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Published: November 18th 2011
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
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
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.
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