It is now 06:30 in the morning and the last guests just left for their Gorilla treks. I enjoy seeing the anticipation and excitement on the guests’ faces. Every so often you have to nudge the clients into the dining room for breakfast, away from the awesome view from the front veranda, to ensure they get to their treks on time. The cloud formations surrounding the volcanoes have been absolutely amazing.
The length of the treks have been varying quite a bit, which is normal for this time of the year. Gorillas don’t take in much surface water, and are therefore more so reliant on the moisture content in the plants they feed on and in the drier months of the year the families travel quite a bit more, searching for a better food source. The most frequently visited families lately are Agashya, Hirwa, Umubano, Amahoro, Kwitonda and quite recently Sabyinyo again. Susa family has moved much higher up the slopes of Karisimbi and has not seen tourists for about 3 weeks now. Hopefully the rains in March and April will bring them lower down when the young bamboo shoots appear along the park’s periphery.
Sabyinyo’s 2nd in charge Silverback has really developed in size over the last 2 months and will probably take over from Guhonda (now 41 years old) in the not so distant future. The old man has not lost it yet though. I saw him mating with one of the females about 2 months ago, so hopefully in about 7 months from now Guhonda will surprise us with yet another addition to the Sabyinyo Family.
Photo and update from Nelis Wolmarans – Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge manager