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Uganda’s great apes

When photographer Gerhard Pretorius set off to capture Uganda’s great apes, the last thing he expected was to see his own reflection in the faces of these beasts. He shares his encounters with Uganda’s chimps and gorillas in the first of a two-part series.

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Of all the wildlife experiences and photographic opportunities Africa has to offer, few things can top trekking into Uganda’s tropical jungles to find the great apes. Looking into the eyes of a 220kg wild silverback mountain gorilla is more than a bucket-list item. It’s a moment of self-reflection.

41 years in the making

My dad bought his first SLR camera in 1976. Newlywed and living abroad, he used it to document my parents’ two-year stint in the UK and almost every vacation that followed.

That camera is entrenched in some of my earliest memories. During family holidays in game parks, I’d be sandwiched between my two older brothers while my mom used sweets to bribe us to sit still so my father could get that perfect shot.

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