Beginning our day at the National Park HQ, we got assigned to a different family of gorillas for our second venture up the volcanoes. This family of gorillas live on the volcano right behind our lodge, which added a little something extra. Once again we found the gorillas after a relatively short trek up the volcano, which was lucky because we spent a rain-free hour with them; watching the youngsters play around with each other, and surprisingly, with the big silverback too. Just as we were leaving the family to go about their day, the rains came down! What an experience – the warm equatorial rains are something to see. The landscape was transformed in a matter of minutes, creating hundreds of mini waterfalls that came cascading down the edges of the volcano. The cameras were tested in the rains, and came through shining with some very unique images!
An early start got us to the National Park HQ in time to get assigned to the family of gorillas we would be trekking. A short briefing later, we were on our way to the Bisoke Volcano to begin our first trek. This is seriously exciting stuff. In trekking terms, we got quite lucky, because the family of gorillas we were looking for were quite low down on the volcano, so we found them relatively quickly. What an amazing experience! The mountain gorillas are simply brilliant. We spent a solid hour with this wonderful family, which had a little secret – a 2-month-old baby. This little fellow drew most of the cameras‘ attention, and deservedly so. He is easily one of the cutest little things I have ever seen! After lunch we made our way across to see the Twin Lakes, which is a trip well worth taking – the scenery is quite spectacular!
Driving from the airport to the lodge builds the excitement for what is a very special safari. As you leave Kigali (the capital city), and head up towards the Virunga Mountains (which is made up of a chain of volcanoes), you get a good sense for what you are in for – good people, great scenery and a lot to see and do. Arriving at the lodge, you are greeted by 3 of the 5 volcanoes that make up the National Park where the gorillas are found, and looming large behind the lodge, is a fourth. We took some time to snap a few images from the camp, in preparation for the next day’s 1st gorilla trek!