Gorilla trekking Uganda - A Silverback Gorilla and an erupting Volcano!
This blog follows on from our second blog about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. This one is about our return to Uganda in 2010 in search of Safari; the male silverback gorilla of the Nkuringo family and a chance to witness an active volcano at night.
When Wildlife Trails returned to Uganda and Rwanda in 2010 we were keen to explore new gorilla trekking opportunities in Uganda, beautifully located lodges and take part in new wildlife or trekking activities to see a different side of these beautiful countries. We chose to visit a relatively new Gorilla family called the Nkuringo group who were first habituated for tourists in 2004. The male silverback at that time was Nkuringo, but when he died in April 2008, the group was left with two silverbacks, Safari and Rafiki; ulitimately it was Nkuringo's son Safari who took over the leadership. The Nkuringo gorilla family is famous for wandering out of the protected forest and raiding local plantations; for which the local people are compensated. Although this behaviour is not great for the local farmers, it does provide photographers with much more open views of the family.
We chose to enjoy a fairly vigorous trek from Buhoma to Nkuringo Gorilla Camp which involved a walk out along the famous 'waterfall birding trails' (we missed being charged by a male silverback by 5 minutes!), a forested descent in the rain to the Kashasha River, followed by a long steep ascent to the Nteko Ridge where the lodge is located; providing spectacular views of the 8 volcanoes which straddle the Uganda, Congo and Rwanda borders. One of these volcanoes on the Congo side of the border, Nyiragongo is very active and last erupted in 2002, destroying a signifcant part of the town of Goma and forcing 350,000 people to flee for their lives.
The the night we arrived in Nkuringo we could make out a faint orange glow from Nyiragongo, but no spectacular fireworks which was good for us and the many people living close to its huge cadera. The following morning we enjoyed a spectacular gorilla trek to the Nkuringo family and as aspected, led by Safari, they had left the forest for the reliable food source of the nearby plantations. We found him relaxing with 7 members of this family all around him; including two delightful young gorillas wrestling together and incredibly curious about the human observers.
After our amazing gorilla safari we chose to drive onto Mgahinga, close to the Rwandan border and take the much safer option of climbing the none active Mount Sabinyo; which took us around 5-6 hours to ascend and just over 2 to 'run down'. The views at the very top (3700M) were a little misty, but the changing vegatation and lack of any other trekkers, made it a very special climb.
Why not join Wildlife Trails on one of our exciting gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and experience the magic of an hour with the Mountain Gorillas.