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BonitaApplebum

Gorilla Trekking: A Photographic Trip Report

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JulieM

Thanks Bonita. I've bookmarked the tour company for next year. Cheers!

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Geoff

Excellent images. What distances & time was involved in each of the treks to reach the family groups?

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BonitaApplebum

The treks ranged from a pretty steep 30 mins to about 90 mins on a more relaxed hike (one way). This is after getting to the Park, which requires anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of walking through farmers' fields. All at a relaxed pace.

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Atravelynn

Spectacular photos! And so many of them. Your visits coincide with the rainiest time of the year, I believe, which as you had hoped, produced cloudy skies for great shots of the black gorillas. The rain obviously was not a hindrance to you. I did note some wet fur on the gorillas, which actually enhanced their appearance. Were there any comments made on whether your viewing conditions were typical or whether you got lucky in avoiding rain? "Fortunately every morning was beautifully overcast for the most part and the skies opened up later in the afternoon when I was back at the lodge." Just wondering how fortunate you believe you were that the rain held off. Or are pm showers the norm? I believe odds of searching until afternoon to find the gorillas and get rained on are less in the wet season for the reasons you mentioned--the gorillas are not as far up the mountains looking for food. In contrast, in the dry season it can easily be noon before the troop is reached.

 

How muddy/slippery were the trails since every afternoon had a downpour?

 

I would think going in the less busy April would boost the odds of getting a solo visit, which you were so fortunate to have. I would think planning ahead would not be as important in April also.

 

I believe Rwanda permits are the same cost year round, so no break in low season. Do you recall if that was the case? Even with gorilla permits at full price, you likely got a break on lodging pricing. I've heard one advantage of going when it is rainy is that once the rain stops, the gorillas don't like to sit under vegetation that drips (I feel the same way) so they come out more into the open. In the dry season, when I have gone, they like to hide in the shade of the vegetation to protect themselves from the hot sun, especially midday (again I feel the same way).

 

Thanks for sharing these very special photos.

Edited by Atravelynn

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BonitaApplebum

@@Atravelynn Thank you for your comments. :)

 

I'm told that the rainy season has become increasingly unpredictable these days. Last year apparently it didn't rain at all during the same period I was there. Climate change seems to be disrupting the historical trends here. I was told afternoon showers tend to be the case, which worked great for me. That said, the day I headed back to Kigali it rained all morning and certainly drenched the trekkers who were out looking for gorillas.

 

The trails were often quite muddy. It was never enough to disrupt a trek, but it did require constant attention to where you were placing your feet. With proper waterproof boots and gaiters, you never had to worry about getting wet or dirty, though.

 

The permits are the same price, year round. I'm sure the lodging was discounted as there were days when I felt like I was the only person there!

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Atravelynn

Thanks for all the additional info and answers. The trackers all wear rubber boots as I recall. Do you think that would be a better strategy in the rainy season than waterproof leather-type boots?

 

Any talk of the Suza gorilla group?

 

From weather to gorilla sightings, it all worked out well for you.

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SafariChick

@@BonitaApplebum Just re-reading your wonderful report. In regards to this:

 

I also had a point and shoot that I kept in my pocket to capture quick shots along the hike. Was also great to hand to the guides to take photos of me with the gorillas.

 

 

Any photos of you with the gorillas you can post? Thanks!

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fictionauthor

The treks ranged from a pretty steep 30 mins to about 90 mins on a more relaxed hike (one way). This is after getting to the Park, which requires anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of walking through farmers' fields. All at a relaxed pace.

This sounds much better than the 3-4 hours I've read about. And from the looks of your beautiful, dramatic photos, appears the off-season may be well worth it.

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Sangeeta

Stunning is right - suberb photos @BonitaApplebum

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Anomalure

Just beautiful images… WOW.

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BonitaApplebum

@@BonitaApplebum Just re-reading your wonderful report. In regards to this:

 

I also had a point and shoot that I kept in my pocket to capture quick shots along the hike. Was also great to hand to the guides to take photos of me with the gorillas.

 

 

Any photos of you with the gorillas you can post? Thanks!

 

20567464392_6f053993ba_z.jpg

 

Here I am with a gorilla. :)

 

20550196686_6b22198be2_z.jpg

 

Myself and my guide, Bosco.

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SafariChick

@@BonitaApplebum awesome - thanks for sharing those!

 

By the way, I'm curious about the origin of your screen name if you wouldn't mind sharing that!

Edited by SafariChick

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BonitaApplebum

@@BonitaApplebum awesome - thanks for sharing those!

 

By the way, I'm curious about the origin of your screen name if you wouldn't mind sharing that!

 

It's actually a reference to a song from a long time ago. Not sure why I went with it when i registered here all those years back as I've moved to more generic screen names. I realize it tends to cause confusion. :)

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AlterEgo25

What a wonderful surprise - I'm in the process of putting together a 2016 Rwanda trip in November, traveling solo, and literally just e-mailed Umubano tours. I usually do group tours, so this could be a first for me. With all the good reviews I've been seeing, Umubano is rising to the top of my list!

 

Thanks for the photos!

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