Family Safari – June 2011 – Video

Rwanda and Tanzania

Jul 12 2011 Written by:Brad Horn

I recently had the pleasure of guiding a great family out of Washington DC on a safari to Tanzania and Rwanda.  This was the family’s third African safari with Epic, having been previously to Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.  The focus of this trip was the migration in the Serengeti and the mountain gorilla’s of Rwanda.

Ordinarily in the latter part of June the migration is principally in the western and lower sections of the northern corridor of the Serengeti. We hedged our bets by choosing two camps; one in the west and the other a little further north. This way we covered all bases. If the migration was more advanced than normal or lagging somewhat we would still be within striking distance. It was just as well we did as this year the migration moved north very early with only rear guard elements still in the western corridor. We did however hit “paydirt” at the more northern location, the Grumeti Reserves.

The Serengeti is such a vast expanse of wilderness and it never ceases to deliver on the game experience. To see the migration in all its glory is certainly one of the wonders of the nature and something that everyone should see at least once in their life. It is hard to comprehend the sheer mass of animals. It is even harder to capture the scale effectively on film. In addition to the million or so bleating wildebeest, all the usual suspects were in attendance; lion, cheetah, hyena, elephants, buffalo and a host of other plains-game species. One of the highlights of the trip was a balloon ride over the Serengeti’s vast plains. Words can’t describe how special it is silently floating above the animals.

From the Serengeti we flew onto Rwanda and embarked on two days trekking for the highly endangered mountain gorillas. With only 700 or so of these animals left on earth, they are a very rare commodity. In my experience Rwanda delivers the best gorilla experience and it certainly didn’t fail to measure up. Our two days couldn’t have been more different; the first was a challenging day from both a terrain and weather perspective. The gorilla family we were visiting were lodged deep in a re-entrant. Luckily we were all in good physical shape to make the most of the day. My clients were real troopers and revelled in the challenge. We were rewarded with good viewing including seeing two mothers with very young twins. It is very rare for gorilla’s to give birth to twins. The second day was much easier; the weather was fine and we chanced upon the gorillas in a clearing in the forest. We spent a magical hour with a family of 13 gorillas, including the biggest silverback in the Virunga Mountains named Gahonda (weighing an impressive 220 kgs – 480lbs) all around us. What a way to finish the safari!

To view some highlights from their amazing trip please click on the below video footage.

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