Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park – the Gorillas 

The road trip to the  Volcanoes from Kigali is itself a wonder. Rwanda does really offer a bucolic scenery with its perfectly kept roads winding through its thousands manicured and palmed hills. 


The new thing, as I have been told around 36 times in 48 hours, is the cultivation of Irish potatoes, which I had for lunch. 

We reached the lodge early afternoon, beautiful setting, we got the local dancers putting their show with the sunset on Volcanoes mountains on the background. 

It’s 6am. Breakfast, foot in compression sock and panadol: I’m ready for the gorillas. 

We got very lucky. The Umubano family is nearby. Literally 10mn walk and I spot one of the silverback. Then they move up. We gather. Wait for instructions, and follow them up. I climb on a clearance. A couple of them are there. I just stay quiet in the bottom right corner and stare. 

A brushing noise and I see behind me 2 hands grabbing the soil, 1m from me. A large gorilla is climbing up and I’m in its way. Slowly I step back and try to clear the path. It brushes me when passing, unfussed. 


Once gathered, they all start to gnaw on the base of young trees, finding this visibly yummy, old silverback Charles supervising them and us all from above. The baby very actively moving and climbing around. 


They move again, and now we have beehives between us and them, so we need to do a bit of a trek to join them again. 

There is a narrow path and we move left and right as they pass in front of us again, the 3 silverbacks passing really close. 

Finally, the last beautiful sight, the female with the baby starting to play together, for the last 10mn we had with them (you can stay max an hour with the gorillas), she even looked us up. 

It was quite an experience. They were a very calm group. They didn’t mind us aside from the last quizzing look from the female,  looking  at us all and trying to figure us out. A very human quizzing look. 

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