3 days off from hiking Mount Elgon on the eastern border of Uganda, Joan and I set out for the far western border in search of the mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. After a night in Kampala enjoying lobster and ice cream, we missed the only bus to Bwindi at 5:30am only to catch up with it in another city a few hours later. After riding on the dirtiest bus on the worst road in all of Uganda, I wished we had missed it completely because any other form of transport would have been an improvement. Murky floors, locals vomiting nearby, over crowding, frequent stops, speeding, were all present on this bus from hell. Good thing we had to take the exact same bus all the way back to Kampala on Friday.
Once we were in Bwindi, the landscape was lush and bountiful confirming my belief that the south west of Uganda is the prettiest of all. Tea and matoke plantations, livestock, crops, rain. The only way somebody goes hungry over there is to be a lazy bum.
On Thursday the 18th, we tracked for 3 hours to see a group of five gorillas. Luckily, we saw them for 30 minutes on the ground eating leaves and playing with each other, then the last 30 minutes they spent eating berrys from the tree. One black back male gorilla came over to Joan to sniff and touch her arm. The others came close to check out the humans but the old daddy silver back kept his stoic distance always watching over the group. Each day the park sends out 3 groups of eight tourist to track 3 separate families and can only be around them for only 1 hour. It was an expensive ordeal but worth every cent when you think that you are 1 or 170,000 people that have seen 5 of 700 gorillas in the world since 1993.