We awoke at 5 AM to drive to the briefing point and meet with our trackers at the base of the Virungas. There are 7 groups of gorillas habituated to humans, and only 8 people per day are allowed to see each individual group. You are only given one hour with the gorillas so as not to disturb them. While we waited to be placed in our trekking group of 8, traditional Intore dancers played the drums and danced for our entertainment. I was too excited to pay much attention. Eventually, we were put in a group with a couple from Australia and three young people from India. Our two guides, Patrick and Francis, briefed us on which group we were going to see. The Agashya group. A gorilla family of 25 strong. There is one silverback, named Agashya, 9 females, 9 babies, and 6 juveniles. I could not have chosen a more ideal group to visit.
|the first gorilla I ever saw: Agashya, the silverback|
The trackers chopped through the thistles and brush with machetes and we followed close behind. Soon, you could see more of the gorillas. A young female was feeding in the vegetation just a few meters away, there were a couple females near Agashya. You could hear more gorillas ambling up the hill. It could not have been more perfect. They are so beautiful. The female feeding below me stared into my eyes for several moments...I couldn't help but think that she was sincerely telling me hello.
|looking at me|
|swinging through the trees!|
|baby baby baby|
|The gorilla stared at my dad for the longest time|
|Agashya means "something special"|
|The gorillas are just up the hill behind me|
|My gorilla trekking certificate|