My dad and I had this conversation while he was here visiting a couple of weekends ago. While he named people like Lewis and Clark and Alexander the Great, my one choice was Dian Fossey.

Because of Dian Fossey, I’ve had a lifelong love affair with mountain gorillas. Growing up, she was my hero. I wanted to be her.

Of all the photos of gorillas I’ve taken, this is my favorite. It was taken in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.

In 2006, I took this picture in Rwanda, where Dian Fossey did her research. This silverback’s name is Guhonda, which means “beats the chest.”  At the time, he was the biggest and oldest of all the silverbacks in Rwanda. At 34 years old, he weighed in the neighborhood of 485 pounds.

If you could go back in time to meet someone, who would it be?

Here’s a fascinating fact: 70% of all the world’s fruit is pollinated solely by bats. Isn’t that amazing?

I took these pictures on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

Egyptian fruit bats are known for roosting in very large colonies. There were thousands of bats in this cave.

Egyptian fruit bats are unique in using echo location, which means they use the only form of echo bat location that is audible to the human ear. As we walked through the forest to the cave, I remember suddenly hearing the bats as we approached. The noise inside the cave was deafening. Of course, had I been blogging at the time, I would have taken video to share with you.

Females typically give birth to only a single baby each year, and offspring usually stay in the same colony with their parents their entire lives. Can you see the baby with its momma in this picture?

Egyptian fruit bats have a wingspan that averages two feet and a body length of around six inches. I found their faces to be incredibly dog-like. I’ve been told their fur is very soft, and their wings feel like pantyhose.

I’m missing and longing for Africa these days. ♥

I hope you’ll indulge me because I feel like talking about Africa today. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Morning Bray Farm, donkeys, dogs or New Mexico, but I do think about Africa all the time.  If you asked Don, I think he’d tell you that once I get started, I could probably talk  about it forever. 

“One time, in band camp Africa…”

I love East Africa and its amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery and wonderful people.  As I was going through old pictures last night, I came across this favorite taken on my first safari in 2002. 

I visited these orphaned chimps in Uganda at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Most chimpanzees in sanctuaries are confiscated from poachers or market vendors.  Unfortunately, chimpanzees are still disappearing in the wild because of massive destruction of their habitat, hunting for their meat and poaching of infants to be sold as pets for the illegal export trade.

Walking with those chimps was a highlight for me on that safari.  Did you know that chimpanzees share 98.4% DNA with humans, which makes them closer to humans than gorillas?

Even better is seeing chimpanzees in the wild. The ability to see them in their native habitat and observe their natural behaviors is unforgettable. This photo was taken at Kibale National Park in Uganda.