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Published: September 16th 2011
With only one month left in Rwanda, we finally went to see the gorillas. Our trip began with a three hour drive to Volcanoes National Park. Along the way, Alex had a speaking engagement on behalf of the US Embassy, recognizing a local NGO for their conservation efforts and education awareness programs in the area. Courtesy of Jenn’s mother, Dorothy, we stayed at a very nice lodge with individual cabins and excellent meals.
The following morning, we got up super early to head to the park headquarters where we were assigned to trek the Hirwa group (meaning “lucky” in Kinyarwanda due to the birth of twins). Unfortunately for us, the group was very active in the morning, resulting in a three hour hike up, down, and around the mountain in very slippery and humid conditions. With the help of trackers, we finally located the gorillas when they had settled down for their morning nap on a steep, thickly vegetated slope. We tried to keep our distance, but the gorillas would often move around, coming within several feet of us. Whenever the baby gorillas would wander too close, the silverback would grunt and our guide would respond with a reassuring grunt.
The juveniles were the most active and fun to watch, teasing the other gorillas and tumbling through the brush. After a quick hour, we began our much faster descent.
In the evening, we watched a children’s traditional dance troupe, and Jenn joined in.
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