To Mr. Jon Howell, the Tourism Development Manager at UBM Live- Routes, the gorilla tracking experience was simply incredible.
Richard Bodin the chief commercial officer at Fastjet in the UK, agreed with Jon but remarked that to say the experience was amazing is simply an understatement.
It was just unbelievable, he insisted after spending an hour with Kyaguriro gorilla family in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, south western Uganda. Ahmed Aly from Abu Dhabi concurred with the colleagues that tracking of the gorillas and interacting with them at a close range was ecstatic and wised the tracking period could be extended beyond one hour .And Ms Stephanie Pintado who was the most excited after enduring few kilometers of forest walk along steep ridges and thick vegetation observed that English language has no proper word for describing the exciting tracking experience.
The excitement follows various acrobatic antics by the youthful gorillas under the close watch of their dominant silverback locally known as Rukina who initially teased the visitors with mock charges by exposing his canines, chest beating and uttering a warning sound. This after his favorite lady, identified as Binyindo (one with wide nostrils) signaled to him using some vocalization indicating she was under threat.
However, the mock charge lasted a moment when the skillful guides calmed down the silverback with a friendly sound and some gestures that sent the robust silverback lying on his belly to engage in playful exercises with his young off springs.
The infant gorillas swung acrobatically on the tree branches, the female adults carried their kids on their backs while the Blackbacks went on with their normal feeding on the tree vines and ferns. The dominant silverback occasionally signaled to the group through grunting indicating they were safe according to the guides. On the other side of the dark forest valley was a subordinate Silverback named Rukara(the dark faced one) said to have run away from neighbouring Bitukura family during their recent interaction.
After an hour of viewing and clear photo and video recording opportunities, the delegates who had been in Kampala for the 8th edition of the Routes Africa Strategy summit, drove back to Savannah airstrip staring at the spectacular landscape, waving at the cheerful pupils and occasionally stopping to capture images of other primates like baboons and Black and white colobus monkeys. The delegates were accompanied by their Accompanied by the staff of Civil Aviation Authority Uganda,Mr. Ignie Igunduura,Hannington Banyendera and Winnie Sendegeya as well as Uganda Tourism Board marketing gurus Edwin Muzahuura,Stephen Mwaka ,Annette Kamusiime and Jackie Kuteesa. They flew back to Entebbe aboard AeroLink which operates scheduled flights to Bwindi.
To receive and conduct the visitors in the park which is a World Heritage Site were Mr. Raymond Engena the director Tourism Development and Business Services at Uganda Wildlife Authority, Mr. Bonifence Byamukama a Board of Trustees member at UWA, Pontius Ezuma the Manager, Bwindi-Mgahinga Conservation Area and Amuza Chemonges the Warden Tourism, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
All the guests promised to find time and return to Uganda with their families to share on the ultimate gorilla experience.