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Gorilla Pilgrimage

The journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of pilgrimage to it

These days scheduled flights can get you from Kampala to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in a couple of short hours.  However, if time allows, we think it’s worth considering the slow route and going overland. 

There’s something about the time taken; ten hours or so, perhaps stopping on the way in Lake Mburo National Park, followed by the steep and strenuous walk through the dense forest undergrowth, that serves to underline quite how special an opportunity this is. 

It feels appropriate that the journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last  Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of the pilgrimage to it.  Time to contemplate.

Only 150 years ago many in the west believed Gorillas to be as mythical as the unicorn, and in the past few decades that analysis has come perilously close to being the case. 

These days though, albeit in the face of a continuing threat of total global extinction, Bwindi’s Gorillas are for the moment a story of success.  With numbers in recent years increasing to 400, half of the population of the world’s Mountain Gorillas now live in Bwindi.

With time restricted to one hour in the presence of the Gorillas, it could be argued that it’s a long way to go, one hell of an uphill struggle to get there and only a short time when you get there. 

But then without the support of dedicated conservation efforts, aided by the tourist dollar that supports the communities around Bwindi this could more truthfully be said to apply to the plight of the Gorillas themselves.

Posted by: Alex

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