Page 79 - Ocean Blue World Magazine - 25th Edition
P. 79

  By AJeremy Thompson
80 people. With park permits running at $1,500 a day, gorilla-watching is an exclusive experience.
We weren't wasting a second as we absorbed and photographed every tiny gesture of these magnificent creatures.
We saw how family life revolved around the dominant silverback as he ate, groomed and snoozed. Nearby, the youngsters played like naughty school children, pulling each other off branches and pushing one another down the hill.
The scene was a stark contrast to my first few visits to Rwanda as a television correspondent covering the 1994 genocide. I’ll never forget the horror of reporting on Africa’s own holocaust.
Yet on my return, I was encouraged to see a nation working hard to heal the wounds of the past. Rwanda is making a fresh start and its gorillas are not to be missed.
rustling in the bamboo was the first sign we were close, as my wife and I approached with whispered reverence.
Suddenly we saw them. A family of mountain gorillas munching contentedly on nettles, watched over by a giant silverback
My wife, Lynn had tears of joy in her eyes. It was her birthday and I'd been planning this treat for months.
Here we were — a small group of perspiring tourists on lush, vertiginous slopes, 8,000-feet up in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park — simply grinning with delight at what we were witnessing.
With just 700 remaining in the wild, mountain gorillas are a precious resource and encounters are carefully controlled. Each day eight tourists are allowed to visit one of ten habituated family groups for a maximum of
      Photos Courtesy Of: Shutterstock, Jeremy & Lynn Thompson | 79

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