“The king's name is Gukubita. It means ‘beat’. But don't worry, he beats his chest not his visitors." Our guide Eugene winks, adjusts the automatic rifle on his shoulder, and turns toward the jungle.
We walk up the base of the Sambinyo Volcano to track Gukubita and his family of mountain gorillas.
Rwanda’s volcano region is called the Virunga Mountains and is the place Dian Fossey founded the Karasoke Research Center in 1967 to study and protect the gorillas.
Karasoke protects one third of all mountain gorillas in the Virungas, and because of their efforts the critically endangered population has increased by almost seven hundred.
Eugene’s machete rings out a high Cschringgg, as it strikes the bamboo thicket. The lush, emerald-colored terrain is difficult to navigate. There are no trails, so we walk on top of the vegetation.