Gorillas in the Mist…

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Lowland Silverback Gorilla in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The volcanoes that border Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the last places in the world to see mountain gorillas. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s last remaining place on the planet to see the huge, majestic Eastern lowland silverback gorillas (also known as Grauer’s gorillas)…if you like gorillas, you must visit the Kahuzi-Biega National Park! The park is named after the two spectacular extinct volcanoes which dominate the region: Mont Kahuzi (3,308m) and Mont Biega (2,790m) and was founded in 1939. On one side of the park there is mountain forest, and on the other side, tropical forest. In 1980, it became a World Heritage Site and in 1997 it was put on the list of World Heritage sites in danger. United Nations’ patrols have more recently limited incursions from the Mayi-Mayi and Interhamwe militias and have helped to ensure that the world’s last remaining natural habitat for Eastern lowland gorillas is reasonably intact.

I still cannot believe that I had the opportunity to visit the Kahuzi-Biega National Park and to see these magnificent animals in the wild. It meant a very early start and several hours of “hanging around” whilst the park rangers tracked one of the three ‘habituated’ gorilla groups. It took more than an hour of trekking through steep (and wet!) terrain, accompanied by three Rangers equipped with machetes to hack our way through the jungle, two Guards with AK47s and a Ranger Guide…but it was well worth the effort!

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The Gorilla tracking team and me….(hubby is taking the photo!)

We were able to get within two metres of the enormous male silverback (weighing in at 2 tonnes!) and spent an incredible hour watching the whole gorilla family in the dense wilderness. An unforgettable experience!

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“Big Daddy” Silverback Gorilla digging up bamboo shoots

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 Some of Big Daddy’s many offspring

For more information on how to visit these wonderful animals in the wild:

KBNP Office: Av. PE Lusmumba, Nyawera (facing Gallerie Bugugu), Bukavu

Tel (24/7): +243 822 881 012 / +243 971 300 881

E-mail: info@kahuzi-biega.org

Reservations: reservations@kahuzi-biega.org

Blog: http://kahuzibiega.wordpress.com

 

10 comments

  1. Hey Carys, these animals remain soo impressive. And the little one’s soo cute! I understand these animals are also quite noisy or talkative .. is this the case?
    Enjoy your trip!

    1. Hi Marguerite,
      Yes, the big mail grunts and ‘talks’ all the time and the human guides grunt back to reassure him. The little ones are so funny…they are really inquisitive of visitors and try to creep up behind you. They also try to steal food from ‘big daddy’ but of-course they don’t get away with that!

      1. Hello, just wanted to say fantastic pics. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas are the largest and most impressive of all the gorilla species, you’re lucky to have seen them. I thought there was 2 habituated groups, you mentioned there’s 3 habituated groups? Also, I wanted to ask you, do you know about how much that silverback leader of the group weighed, did they mention how much he weighed or weighed around, he looks real huge and impressive?

      2. Hello Don,
        Thanks – glad you like the pics. It was an amazing experience! So nice to get up close and see the individual personalities. I was told that there are three habituated groups, but I think that one of the groups is not often viewed. The big silverback weighs around 200 Kgs. He was certainly impressive. We were told to keep at least six feet away from him, but that was not always easy as he could move very fast!
        All the best
        Carys

  2. Love the pics! That’s amazing, I’m so jealous you got so close to gorillas!
    Especially like the picture with you in it 🙂 ❤ Miss you ❤

    1. We missed you not being with us….felt so strange without you! I am thinking about you a lot these days, and missing you too. My latest field trip was quite long and challenging and my mind is turning towards Christmas and home…. Did you get any further news from Disney? Love you so much! Mum xxx

      1. Why do I get tons of emails about other people I don’t know blogging but it doesn’t notify me when you answer my comment? Which means I just saw this. Yay, Christmas is so soon! I can’t believe it has come already! So excited to see more of your photos and of course see you.
        Love you xxx

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