Photo by Nathan Myhrvold

BACKROUND PHOTO

Photo by Nathan Myhrvold

View Image
Pinterest Facebook

Gorillas

The most intense part of my trip was visiting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.  Every aspect of the experience is extreme - first, because you are on foot, crawing through a bamboo forest, getting stung by nettles and so forth.  The gorillas are very close to you.  Even the place is intense - Rwanda is extremely poor, and is still recovering from the 1994 genocidal massacre of over 1million people.

The rules say that you should stay 7 meters away from the gorillas, but nobody told the gorillas that.  Many points I had to stop short on the trail because a gorilla was right in front of me - no more than four or five feet away. Usually the person behind me would bump into me because in the dense brush he couldn't see why I had stopped.  After many occurances it happened again and I turned around to tell the guy to back off a bit - and saw only black fur.  This time it was a gorilla behind me. 

She gently pushed past me on the trail.    I visited two different groups, on two different days.   There was quite a difference in the personality of the silverbacks (the males in charge of the group).  Several of them were very mellow.  One of them wasn't.  He charged us - just to show off, nothing serious, or anyway that is what the guide said.   Of course when a 400 lb gorilla is snapping tree limbs, and running around at 30 mph while whooping it up, it is pretty impressive, whether he is serious or not.

 


Eating Polar Bears Is Okay in Greenland Iceland Rocks Elephants Have Fabulous Tits Penguins! Lions: Africa’s Magnificent Predators Panoramas and Photo Technology from Iceland and Greenland