Gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda

By Brenda Milum
This item appears on page 25 of the August 2019 issue.
A gorilla photobombing Brenda and George Milum in Rwanda.

Following a 6-day tour to Ethiopia in November 2018, my husband, George, and I headed to Uganda and Rwanda, where we had arranged gorilla trekking through ITN advertiser Fish Eagle Safaris (Houston, TX; 800/513-5222, www.fisheaglesafaris.com).

Our “gorilla day” in Uganda was a bit of a letdown. First, it was a long, grueling hike up to the gorillas. I was fine because I had paid extra to be carried up on a stretcher, but George could not be talked into being carried.

When I first saw him after the climb, he was as white as a sheet. He said it was the hardest thing he had ever done! (Both George and I were 85 at the time of our trip.)

There were two or three big male gorillas down on the ground and quite visible, but they just looked back at us as we looked at them. All of the action was up in the trees, where the mamas watched the youngsters running around on branches chasing each other. We couldn’t see much of the action.

However, our experience with the gorillas in Rwanda was WONDERFUL! Fortunately, the hike to see them, on Nov. 11, was not as long and steep as it had been in Uganda two days earlier, but I still took a stretcher. George hiked up but said it was much easier than in Uganda.

We saw about 14 gorillas running around and playing on the ground. We were told not to get too close to them, but they weren’t told that. They frolicked around us, and one big guy ran right through our group twice, slapping one of our group members on the back.

It was a magical hour and we loved it!

Olympic Valley, CA

Rwanda gorilla. Photo by Brenda Milum