Back in 1985 Dian Fossey was busy studying the gorillas in Rwanda while we were launching our first tour in East Africa – the 16-day Grand Safari through Kenya.
Although a visit to the gorillas wasn’t on the itinerary (we started trekking to see the Congo’s gorillas in the early 90s) lots of our staff members have been lucky enough to spend an hour with these incredible animals over the years.
Glenyce Johnson, Peregrine Managing Director:
“The first time I saw gorillas in Rwanda it reduced me to tears. You never know how long you're going to have to trek before you see them, but it's a beautiful walk through the Rwandan countryside. Then all of a sudden, there they are.
We saw a family of 39 gorillas and I was completely mesmerised. And let me tell you something I discovered, when you see a 500-pound silverback and he's eyeballing you, you don't feel fear. You really don't. He'll just reach out with his strong hands and rip down a bit of sugarcane and throw it in his mouth. And you can guarantee that mum and the kids are not too far away, and they’re swinging from the trees and playing. What an amazing species.”
Lizzie Shore, Africa Operations Coordinator
“I get goosebumps thinking about the first time I saw the gorillas. After only trekking a short distance we stopped and I could hear some branches breaking nearby and our guide said they’re right there. We walked closer and I looked up, it was the silverback I saw first.
He was so big and so close! And because you’re not allowed to point, everyone was trying to whisper but we were all so excited so every now and then you’d hear a little squeal from someone! My heart was in my throat. It’s just incredible. The best experience of my life.”
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