Volcanoes NP Day 2 Hirwa Family

A 5.30am wake up, off to breakfast and another perfect sunny day.

Today we get allocated the Hirwa family , it has 16 members and it’s silverback is called lucky as when it was time for him to leave his family and establish his own, 8 females left with him , apparently drawn by his charms and he did not spend any time as a solo male in the wilderness.

Today we have Bernice and Jolie as our guides, these are pint sized young women who have succeeded going through the rigorous process of guide selection. There are many exams on the way and then making your way into what is still a very male dominated career. Out of 31 guides only 4 are female. They are both awesome.

We are extremely lucky today and within 15 minutes we have found our family, I guess the name is true. We leave our gear and come out into a small clearing where two 3 year olds and a most cheeky 1 year old are into playtime.


The little one keeps on unexpectedly pouncing on the other two who let him get away with what seems pretty firm pounding. He struts his stuff in front of us pounding his chest and then leaping onto a branch that can’t quite support even his weight and so falls to the ground. This continues with him getting ever closer to us and just showing off how clever he is. In the end we have 6 young gorillas right in front of us until the silverback saunters in lies down among the kids and allows them to walk all over him, some of them grooming him. He is a good Dad.


We head over a bit further away, as the rest of the family has come out of the trees.

There are a couple of blackbacks which is a mature male gorilla but young enough to not have the silver back. They are full of testosterone and are chasing each other which I try and keep up my filming. Suddenly it seems that one of the other tourists is giving me a nudge to move over, however when I look down I have a juvenile probably 4-5 year old holding my leg, it is a very nice grip and when I draw the guides attention to this the other grown up commotion takes precedence and my amazing new friend lets go and moves on!

This has been an amazing day, our final visit is with a Mum and her baby.He is probably under one and curious but not sure of us, in the end Mum hauls him by the arm unceremoniously onto her back and heads out. Our hour is up, what a time warp how can it go so quickly?

Our guides have been amazing and a real hug is what is exchanged, girls are so much better at that:)


We make our way back to the car , this has been such a relaxed visit.

In the afternoon we head out to the local market and get a feel for the normal life here. I end up buying one of the stunning colourful fabrics, all designed in Rwanda, you just don’t see two women wearing the same design here.


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