“Last but not least” is a definite understatement for the final leg of our East African Adventure….trekking to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Besides our summit of Kilimanjaro, this was our favorite “bucket list tick” of the trip. It was both thrilling and moving to find and observe these gentle giants in their incredibly lush, remote environment. Mountain gorillas are shy and peaceful animals, and the families that we had the privilege of watching interact with each other had been habituated to humans by daily visits over a period of years. There are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world; over 400 of them are in Uganda. We got to see silverbacks, blackbacks, mamas, babies and youngsters playing, all in the lush tropical forest of Uganda. We had know idea how beautiful Uganda is… it looks like Costa Rica. We were split up into two groups for our treks into the Impenetrable National Park; I’m posting pictures from both groups, and a few videos too.
Our jumping-off point at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda.   This is to illustrate that we were to stay at least seven meters away from the gorillas.

Our jumping-off point at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. This is to illustrate that we were to stay at least seven meters away from the gorillas.

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How do you say “Duck, Duck, Goose” in Ugandan?

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I’m pretty sure we have a picture just like this from Costa Rica

Hiking into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Hiking into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Will....anticipating his first look at the gorillas.

Will….anticipating his first look at the gorillas.

This retired Doctor from Seattle was having trouble with the altitude.  She opted to be "littered" up the mountain - 10 porters took turns carrying her litter and did a fantastic job on the steep and slippery trail.

This retired Doctor from Seattle was having trouble with the altitude. She opted to be “littered” up the mountain – 10 porters took turns carrying her litter and did a fantastic job on the steep and slippery trail.

Imagine the core strength it took to carry this litter.

Imagine the core strength it took to carry this litter.

Up close to the Silverback.

Up close to the Silverback.

He seemed to drink us in with his eyes.  It was similar to looking into the eyes of a human.

He seemed to drink us in with his eyes. It was similar to looking into the eyes of a human.

Looks a bit scary, but he is just munching on a vine.

Looks a bit scary, but he is just munching on a vine.

A gorilla snack caught on video.
Well defined gluteal muscular structure!

Well defined gluteal muscular structure!

This female shimmied down this tree as if it had grease on it.

This female shimmied down this tree as if it had grease on it.

Mark must have said something that this Silverback didn't like.

Mark must have said something that this Silverback didn’t like.

The picture of Will in the background gives you a sense of the size of this Silverback.

The picture of Will in the background gives you a sense of the size of this Silverback.

Lunch time break.

Lunch time break.

One of the armed guards that accompanied our gorilla trek.  These guides have the responsibility of protecting the gorilla families from poachers and are funded, for the most part, by permits issued to trekkers.

One of the armed guards that accompanied our gorilla trek. These guides have the responsibility of protecting the gorilla families from poachers and are funded, for the most part, by permits issued to trekkers.

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Time for a little shopping

Posing with our guides and park rangers.

Posing with our guides and park rangers.

Keeping my seven meter distance!

Keeping my seven meter distance!

Uganda was absolutely beautiful, with lush mountains in the southern part of the country.

Uganda was absolutely beautiful, with lush mountains in the southern part of the country.

This stream was just deep enough to overflow into our boots.

This stream was just deep enough to overflow into our boots.

About a 45 degree incline of slippery mud.

About a 45 degree incline of slippery mud.

Witnessing these families in their natural environment was mesmerizing.

Witnessing these families in their natural environment was mesmerizing.

A mom cuddling her infant.

A real highlight of our gorilla treks…a mom cuddling her infant.

Both mom and infant were oblivious to our visit.

Both mom and infant were oblivious to our visit.

Mom and baby on video.
We were uphill from the gorilla mom and her baby.

We were uphill from the gorilla mom and her baby.

This little guy looks like he was growling at us, but he was actually yawning.

This little guy looks like he was growling  – or laughing – at us, but he was actually yawning. Guess we weren’t his most interesting visitors.

Sawing lumber into boards - by hand!!

Sawing lumber into boards – by hand!!

The countryside was so lush and green - gorgeous.

The countryside was so lush and green – gorgeous.

There was a school for orphans nearby, and they performed several dances for us.

There was a school for orphans nearby, and they performed several traditional dances for us.

The "marriage" dance.

The “marriage” dance.

Anne-Marie and I joined in.

Anne-Marie and I joined in.

The gorilla dance.

The gorilla dance.

Gorilla pictures painted/drawn by the orphanage kids.  About 100 kids were watching us choose from their pictures.  I wanted to buy them all.

Gorilla pictures painted/drawn by the orphanage kids. About 100 kids were watching us choose from their pictures. I wanted to buy them all.

Although this video is (quite) embarrassing for my lack of dancing skills, it still makes me smile… we may have left Africa, but Africa will not leave our hearts.

  Trip created by our travel pros, Khashana Adventure Travel. To see more view our other posts or visit their web site.