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You wouldn’t dare joke about a gorilla if you’ve ever seen one up close.

Deep in the forests of East Africa, a dwindling population of some 750 gorillas are the only ones left in the world. They inhabit the treacherous Virunga Range, an extinct volcanic region along the borders of three African nations: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Coming to see them is no easy feat. The 45-degree volcanic slope is covered by dense vegetation, without a trail, and enjoys a downpour of torrential rain on certain months. Visitors can hire a guide to take them into the depths of the forest in hopes to spot a family of this wondrous primate. But once they catch a glimpse of black fur through the thick undergrowth and a gigantic 800-pound alpha male steps in sight, all their tiredness fades away.

Gorillas, up close, are truly majestic and intimidating. It’s worth knowing that just one swipe of its fist can instantly kill a human being. But besides their fearsome strength, you can find by looking into their soulful eyes that 98% genetic similarity that they share with us which science has unveiled.

Truly, some vacations go beyond conveniently relaxing to dramatically life-changing. This is definitely one of those trips.

 

via wildlifedirect

Photo via WildlifeDirect

via wildlife direct 2

Photo via WildlifeDirect

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Natalie Morgan photography

Photo by Natalie Morgan via nataliemorganphotography.com

Emily Fano

Photo via Emily Fano

Brian Keating via GoingWild

Photo by Brian Keating via GoingWild