Dugout canoes, lakeside bliss and adventures in the Land of a Thousand Hills to find the gorillas in the mist


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Published: November 18th 2011
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Lake BunyonyiLake BunyonyiLake Bunyonyi

Our canoe for the day
Lake Bunyonyi was as beautiful as promised! We spent a day exploring the area using a dugout canoe for transport. We stumbled on and into an extremely vibrant and lively village church service and enjoyed the enthusiastic singing, clapping and dancing. There was definitely a lot of spirit and joy in the room.
We also visited a traditional healer who showed us a selection of plants and herbs used for various "medicinal" purposes, including treating colds, stomach upsets and malaria. However, not sure Celina will be prescribing any of his treatments to her patients when she's back home..!

The last stop of the day was to learn some basket making skills from a family of craftmakers. We chose the simplest option of making bracelets, which was a lot tougher than it looked. Although we won't be changing our careers just yet, we managed to finish out bracelets (with a little help) and have been wearing them ever since.

We then spent a couple of days at a lakeside camp enjoying the views and peace and quiet. Our next destination was Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas. We got a lift over the border with a friend of our tour
Lake BunyoniLake BunyoniLake Bunyoni

Contemplating tasting the local brew
guide who we were told was delivering Ugandan newspapers. However, to our surprise he also turned out to have a holdall full of Ugandan shillings which he changed into Rwandan francs at the border. We had no idea what he was doing with so much cash but thought it best not to ask.

Our base for seeing the gorillas was Musanze from where we had a very early morning start the following day. The day started with some traditional Rwandan dancing and we were then split up into groups of 8 and assigned the family we were going to track. Ours was the Ugenda family, with 2 silverbacks and 13 members in total. We had been told that the trek could be quite long, difficult and muddy so we were prepared for some hard work. However, our luck was in and after only a 1 hour climb to the park entrance we found our gorilla family just outside the park wall, as if they were waiting to welcome us into their world. We left our bags, food, water and just took our cameras into the forest to spend an hour with them.

They were uninterested in our presence
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Traditional healer
and merely carried on with their normal daily activities, that is mainly eating bamboo shoots. With the exception of the silverbacks the rest of the gorillas were much smaller than we had imagined they would be. They were wet from the morning rain and looked a bit like shaggy dogs. It was a truly amazing experience and one we will never forget. We recommend it to anyone interested and would love to do it again some time in the future.


Additional photos below
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Lake Bunyonyi

Traditional healer's medicine cabinet
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Lake Bunyonyi

Lake views
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Lake Bunyonyi

Learning to make bracelets
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Lake Bunyonyi

Fixing the bracelets we made
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Lake Bunyonyi

Dancing children saying goodbye
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Lake Bunyonyi

Fisherman
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Lake Bunyonyi

Our camp's dock
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Gorilla trekking

Rwandan traditional dancers to start the day
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Gorilla trekking

The view on our ascent to the park
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Gorilla trekking

Waiting for us at the park wall to welcome us into their world
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Gorilla trekking

Baby on board
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Gorilla trekking

Silverback gorilla


18th November 2011

lovely!
hope you're both having fun!!! sounds and looks amazing, we miss you guys!! M&D Rothers ;) xxxx
19th November 2011

We miss you guys too! If it makes you feel any better our trip isn't even nearly as much fun or as exciting as the blog and photos show - no jokes, but thought that might cheer you up momentarily! Cel & Jonny xx
15th December 2011

Fantastic photos of the gorillas
Rwanda looks amazing, can't believe how close you were able to get to the gorillas. Great photos!

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