IN NOVEMBER 2010, THIS IMAGE EARNED SPECIAL MENTION FROM OUR JUDGES WHEN SELECTING THE WHL GROUP PHOTO OF THE YEAR.
This is a photo of Ruhondeza, the Silverback of the Mubare group of gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. With a worldwide population of approximately 720, mountain gorillas in the wild have been interacted with by only a few visitors to Africa. The gorillas belong to one of six habituated family groups and, for up to five years, each group has undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually brought them to tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.
While this particular shot was taken by my colleague, Patrick, visitors to the park have taken similarly powerful images as part of their trips. For example, a group of clients who recently went on safari with The Far Horizon – around about the time of the recent ‘ash cloud’ – took this fantastic image of a Silverback escorting its babies through the undergrowth as the intrepid team tracked mountain gorillas.
Tracking the gorillas is an exhilarating journey through forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboos before you eventually reach the gorillas’ habitat. Once you do, you will be able to spend one hour with a family group and enjoy a truly majestic experience.
Following this, the group also vsiited Queen Elizabeth National Park, for a glimpse of the tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park in northwest Uganda. We are so pleased that they made it over to this beautiful country despite nature’s efforts to prevent them!
Other activites on offer in Bwindi include walks through the forest to its waterfalls, bird watching, and visits to the local community. A new activity that has just opened up is the Batwa Cultural Experience, which gives visitors an opportunity to spend the day with the Batwa Pygmies, learning about their rich cultural heritage and how they go about their daily lives.