Rwanda, land of a thousand hills and a million smiles.
Considering the atrocities that happened here in Rwanda 22 years ago, these wonderful people are no longer from separate tribes but have forged together as Rwandans.
A very happy people full of smiles, waves and “Hellos”. They are very happy to have tourists come to visit and pay big bucks to go see the gorillas. The money paid for permits to visit is used to promote the environment to help the gorillas survive and increase their numbers so that they will not become extinct. In the past they had been captured for zoos but none survived. So now that no longer happens. The gorillas that are in zoos are lowland gorillas. The Mountain Gorillas are in Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo. The money is also used to build medical clinics and schools for the local communities. Tourism also provides jobs for the locals who may have been involved in poaching in the past. Now they are rangers, trackers and porters. A win win situation for all.
We climbed up the mountain until we found the gorillas in the bamboo thickets. I was so busy looking down that I did not realize that we had arrived. We had to leave all the supplies behind with the porters, including the water. We then traveled on with the ranger and the tracker.
A three month old ball of fluff cradled in it’s mother’s arms.
An independent youngster stays close to Mum. They stay with Mum at night until they are three and a half. Up until that point they need help to build the nest to sleep in every night. So they share with Mum. Mum also nurses until that point.
Two youngsters frolicking together in the bush.
Baby riding on Mum’s back as she looked for bamboo shoots.
Some of the group.
Youngsters swinging through the bamboo. Sometimes dragged off a vine swing by an older gorilla. Not sure why. When they tried it they crashed to the ground as they were too heavy for the vine to support them. It was funny to watch.
Me and the big Silver Back.
My husband and I with the Big Boy.
Gorillas are such good mothers. Always holding baby close as she searches for good bamboo shoots to eat.
I was busy taking photos and did not see the Silver Back coming from behind and brushed close to me as he went. My husband told me he was coming just as he did.
A female in a typical pose. Maybe saying. “Come and get me.”
Teenagers were playing in a stream and having fun. Swishing and scooping up the water to drink. As we watched another walked by and slapped his hand in the water to splash the others.
Luckily no one was standing under the adult gorilla in the tree that caused his own cascading waterfall as he peed.
What a wonderful family of Gorillas. We saw about twelve of the group of twenty. All in all there are twelve family groups in Rwanda. Only eight people are allowed to visit each group per day. This was an experience of a lifetime.