Up at 5.00am, breakfast at 5.45am and met up with my driver who will take my up to Park HQ. After what appears to be some sort of auction process where the guides and drivers all yell how many people they have in their group we are eventually assigned a Gorilla group to see. There are 6 of us that will visit with the Titus group.
The guide explained that Titus was the son of Digit, Dianne Fossey's favourite. Titus was known as the kking of the Gorillas and had a very large family of around 35 Gorillas including 6 Silverbacks. His first son Rano was a rambunctious sort and got fed u being kept in line by his father so he split from the family and attempted to take some of the females with him but they were having none of it. He then made his way into the Congo and lived alone there for 5 years. At that point Titus was getting near the end of his days but decided that his number 2 son could not hold the group together so he took his family and set out to find Rano. Rano apparently sensing that all was not well made his way back to the group. At first meeting Titus gave him a jolly good thrashing for having abandonded the family for so long and then peacefully abdicated, handing the rule of the group to Rano. It is the first recorded peaceful transition of power from father to son. Titus died soon after so it was Rano that we heading to see.
After a drive of about an hour over very rough volcanic rock roads we reached the starting point for the hike and then had to walk for about an hour up hill through farm land to the rock wall that is the start of the park. From there its a rough scramble through creepers, bamboo thickets and stinging nettle for another hour until suddenly there is a very large shape lying in the thickets just in front of us. This is Rano, an enormous chap who doesn't do much except lie there looking at us, for which I'm grateful. There is no sense of anger or frustration emanating from them rather a sense of peace and quiet intelligence. We are with the group for an hour, but it seems like minutes, and see 8 Gorillas in total, 2 Silverbacks, 2 Blackbacks, a mother and 3 month old and 2 other females.
It was an absolutely amazing experience and will be a hard act for Tanzania to follow.
Spent the remainder of the afternoon chatting with others who trekked to different groups at the Terrace Bar in the Muhabura.
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