Mountain Gorillas of Uganda Caught on Video
Posted by Jonathan Rossouw
This Uganda Mountain Gorillas video was produced by Apex traveler, Rick Llewellyn and narrated by Jonathan Rossouw, founder and expedition leader for Apex Expeditions.
Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
We’re here in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is undoubtedly one of Africa’s premier conservation areas. It’s a park of about 130 square miles, but more than that, it’s positioned straddling the Albertine Rift, ranging in altitude from about 3,000 feet to almost 9,000 feet. It protects Africa’s richest mountain forest and within that, over 100 species of mammals and over 350 species of birds. Undoubtedly, the one species for which Bwindi is more famous than any other is the Mountain Gorilla. And of course, is home to over 300 of these incredible animals.
We’ve come here, all the way to the extreme southwestern corner of Uganda, to the Kigezi Highlands, right on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. To the south, about 50 miles, is Rwanda. And that is straddling the Virunga’s Volcanos, the second location on earth where one can see Mountain Gorillas. To track them is no mean feat, because as you can see, Bwindi Impenetrable, has earned its name. Not only is the forest dense, but it happens to grow on some of the most steep, some of the most slippery, some of the wettest terrain in all of Africa.
Tracking Mountain Gorillas
An average day starts at 8AM and we, with luck, locate these creatures. Trackers have headed out ahead of us, and they’ll take somewhere between an hour, if we’re lucky, and 8 hours, if we’re not so lucky, to locate the gorillas. Thankfully, gorillas are large animals and they leave steam-rolled tracks where they move. So, we start going to where they slept the night before. And we start tracking these animals through this incredible habitat. With luck, we’ll encounter them, somewhere before lunch, and to just come into their presence, gently, usually with a soft grunting sound from one of the trackers, from the chief tracker, just sending a message to the Silverback, “We’re here… it’s us… and everything is under control.” We come in gently, and we find ourselves in the presence of a family group, anywhere up to 16, 18, sometimes even 20 Mountain Gorillas, ranging in size from this immense 550, maybe even 600-pound Silverback, right down to tiny babies of a couple of months, and a few pounds.
Just an absolutely incredible experience, interacting with a species that is, at once, so very different, and, on the other hand, so very, very similar. To be able to read their behavior, without ever having to read a textbook. Because there, on their faces, they’re so similar to us. We can see their delight. Their nervousness. We can see their anger. It’s just one of life’s greatest wildlife encounters. To spend time with these incredible gentle giants of Bwindi Impenetrable.
Learn more about our Uganda expedition to see the Mountain Gorillas on our Uganda Safari page.