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East Africa 2024 Dispatch Part III – Lamech and Three Week Old Gorilla

Date: February 29, 2024 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

The Ultimate Habituation

In the third and final dispatch from my annual East Africa adventure with our advisor partners,  I find myself back in Uganda, one of my favorite places. My love of this country goes far beyond the amazing gorilla interactions and biodiversity. It’s the people. Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain.


Back in July 2003, just after I was married, my wife and I were on our way to Africa. En route, we stopped in London to visit her grandparents. For those of you don’t know,  Purvi’s family was forced out of Uganda, among the many thousands of Indians Idi Amin exiled. Her grandparents, past 100 years in age, recounted their experience in detail. As I was from Kenya, my family and were very familiar with Idi Amin and what was happening there. This was the first time, however, that I heard this story firsthand, and I hung onto every word. As I think back to that time, its amazing how far Uganda has come with tourism now a top five export and foreign investment welcomed.


There are a few countries in the world that exemplify the power of tourism, Rwanda, Colombia, and recently Sri Lanka and Uganda. These are modern miracles, transformed by tourism, and the benefits include Uganda’s relative stability and a growing gorilla population. The partnership between the gorilla trekking initiatives in Bwindi and the community partnership with the Batwa tribes is an ambitious initiative with a clear goal in mind. It is this transformation that draws me into countries like this. They are real-life examples of sustainable tourism at work. Of course, it’s not perfect, then again when is anything absolutely without roadblocks.


Then there is the gorilla experience. This latest visit was a bit different. During my habituation experience, my guide, Lamech, was a familiar face. Pre-pandemic, we were on a previous trek together in a different part of Uganda. Though we had not spoken in years, we each remembered that time and were both grateful to see that the other was still in this industry post-pandemic. Even the experience was different from all previous experiences in both Rwanda and Uganda. This time, I revisited a family I had been tracking for a year. I fully expected the Silverback to be challenged as the Blackback was almost ready last visit. Instead, as you will see in the accompanying video, I had the honor of seeing a 3-week-old gorilla, brought into this world by one of the older females. Watching each mature male come down off the tree and visit with the mother and baby, even hugging, was a sight I still can’t stop thinking about. For the many times I have tracked the gorillas in both Rwanda and Uganda, I may be a bit desensitized to the adrenalin and impact. Nope, it’s still the same rush.



Enjoy the 2024 Part Three dispatch!

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