Gabon: Loango NP – Trekking Western Lowland Gorillas
There are three species of gorillas in the world. I saw the first two – mountain gorilla in Rwanda/Uganda/Congo, and eastern lowland gorilla in southeastern Congo. The third species – Western lowland gorilla – is only found in the jungles of Cameroon and Gabon. The western lowland gorilla is the smallest of the three, they live in tropical jungles, move around a lot, and mostly spend time climbing high into the tree canopy for food since there is no grass or bushes underneath thick forest cover. Trekking gorillas in Loango National Park is an incredible experience and involves hiking through true jungles, following the rapidly moving gorilla group. I happened to be the only trekker and so had the entire family of 16 gorillas to myself – including a massive silverback, a couple subadult males, many females, and a few small babies. After about half an hour of chasing them and mostly seeing their asses or glimpses of faces through the trees, they finally stopped and went up the massive trees one by one, high high up into the tree canopy. The next half hour was spent breaking my neck staring up at them as little ones played, climbed from branch to branch, and stuffed themselves with fruits and leaves. Silverback Kamaya says “hello”!