Nikki Grosse's trek in Central Africa takes
her through the dramatic and remote landscapes of Uganda
and Eastern Congo (formerly Zaire).
Nikki's route begins in South West Uganda in the 'Switzerland
of Africa', where she travels on the back of a truck to Bwindi
National Park, also known as the "Impenetrable
Forest". Bwindi is one of the last remaining habitats
of mountain gorillas in the world, and the
current gorilla population is estimated at 320. With the help
of guides and slashers who cut at the dense undergrowth with
machetes, Nikki tracks a gorilla family for hours through
difficult terrain and is finally rewarded when she finds herself
only metres from a Silverback.
Nikki travels north through the wildlife haven Queen
Elizabeth National Park, en route to the small town
of Kasese. Kasese is situated at the base
of the Rwenzori Mountains and is the last
place where trekkers can buy provisions before setting off
into the mountains. Nikki buys a pair of wellies for the infamous
Bigo Bog and organises a team of Ugandan guides and
porters to accompany her on the trek.
The Rwenzori Mountains are also known as The Mountains
of the Moon because of the glaciers at the summit
which can be glimpsed through a veil of cloud. They are a
true African wilderness and Nikki treks through impossible
undergrowth, along slippery paths, through knee deep bogs
and thick mud, under towering giant heather forests and over
snow covered peaks and glaciers, ending her journey a few
hundred metres of Margherita Peak, the third
highest in Africa.
For the final part of Nikki's journey she crosses the border
into the Congo and travels to Beni, where
she is diagnosed with Malaria. After a course of medical treatment
and a few unplanned rest days, she heads off into the Ituri
forest in Eastern Congo.
She travels in a truck along some of the worst roads in Africa;
the recent rains have turned it into mud-filled potholes.
Leaving the vehicle and setting off on foot Nikki eventually
reaches a Mbuti Pygmy community. The pygmies
are the indigenous people of the Ituri forest, which provides
them with nearly everything they need.
Here Nikki helps the children collect caterpillars and crabs
for the evening meal, has ticks removed from her hair and
on her final night is invited to listen to their traditional