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
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!
- wystarczający, obfity
- gromadzić się, zbierać się
to be right on top of sth
- być bardzo blisko czegoś
- atakować, szarżować
crest of the head
- czubek głowy
to fall under the spell
- poddać się czarowi
- karmi ca
- przelotne spojrzenie
to go on forever
- ciągnąć się w nieskończoność
- tropienie goryli
to have unfinished business
- mieć coś do załatwienia
in a flash
- błyskawicznie, bardzo szybko
- młodociany, małoletni
my shirtfront thumped in and out with my heartbeat
- serce mi dudniło
- strażnik parku
- burczenie, pomruk
seized with panic
- ogarnięty paniką
set of rules
- zbiór zasad
- widok, ujrzenie czego
sip of water
- łyk wody
- uprawy tropikalne
- pokryty zielenią
- wędrować, włóczyć się
- zastanawiać się
Artykuł pochodzi z audio kursu Angielski Adventure.