At Gorilla Expeditions Ltd one of the leading tour and travel companies in East and Central Africa, we can scale trips up or down according to the desires of our clients. We take visitors to visit the great apes, and researcher to search for rare sub-species. In most cases, we take couples or groups of four and above into the Albertine Rift for 4 or 5 days of primates tracking and staying in brilliant eco-lodges.
There is an untold amazing experience in these forests. Several years ago I was trekking through the DR. Congo side of the Virunga Forest, the oldest national park in Africa, with my friends James and David, who were taking me to see a gorilla family whose leader had been recently shot and killed by soldiers. Unusually, after the passing of the previous silverback, a wild, ex-solitary silverback had assumed leadership of what was a group/family of habituated gorillas (those familiar with human vicinity).
As we approached, it proves to be very uncomfortable and refused to allow us closer, yet he could not persuade other gorillas to flee. He shouted, beat his chest, and thrashed about the vegetation as an evil spirit. In the long run, we surrendered our pursuit and sat in a dry riverbed. At the same time, gorillas began to rise over the trees and cross the riverbed a few meters from us, great black, hairy, charismatic, mammals moving like shadows. They wanted to see us. This was the first time I felt their kinship.
Taking after 50% increased in cost of gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda, $750, trekking gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which costs only $400 per day, has got to be popular again. Although they appear as high costs for park permits, there are just too few gorillas in the wild, and their home is too fragile, for it, making it impossible to cost less.
Johnson My driver and I have done incalculable trips across East Africa. But our most loved direction out of Kampala is to west. Few destinations in the world are amazing like DR. Congo. On one occasion, we took a party to meet a small, separate population of gorillas in the Congo, considered to be unique subspecies. We crossed the border and headed to a higher Rift Valley escarpment, where we parked the car.
The difficult climb to Kalibina Camp at 3000m on the slopes of Mount Tshiaberimu took two and a half hours. The last of our adventure to come nightfall, and we gathered around the campfire. I clarified that whether they were a unique subspecies of the gorilla or not, the relative isolation of this population has a vital reserve in the gene pool of gorillas.
The next morning, with light rain falling, we set off on our trek. After a few hours of trekking in the forest, the smell of rot and fresh growth bursting from every footfall, we found them foraging in a bamboo forest, a small group of gorillas including a silverback, a mature female, young women, and infant male. Compared to other sub-species I have encountered, Tshiaberimu gorillas are quite small.
Commonly, while adults were busied themselves somewhere else, the youths paid us their full attention. The female was more interested in Jonson than anything else, pulling on his clothes and looking him and down. The ranger guide tried to discourage her, but every time she retreated her younger brother, 33% of its size, provoked her to return. She would clearly then pleasure herself, before charging back to grab Jonson by his trousers. She tried to us when we left, and it required a decent deal of effort to stop her. In my 20 years watching gorillas, I’d never seen anything like it.
It is possible to trek gorillas on Tshiaberimu by organizing with the Congolese Wildlife Authority (iccn.gorillacd.org) or any tour company operating in DR. Congo like Gorilla Expeditions Ltd. This is a trek everyone can do and it is certainly worth the physical effort, however, there is as yet very little demand. But, if Tshiaberimu turns into a well-known destination, the Congolese Wildlife Authority would be wise to limit the permits severely – there are just 21 gorillas on that mountain.