Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo was until recently a base for rebel fighters. The World Heritage site reopened to tourists in January, and Reuters correspondent Edith Honan hiked the highlands to meet some of its most famous inhabitants.
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We we had been hiking for about three hours to really dense forest and tripping over time and getting stung by bugs. And all of a sudden you're overwhelmed by this smell are really and and nearly stepped in to separate from Ohio this being -- -- -- the jungle. And I was gonna realize that it -- is really really we're actually today we're actually closed. Well when we first cut side of the guerrillas. -- one in. The baby was clean Arafat. Was under -- you leave and was somewhat scared. And then another girl -- could barely see if it would cease that if there -- firms and -- -- tree. And at that point after a few minutes the Rangers took us to a clearing where all of a sudden we -- 45 current ones. I -- and at that point we were very close proximity. The guerrillas were sort of out in the open on obscured by Italy's. Every few minutes the guerrillas would make it sound. I can't really do much justice but it was basically. And then the Rangers. Would immediately respond with the same group. Sort of to note no lights. And it was the Rangers explain to us that it was their way out of of putting -- -- cities as in yes we've come as friends don't worry we're not here to hurt you or to attack you know. At one point one of the baby gorillas are one of the younger pilots started it in answered your. Keeping around as we might say like -- banging his head and picking up his legs. And it was like we were in the same room. And it was a little bit scary. But extremely. The eastern DRC including earned a national park has been ground zero for so much fighting for at least the last twenty years. For about the last year at the park was closed down and visitors because of the latest outbreak of violence. The portion of -- go with the mountain gorillas live which reopened in mid January. And I was in one of the first groups to visit the gorillas after the park Austria and during the national park is the oldest national park in Africa. It stretches 300 kilometers north to south. And includes 22 million acres of lush forest. -- is the only part in the world that has three types of great apes. Not gorillas and lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. Something like half of the world's existing mountain gorilla population lives and -- the mountains. And seen us -- world heritage site and it's one of the treasures. Our world.
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