August 12, 2017
Once we finished our first day of Gorilla Trekking, we were famished. Our driver had delivered our bags to the Glamping Camp of Burkima. Burkima was originally set up for researchers, I am told. To use the term camping is a misnomer since this place is quite comfortable and the tents are larger than many hotel rooms I stay in…full ensuite. We were told that you need to notify the staff when you would like to take a shower so they can fill the tanks with hot water. Each tent is equipped with an extraordinarily comfortable bed, Solar Lighting, a full bath and all the comforts of a hotel.
Once settled in, I returned to the Dinner tent and Claire, Noel and I ate a lovely lunch looking out across the mountains to see the Volcanoes. It seems sometimes the Gorillas will wander into camp for a looksee…We were not so fortunate for such a visit. After lunch, our young Australian Couple reappeared from their trek and we compared videos and notes on our families….then a few more people arrived to stay the night. An American couple from Colorado, who had yet to start their trek and their guide. It turns out, their guide, Nathan, is one of the founders of the company, Inspired Journeys, I chose to book this trip. What good fortune to be able to thank one of the directors in person for helping me navigate such an amazing journey.
As soon as we had finished our tea, one of the Staff asked if we would like to visit a small Village or the Lava Caves? Well since this trip is all about adventure, I chose the Lava Caves, as did all. I would soon regret that…just kidding…but it was a bit more of an adventure than I had wanted before my attempt at the volcano.
I decked myself out in my Gorilla gear, hiking pants and boots…But I made the mistake of not putting on my gaiters, which were thick material that slipped on the lower part of my leg to protect me from stinging nettles and such but are ungodly fluorescent color . For some odd reason, I didn’t think this would be much other than a walk to see caves…Yep, that old saying, Never Assume never applied more than with this.
We took off across some fields filled with vegetables and potatoes…The farmers seems intrigued yet probably used to the visitors coming across…We were careful to not walk were they had planted. The views were lovely. Our guide told us that the Sorghum Maze was a favorite of the jungle Elephant…He also said that they are beginning to grow bamboo to help with the forest as the villagers expand their fields…It’s a struggle so they are looking for solutions where both can have some gains. Bamboo is a favorite of the Gorillas too.
After quite a hike through the various mountain fields and getting a few scrapes from some sharp weeds(because I didn’t have my gaiters on)…going up and down, we reached the caves…at first it seemed what I had expected…We went into one and it was a tad bit grimy with Bat guano…as soon as we went into the caves a troop of kids appeared at the entrance…I could hear their chatter and laughing and even though I did not understand the language, I more than understood that they were laughing at the “White People” who thought going into a bat cave was interesting!
After this cave, I thought we’d be heading back but nope, that was just a taste…we then descended into a very deep and slippery cave which required me to hold the hand of the ranger…I had no intention of breaking my leg before my 2nd gorilla trek or my volcano climb…This cave was very dark and very vary muddy…My boots had survived the 1st gorilla trek relatively unscathed…but now…not so much…This cave is where much of the water comes from…I have new appreciation for water sources. I had intended NOT to waste water by taking a shower but that plan was far gone…I was just happy to reappear from the cave unscathed…An adventure it was…I think next time, I will opt for the Village visit (-:
Once back at camp, we all scattered and had our showers…What I don’t realize was how quickly the water would go…By the time I had the shampoo in my hair I ran out of hot water! But no problem, the sink had water too…a bit more chilly but in a shampoo emergency who cares, right?
We all assembled for a lovely start to our evening by a fire outside overlooking the jungle. We swapped stories and I learned a bit about Hunting Preserves. Unbeknownst to me, mainly because I detest the killing of animals for sport, these hunting preserves that bring in rich people to hunt the big game, actually are a large part of what maintains the habitat for all the animals. Besides the obvious of bringing in jobs and money, they keep the land for they animals as opposed to the creeping want for farm land…Besides the land for the hunters, they also maintain the Public Park lands too..It’s sad that this is the case BUT it is…But because those same hunters feel the need to post those horrific pictures of their kills on social media, the pressure has had the affect many who don’t like hunting had wanted…those hunting game parks are closing…BUT with their close, the park lands for ALL the animals is being turned into Farm land…As Ethan said, once you destroy the habitat, it’s impossible to restore it in our lifetimes. I asked why this couldn’t be explained to all and was told that this particular issue is so heated that no one wants to hear the other side. I truly detest the killing of animals but so do many who run or support the hunting parks BUT they see a greater good to save entire habitats for the various species to continue…because without the habitats, they will die off. It’s a very hard reality…but those of us who strive to stop it might want to consider the bigger picture.
OK, enough of that…The night was beautiful and we soon moved into the Dinner tent to enjoy yet another delicious African meal. We enjoyed each others company and then retired in preparation for tomorrows Gorilla trek!