*Kid is on school camp. This post has little to do with food or even kids for that matter but I had to share. Thanks*The good Doctor and I recently spent some time abroad. Africa. Or a small part of it anyway. We went to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and decided to see a little wildlife, since we’re going all that way. Our expectations were never high given a short time frame, but were completely outdone everywhere we went, nowhere more so than Uganda and the Mountain Gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.Here are some pictures and a few words. I took about 500 photos this whole trip. It really is important to remind yourself sometimes to stop, get your photo and then put the device down and just be where you are.
You can’t own all of the moments.
In fact I’ve heard it said from a prominent scientist that the more pictures we take, the less we tend to remember.
Maybe he hasn’t sat in a jungle with wild mountain gorillas 😉There are only a few hundred of our magnificent ‘cousins’ left, thanks to poaching.
We were taken on a hellish climb up the side of jungle laden mountain through the densest bush you’re likely to encounter.
After about 3 hrs vertical bushwhacking we came across our first ape.
My heart still quickens to think of it.
After following them around for a bit, we came to a small pocket of thorny scrub and sat only a couple of metres from the gorillas for a breathtaking 30 minutes.
A big male, several ‘ladies’ and an infant. Just doing their thing.Our guide has worked in this jungle for 20 years.
He knows the gorillas well. Knows their names.
Whilst they are every bit wild animals, these guys have been ‘habituated’, a 2 year process of getting them used to having people around. Just like people though, thay have good days and other days when they’d rather be left alone.
We got a very good day.
They just didn’t even care about us being there. Perfect!
You can read some of the Doctor’s thoughts on it all at Mahdi Earth.
The next couple of days were spent roving around the Queen Elizabeth National park with our trip guide Joseph. A sweet, knowledgable guy for whom we left alot of good feedback.
And a tip of course. Zebras were our first contact with wildlife and then at least a dozen different varieties of antelope in plentitude. What Uganda lacks in economy it makes up for in spades in terms of wildlife diversity and scenery.There is a massive emphasis on conservation. All the monies you hand over for tours goes towards this as well as 20% going to the local communities.The chimpanzees were also amazing. When we arrived at the rangers quarters in the morning, they were playing in a tree out the back, eating fruit. Never happens apparently. We spent the next 3 hours trekking down a deep ravine with our new Canadian friends Paul and Vicki, to see them in their home environment (the chimps). Again our expectations were blown out of the water. Wild animals. They look so human I’d half expected them to come and say hello.Long horn steer, hippos by the dozen (yes!) and elephants. We both cheered at the site of wild elephants. Especially baby.And of course, the lions. We finally stumbled upon this lazy lot at the end of 12 hours driving, just as we were about to head back to our lodgings. Lions really are big cats in that they sleep around 18 hours of the day. Still, better them sleeping than coming towards you.
I’ll leave the mountain climbing for another post. It is another story unto itself.
My apologies to all of the crocodiles, monkeys, birds, butterflies and buffalo etc whose pictures didn’t make the cut.
You will be forever in my heart and on my hard drive.
I’m going to leave it there now, to avoid the dreaded ‘other people’s holiday photos’ overload.
After all, no-one cares about your own holiday as much as you do.