Rwanda gorillas: close encounter with a silverback goes viral

Not everyone can say they’ve been charged at by a silverback gorilla - but I can. This incredible encounter happened on our recent honeymoon in Rwanda. After popping the video on social media... it’s gone bananas!

As things tend go in the wonderful world of social media… everyone seems to have an opinion about what happened when I came face to face with a silverback gorilla. But this was my experience.

We had a wonderful adventure in Africa for our honeymoon, and a real highlight of the trip was seeing the gorillas in the jungle of Rwanda. We hiked with other tourists and our friendly and knowledgeable guides into the jungle, searching for these beautiful creatures.

We were super lucky to be able to hang out in a grassy flat area and observe a family of Rwandan gorillas interact with each other... and then with us!

We were watching them for a good 45 minutes before ‘the incident’ happened. 

Check out the video filmed by Damien (my husband of 6 days at the time) who was wearing a GoPro on his head.

While we were watching them the silverback gorilla came straight towards me, shoved me to the ground and kept moving.

At the time, sure, it was frightening – for a split second I didn't know what he was going to do – but I landed on soft grass and was back standing before I even knew what had happened.

Despite media reports, I wasn’t ‘attacked’ by the silverback gorilla but I certainly had a close encounter. I laughed – a little out of disbelief but also that something so incredible could happen to us.

It was not malicious,  wasn't harmed and it was not something to be concerned about. I was wearing a bright pink t-shirt and jacket and stood out like a sore thumb. I get it now.

Gemma Cosgriff taking photos of Gorillas in Rwanda

We hadn’t used our new camera before so weren’t sure if we managed to capture the footage. Turns out we did, and it was brilliant! We love that we have this to keep forever and have been able to bottle up the Rwandan gorilla experience to tell future generations, and enjoy watching in slow-motion ourselves!

I don’t want this story to put anyone off traveling to see these beautiful gorillas in Rwanda. They're highly unlikely to harm anyone if you’re simply observing and not putting them at risk. They’re friendly and the guides research them every day to contribute to the conservation efforts of the region and for this species. They’ve done so much work to try to reduce poaching activities and save them. Tourism like ours supports this wonderful cause and it truly is a unique, magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We felt quite safe travelling in Rwanda, we had a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide with us for all our activities, and found it to be such a beautiful country. The landscape is stunning and the people are friendly and welcoming. We will NEVER forget this experience!

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Gemma Cosgriff is a Bupa Dietitian and a trusted Blue Room health and nutrition writer.


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