We hadn’t changed our clocks from East to Southern African time, so we arrived at the main gates of the National park an hour early. Bun couldn’t sleep that well due to the excitement at seeing the gorillas.

So we climbed for half an hour before unloading all of our bags. Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas and each group is limited to eight people. We were seeing group number 13, made up of one silverback and many females and babies. The group now totals 22. It’s good news that gorilla numbers are increasing. Tourists visits help fund armed guards that protect and monitor the gorillas.

Our guides gaves us some information as we climbed through thick forest. At one stage we stopped by the boundry of the park, a stone wall that surrounds the gorillas habitat and includes Uganda, DRC and Rwanda. He then gave us a scene from the Jungle Book! He stood there, legs apart, making gorilla noises, his lips animating the shapes and sounds of the gorilla and letting us know what the different sounds mean. If the massive silverback made one noise and started thumping his chest we should get the hell out of there! Not quite, but we were told to keep our distance. Direct contact isn’t allowed and we were told to keep a good distance to avoid disease spreading.

The whole experience was incredible. It didn’t start well – we saw a lone female that wasn’t moving much and the rain clouds came over. It made photos near impossible. The guides went off and after a while asked us to follow. We then saw a group of babies playing high up in the bamboo. We watched, took photos and asked the guide questions. We moved around seeing gorillas in different places as we went around.

They were all a little subdued, but the babies made up for it, falling from high up, swinging and climbing over each other. The silverback was in a fight yesterday and he spent most of his time sleeping, popping his head up a few times when the bushes rustled. Such is nature. Each gorilla experience is different, but we left totally satisfied and overwhelmed with what we saw. A truley unique experience you don’t want to walk away from. Photos were really hard to get as there were branches and bamboo in the way a lot of the time. I think I got a few half decent ones.

We bombed back to Kigali. I don’t think there is a straight road in Rwanda. Dizzy from all the switchbacks over the last week, we got into the captial and went straight to the Hotel Gorillas. Our first hotel in a while and we ate at the Republica restaurant, recommended by the English woman we saw with the gorillas and who lives in Rwanda. A good tip, the food was great after a long day.

An enduring image from Rwanda, and East Africa in general as we start to leave and head into southern Africa. Men on bicycles – they carry huge loads on the back of their bikes and push them up the steep hills. We’ve seen them loaded down with different things from firewood to water and fruit. They are the strongest looking men we’ve seen on the whole trip. After they have unloaded they speed downhill like professional cyclists in an Alpine stage of the Tour de France. Probably due to the relief of getting rid of the load.

We’re both feel a bit rough with sore throats and a few sniffs. It’s been up and down over the last few weeks – that might have something to do with it. We are keeping the real nasty African diseases away, luckily.

We bumped into the Dutch couple again at the genocide memeorial in Kigali. They showed us to One love, a place were they were camping in the centre of Kigali. They were also there with Dave, a canadian man who we also met in Nairobi. He almost broke the record for the number of days ever spent at Jungle Junction. He clocked up 60 days waiting for a shock absorber for his motorbike. We all spent Saturday night together having drinks and some food.

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