Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

Gentle Giant

Country: Rwanda
Location: Volcano National Park

Gentle Giant

This is a picture of the dominate Susa Family Silverback Male having moved within about 8 feet of the camera for a better look. His eyes speak volumes to the challenges of life. The gorillas that are observed by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International have been habituated to the presence of humans.  Nothing can prepare one for the impact of encountering a fully-grown silverback gorilla, up to three times the size of an average man, yet remarkably peaceable and tolerant of human visitors, and just a couple of arm's lengths away, looking right into your eyes. Hiking Rwanda's volcanoes and spending an hour with a gorilla family is without doubt a once in lifetime achievement.

The Silverback's right hand shown here  has four fingers, a thumb and unique fingerprints. He is our closest living relative, sharing 98% of our DNA.
Susa Group/Family—the largest group with 41 gorillas named for the Susa River within their home range. The group is very impressive with three silver-backs and several-black backs, females and several youngsters. Part of the fame of this group are playful twins, named by first lady, Laura Bush and the first lady of Rwanda. Circa 2005, these are the only known surviving set of twins amongst the mountain gorillas. The Susa group roams the slopes of 14000 foot Karisimbi Volcano and is reputed to be the most difficult to trek as it requires a tough hike up the mountain.

This picture was taken in Volcano National Park. The Volcano National Park borders both Virunga National Park in the Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Typically when we think of mountain elevations of 8,000 -12,000 feet we think of the ski resorts of Utah or Colorado.  Picture those same mountains hot and humid, covered with dense vegetation and vine so thick that often a machete must be used at times to hack the way through.  Oh yea, no ski lift to carry the city folks and their equipment to the top. That picture is Rwanda's Park Of The Volcanoes. One 'treks' says a tour operator: An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills.....  Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Volcano National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range - home of the rare mountain gorilla - and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.  

In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat, wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest - the Virungas. Home of the mountain gorilla and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, here Dian Fossey set up the Karisoke Research Center. She is buried there next to her beloved mountain gorilla Digit. Her cemetery has now become a worldwide attraction. Fossey's life later was portrayed on the big screen in the film Gorillas In The Mist, named after her autobiography. The mountain gorillas are classified as a critically endangered species, whose survival is strictly dependent on daily collaboration among conservation institutions working in the region.


Safari Activities Africa Map Flora Couture by Floral 2000
  Currency Converter  

Photographed and Copyrighted ©2005 - 2016 All Right Reserved By: Harriet Smith
Meet Harriet Smith
Contact Us
Terms and Conditions
Copyright and Liability