Each time my travel buddies and I looked at excursions to see the mountain gorillas, Uganda and Rwanda were too dangerous. In 2014, Natural Habitat opened a new adventure to the lowland gorillas in The Republic of Congo. Sign me up. Could I make it? Was it too grueling? I am not a spring chick anymore! So, I talked to the female Natural Habitat guide that had been on the staff exploratory trip. “Oh yes it was tough. Walking 5 to 7 miles a day. No guarantees to see them! Prepare to have wet shoes everyday.” Still something inside of me said “you’ve got to do this.” Then there was the cost! An arm, leg and a liver! Still I had to go for it. Only one other traveling friend was up for the trip. We were going!
We flew to Brazzaville to spend the first night and to meet the other five that would make up our group. I could hardly sleep, while visions of gorillas danced in my head! Bright and early the next day, we boarded a small prop engine plane for a two hour flight to the Ndzehi Forrest. Upon landing in a grass field, we were met by our camp team, boarded our land cruiser for a three hour trip down the rut filled dirt “highway” to the camp. I was like a little kid twisting my head every way possible not to miss a bird, a monkey, anything that moved. We were the first “tourists” to go on this trip with Natural Habitat! The Expedition Group!
There was little sleep that night. Up at 5:30 am, breakfast at 6:00 and off in our two different groups at 6:30. There were two different gorilla families that we were allowed to track.
It was definitely an experience of a lifetime. A feeling I will keep safe.
Note: If you have a unique travel experience you’d like to share, please let me know – I’d love to feature it.