Feb 28 - Gorilla Nirvana
My group arrived as scheduled and everyone was in high spirits. We enjoyed a beautifully presented dinner at the lodge and a delicious bottle of Jordan chardonnay from South Africa - one of my favorites. Their mountain gorillas experience was phenomenal starting with the first day where they only had to walk 10 minutes until the gorillas suddenly came out of the forest and sat in the field just in front of them. Needless to say they got superb photos up close and personal. One described the experience as mystical and another felt it was life changing. The next day they made a challenging 2.5 hour hike into the mountain rain forest to find their designated gorilla family. This was a true rain forest experience with the gorillas. Mist, lush foliage, tall trees in a verdant green landscape reminiscent of Gorillas in the Mist.
They reported that they felt blessed the first day and they felt they earned the experience in the second day as they had to hike in muddy conditions and rain on the return leg.
The porters were fantastic, kicking footsteps along the trail and offering steady hands to help. I saw some of the photos which are amazing - the dominant male silverback was only feet from one of our guests and he makes a variety of great facial expressions in the photos.Everyone said they were blown away by the Virunga Mountain Lodge not only for the magical setting but also for the excellent service as all their muddy clothes and shoes we washed and dried instantly upon their return. Rwanda got very high marks for its friendly people, extremely clean environment, and attitude towards the genocide which is openly discussed. Many guests said they would go back in a heart beat...one of the best experiences in their lives! A great start to our trip….