We make such good time in the Congo that we decide to visit tributary of the mighty Congo river for a boat trip along the river to a Gorilla reserve. Here the staff are slowly and successfully rewilding Gorillas that have been born in capativity into the wild population of 70 gorillas on the vast reserve.
To get to the river is a 10km twisty and hilly off road track over soft sandy ground, we get shook up a fair bit and spin our wheels a few times but just manage to avoid getting stuck (next time on the way out we lower the tyre pressures, lazy mistake on my part).
After we arrive at camp Abio two other overlanding trucks join us, a novelty for us to have company, so we make a plan to go to see the Gorillas in the morning, as it is already dusk, and catch up on the stories of the other folks and discuss routes and plans together, swapping tips and ideas.
The next day just as we are about to leave for the river the heavens open and the trip is put off, for one hour, then another hour, then another. Finally we leave with a couple who just arrived for the trip and the others decided to wait longer.
The gorilla trip was brilliant, as the staff are feeding them fruit and vegetation from the jungle to train them to survive themselves, they come to the shore, gradually they learn what they can eat, and learn to find it themselves in the jungle, in the meantime the charity benefits from the £80 each we pay to tag along to see. The reserve is run by a UK charity the Aspinal Foundation.
Thankfully the Gorillas don’t swim, so we can get close, 3m or so, without being in danger and we can get to them on the water quite quickly, compared to having to trek through the jungle this is quite easy. However the boat ride itself turns into an adventure, we hit a log and break the prop on the outboard so have to be rescued, some folks are nervous waiting on the bank as we are keeping an eye out for hippos who’s tracks lead to the water just by our stricken boat
A fantastic day, good company, The deep Congo continues to surprise and delight us, and it was not even on our plan, only the closure of Gabon forced us down this inland route.
The trip has taken a big turn for the better