm. 

In the distance is another two black backs are lounging with another female and an adolescent.

There is a constant click of cameras as people are amazed at what they are seeing at such a close distance. However after a few moments the camera gets put down and we sit appreciating exactly what it is we are seeing.

The first thing noticeable is their size. Seeing them at such close range a feeling of immense respect grows. How large they really are, then the eyes, they are the eyes of very wise, deep animals.

The similarities between them and us humans. The little gestures that seem so familiar and then to realise how closely related we really are.

The hour given with these creatures goes so fast. Before you know it the porters are moving you along. 

The End

Once we are back at the bottom of the mountain and all the different groups come back together. It is the start of swapping stories and unique experiences.

Never knowing what to expect from these magnificent creatures, is all part of the experience. What I can guarantee though, is that it will be an adventure you will never forget.

For more information and to hear more of Claire’s great adventure you can contact us on – hello@reisvoyage.com.au or simply give us a call!

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