Traveled To 84 Countries On 6 Continents Building A Global Movement Of People Who Are Changing The World. Trying To Make Sense Of How Everything Fits Together In This Big World Of Ours. Now I'm Living In Sydney Like A "Real Person" Working In Charity Fundraising. It's Very Strange, So I'm Writing All About It. Read My Stories. Hopefully Laugh.
28 September 2014
We Saw Monkeys! (And The Back of a Gorilla)
Sun 28 Sep: Monkeying around
There’s nothing quite like watching the African sunrise over the hills of Rwanda. Today we got to do just that, as we had a 5:30am wake-up to ensure we were in the jungle to track golden monkeys before the midday heat pushed them deeper and deeper into the heavy rainforest.
About to begin their monkey trek
We were locked and loaded by 6:30am, zooming northward into Volcanoes National Park. After a thorough briefing from our local guides we headed off on foot. It was already hot and humid and the sun was already fierce. It poured with rain last night, which meant the air was clear, the grass was greener than greener and the path was MUDDY! We were slipping and sliding as we weaved through farmland, locals waving, smiling and yelling “hello!” as we passed.
The Volcanoes National Park
It took us about thirty minutes before we hit the dense bamboo forest, where we regrouped before continuing on. The temperature dropped instantly as we were under heavy tree cover. The mud, however, did not abate! Neither did the biting ants, which were munching at our ankles as we went. Another thirty minutes and we reached a small clearing, where we dropped our daypacks to be more nimble to follow the golden monkeys. It was just another 100 metres to the monkeys. As we re-entered the forest, Greg, our charity rep, noticed our head guide talk into a walkie-talkie and dart off into the forest at full speed. We learned later that there was a gorilla just a few hundred metres away! While they’re far more scared of us than we are of them (they’re notorious for disappearing into the forest at the sight of a human) we of course had armed guards looking after us.
Gorilla sideshow sorted, we continued onward without realising that all of a sudden the golden monkeys were all around us! Left, right, up, down, leaping from branch to branch, ripping bamboo to shreds as they ate and coming right up to us almost curious about what we were doing. They took a particular liking to Joel, who came within a few feet of them as they looked him up and down. It was a truly surreal experience being consumed in every direction by wild monkeys!
We had over an hour with them before hiking our way back out and heading back to the hotel. While it’s not quite the season for the short rains, we seem to be getting them every afternoon and today was no different. In fact, we were in our rooms no longer than two minutes before monsoon-level intense rains blew open the balcony doors and pounded us for a good solid forty minutes. It was just fantastic.
We’re now nestled safely in our next hotel just a few minutes from the World Vision northern region head office following a two-hour drive on back country dirt roads through rural villages full of warm, smiling, waving people who couldn’t stop welcoming us to their magical country. Once again, another INCREDIBLE day.
Catch up on today’s guest blog by Kimberley College student, Tiffany - read blog.