Excitement had been building up those last days on our way to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, before our gorilla trek. When the day was finally there, we realized we were about to do something we had never done before. Treks start at 8 when the guards give a briefing about the visit, and how to behave in case of gorilla charging, what to do and mostly what not, and then the group split in three and we started our trek. We were assigned to the R group, and after crossing a creek, we started walking up a path. The light filtering through the trees and leaves gave our surroudings a mysterious atmosphere, especially since we realized that the gorillas were living in exactly these surroudings.
Then, the guards told us to leave our bags behind with the soldiers that had accompanied us, because the gorillas were very close now. The guards used their machetes to hack a way through the dense forest. We felt our hearts beat as we followed them, and we only looked around to spot the gorillas. And then, suddenly, there they were. First, we saw a smaller one, and almost at the same time, we spotted Mwirima, the silverback, the leader of this family. He was sitting in his green environment like a true king of the forest, slowly picking up leaves and branches from his surroudings without moving his body, just using his enormous arms to reach out. We directly took positions and were taking pictures all the time. Then, one of his female companions joined him, and he started picking insects off her back. Meanwhile, in the trees above us, small gorillas were jummping from branch to branch, falling out of the trees and climing up in.
More female gorillas appeared, and suddenly, the silverback stood up and rushed a few metres forward. The sudden change surprised us, and we made sure to get out of his way. It gave us a good opportunity to see for ourselves why he was called silverback, as the back of his black body was definitely greyish silver. We slowly moved closer, monitored by the guards, when a rain of young gorillas started falling down through the leaves. As a finale, the silverback decided to show us his climbing capabilities, and only then, we realized how big he was. The guards told us that time was up, since visitors are only allowed one hour with the gorillas. We left our predecessors in awe.
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