700, give or take, is how many mountain gorillas are said to be left in their natural habitat. It has always been a strong desire of mine to see them where they live, while they were still there. So I spent a year and a half planning and dreaming of making this adventure happen. I found a group of close friends that shared this desire to search for these beautiful creatures with me. With the help of Volcanoes Safaris and my most amazing travel agent Dori Peterson, we set off to Rwanda and Uganda for a trip that would create a magical indelible memory that will make me smile every time I think of this trip until I die.
My husband Mike, Robin, Harold, Jill, Scott, Milo and Myself.
We traveled from Kigali through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterize much of Rwands's landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome Virunga Volcanoes. Sometimes as many as five peaks are visible at once.
There are only a few groups a day that are allowed to buy permits to track gorillas. 10 people per group. If you are fortunate to find your designated family, you are allowed to spend one hour viewing the group. Our very first trek out of Parc National des Volcans we were picked to track the most famous gorilla family there is, The Susa Group. This is the group that Dian Fossey studied and the movie Gorillas in the Mist made well known.
er hiking through villages, farmlands and bamboo forests for hours, we were told that they were just up ahead through some bushes. We were to drop our bags and just take our cameras to the other side.
The Virunga Lodge.
Set on top of a mountain with 360-degree views of volcanoes, lakes, islands, and villages.
Trek number two we searched for group 13 and found them after a long muddy adventure.
Headed to Bwindi in Uganda. They call it the Switzerland of Africa because of its beautiful hills and valleys of dense forest.
We stayed at the very remote and beautiful Mt Gahinga Lodge in Uganda at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.
On some of our treks, we hired porters for the day. They would each carry our backpacks for us making our hikes just that much easier. We didn't need them but it helps the community by employing young people who might otherwise contribute to the gorilla poaching problems.
In between our gorilla treks, we squeezed in visits to local schools, walked through the horrifying genocide memorial and talked with locals about their views of Joseph Kony.
Our amazing drivers and guides G-money and John. They made our travels worry free and informative.
Leaving Uganda we flew to Tanzania to start our safari. Our first stop was a bucket list lodge that I had to stay at before I died, The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
To read more about our adventures in Tanzania and Zanzibar,
I started this blog so that I could document and share my adventures in travel, photography, food and the things that inspired me. It's a work in progress as are most things in life.