I’m currently gorilla-trekking in south-west Uganda, home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas, and having a wonderful time. The gorillas themselves are nothing like the way they’re depicted in popular culture – they are gentle and placid, like oversized koala bears. As I crouched in a glade in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, watching a family play together, I realised the Planet of the Apes films have got it back to front. In real life, it’s the chimps that are aggressive and testy. Gorillas are stately and wise.
I’m not entirely comfortable with the whole concept of eco-tourism. There is no reason why a person cannot be a passionate conservationist and care deeply about the abject poverty of sub-Saharan Africa, but the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. (To read more, click here.)