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Tropienie goryli - Gorilla Tracking

It is said that one of the most unforgettable experiences that awaits you in Africa is an encounter with wild gorillas. In this lesson you will hear a unique story about visiting the Bwindi National Park in Uganda - the only place where you can observe gorillas in their natural habitat.

Whatever you do, we were told, do not run if a gorilla charges at you. I was standing with three other trekkers in The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. If you run, the gorilla will know that you're a coward, and he'll chase you, they told us. What happens if he catches you? I asked. Just don't run!

Gorilla trekking - some people call it gorilla tracking - has its own set of rules, to protect both the animals and the observers. Before you arrive at the reserve you have ample chance to study the rules. You can't go if you're sick. You have to maintain a safe distance at all times - at least 7 meters. You're not allowed to use cameras with flash. And you're certainly not permitted to eat or drink anywhere near the gorillas. And that's it. Once the guide has run through the rules again you are loaded up into the Landcruiser and on your way - escorted by three rangers from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority for yours and the gorillas' safety.

You travel up from the base village through mountains covered in tropical crops like tea, coffee, avocado and bananas. The actual park itself is a complete contrast. The first you know is when you enter a verdant, lush, rainforest of millions and millions of trees that go on forever. We were met by two trackers who took us to where the gorillas had been the previous night - wandering through a few anthills with the biggest ants I've ever seen on the way. And then we were there - a huge clearing - all created, the guide explained, by ten huge animals weighing up to 200 kg.

There are various groups in the park, in number totalling around 300. Some are what are called habituated, which means made used to contact with humans. Then there are the truly wild gorillas. As you might expect, they don't always live in harmony with each other as they're very tribal animals. Having said that, the gorillas are very gentle and peaceful animals, and there's really a lot to provoke your interest in them.

Finally we came to a flat, open area in the jungle, about 5 metres (or 16 feet) in diameter. This is where the gorillas slept last night, our guide told us. Where are they, I was just beginning to wonder. Then I heard it: a low rumble like a snore. We were right on top of the gorillas! I continued walking and then suddenly noticed a bit of black amongst the green. It was the crest of a gorilla's head. Our group assembled in a small clearing and prepared for our visit. We had our last sips of water, got our cameras ready, and set down our bags and walking sticks (big sticks aren't something the gorillas like).

As we turned to walk toward the gorillas group I made my first real gorilla sighting: a baby and a juvenile playing in some bushes. Then I heard a great crashing and snapping of branches behind me. I was seized with panic; my shirtfront thumped in and out with my heartbeat. I looked back. Two female gorillas were feeding peacefully in the trees.

After that we quickly fell under the spell of the animals and the place. Looking back the whole of our time with the gorillas passed in a flash. I suppose that once we'd watched those first female gorillas feeding we knew that they existed, that they were real, and that they wouldn't just run off. And even though I'd worried about not being able to take too many photos, I have to say now that the photos are for others... I have my memories. One day I will surely return though, as I have some unfinished business there - I would dearly love more than just the glimpse I had of the real prize of the park - the Silverback - the single male Alpha of each group, the biggest and the most impressive male gorillas in the park, weighing in at 200 kg. Why are they called Silverback? For obvious reasons!


Glossary:

ample - wystarczający, obfity
anthill - mrowisko
to assemble - gromadzić się, zbierać się
to be right on top of sth - być bardzo blisko czegoś
to charge - atakować, szarżować
clearing - polana
crest of the head - czubek głowy
diameter - średnica
to fall under the spell - poddać się czarowi
feeding - karmi ca
glimpse - przelotne spojrzenie
to go on forever - ciągnąć się w nieskończoność
gorilla tracking - tropienie goryli
habituated - przyzwyczajony
to have unfinished business - mieć coś do załatwienia
in a flash - błyskawicznie, bardzo szybko
juvenile - młodociany, małoletni
lush - bujny
male - samiec
my shirtfront thumped in and out with my heartbeat - serce mi dudniło
ranger - strażnik parku
rumble - burczenie, pomruk
seized with panic - ogarnięty paniką
set of rules - zbiór zasad
sighting - widok, ujrzenie czego
sip of water - łyk wody
snap - łamać
snore - chrapanie
tribal - plemienny
tropical crops - uprawy tropikalne
verdant - pokryty zielenią
walking sticks - kijki
to wander - wędrować, włóczyć się
to wonder - zastanawiać się

Artykuł pochodzi z audio kursu Angielski Adventure.


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