Monday, 23 July 2018

Meeting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.

Image: Getty
Live out your Dian Fossey dreams in the Virunga Mountains, where a close encounter with endangered mountain gorillas remains one of the world’s ultimate wildlife experiences.

He’s so close I can hear him breathe. He’s less than two yards away, directly in front of me. I try to back away, but my escape route is blocked by a very small, very lucky group of tourists, using my body as a human shield while their shutters clatter over my shoulders. Looking down the lens of my own camera, I watch as his eyes sharply focus on me. His chest swells and I hold my breath.

I’m hemmed in on all sides. To my right is a knotted tangle of jungle undergrowth, bamboo shoots and nettles that are somehow penetrating my hiking trousers. My legs prickle and itch, but it’s vitally important I keep still.

To my left, a family of critically endangered mountain gorillas loll and laze in the grass, hugging each other, feeding their babies, chewing on sticks. They are the Susa family, a group of gorillas that were first habituated by the legendary conservationist Dian Fossey — a household name in Rwanda, but perhaps more famous in the West for being portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the 1988 film, Gorillas in the Mist.

By James Draven.
Full story at Nat Geo Traveller.

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