Rwanda: Gorilla Trekking Day 2

The second day in Rwanda we were schedule to go hiking with gorillas. As we still had jet lag and had to get another early jump on the day Caitlin was not as excited about waking up as she had been the first day. Her reasoning was that she had already seen the gorillas, I didn’t want to admit that I was second guessing two days of gorilla trekking myself. We would quickly learn that every day of Safari is different and would be just as exciting  as the first day, frequently making it feel like it was the best day yet. It is a not very common that a trip seems to one up itself for 12 consecutive days.

The second day began the same way as the first, with us getting our briefing on the group that we would be seeing. This time the groups name was Sabyinyo and was the family that had been pushed out by Hirwa’s group. This group had a four silverbacks with the head silverback weighing around 180kg and about 42 years old. This is towards the later end of their life span and as such the oldest of his male sons was being allowed to mate with some of the females. Apparently this is a normal transition process, while the group had 4 silverbacks in it, only the head silverback is allowed to mate unless he gives permission to his heir.

The hike began as it had the day before, we started going through farm fields, only this time we got to actually hike into the park. The park was filled with heavy vegetation and thick bamboo groves, blocking out the sun and making it feel later than it actually was. We ended up hiking for about 2 1/2 hours before getting to the gorillas. As they had done the previous day the guides had us stop short so that we could get our things ready before starting our encounter with the gorillas. As we were getting our cameras ready one of the gorillas that our guides hadn’t noticed decided to surprise us and drop out of a tree right above one of the women in our group. All we heard was the crashing of trees as the gorilla slid down the bamboo. In addition to almost falling on top of the woman, which would have resulted in at least a broken bone, the gorilla was also going to the bathroom at the same time. The size of the turd was massive, if a bird pooping on you is good luck this has to equal instant lottery winner. After we recovered from the surprise we proceeded to see all the other gorillas.

The gorillas this day were located in what felt more like a nest and were much more lethargic than the previous day. The guide explained that they had just eaten and would be relatively lazy for awhile. The only gorillas that seemed to be moving and active were the young ones, primarily the really little ones who seemed to have no fear about going right up to Caitlin. To the point that the guide had to pull Caitlin away so that mom didn’t get upset. I was more than a little worried that Caitlin would pick the little one up. Thankfully she resisted the urge and merely waved at the little one.

Caitlin posing in front of potato fields.
Gorilla dropping down on us while dropping a deuce.
The first peek of the gorillas.

The first ‘nest’ of gorillas that we came across. The other half of the family would be in another ‘nest’.
One of the big silverbacks napping, this picture makes me think he is hungover.
One of the females.
Inquisitive little guy.
He was going all over the place playing with anything.
We might have gone overboard with pictures of the little ones.
Tasting his feet, we definitely got a kick out of him.
This was about the time that Caitlin was pulled back. I was a little afraid she was going to pick him up.
He wouldn’t stop showing off and was super curious.
He then proceeded to go bother the silverback, who gave him a couple of pushes down the hill. Once the big guy got too annoyed mom came and grabbed the little one.
Little guy not wanting to stay put.
Mom and baby looking at us.
Dad keeping an eye on us. They consistently checked to see what we were doing.
Gratuitous gorilla shot.
We obviously couldn’t stop taking pictures.
The second group of the same family.
A different baby, they had great hair, this one would also bother the sleeping adults.
The second big silverback.
Another female.
One last picture of one of the little guys. They were a lot of fun to watch because they were so much more active.
A couple of the juveniles fighting each other.
Our trackers and guides.

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