It’s vacation time here at Anderson Guitarworks. Tom likes it when we all go somewhere thrilling and remote together so if we are to bring you a Guitar of the Week for this week it must be done via satellite link from the jungles of East Africa. An uplink from a region this remote can sometimes last only a few minutes so consider this a postcard from Tom Anderson Guitarworks on safari.
We depart Nairobi at sunrise. Our guides are the nicest guys ever and we become fast friends. It is interesting how similar our music is. We have already sung many songs together. Our first stop is a lookout at 8,000 feet above sea level. We can now see the jungle sprawled before us. As we descend into the valley the noises of wildlife grow louder. We are in contact with nature. We have seen zebras, baboons and a few warthogs. Our first camp is at Kembu.
The day began with a climb up the Mau escarpment. We actually crossed the equator, although I never saw a line on the ground, and headed toward Malaga in Uganda. There the vegetation changed drastically to that of a tropical rain forest. We could see Lake Victoria in the distance and made camp on the banks of the Nile overlooking Bujagali Falls. Jesse took a shower with an elephant.
We made our way to Muko. From there it is only a short walk across the fertile terraced mountains to Kisoro. At ridgeline three countries can be seen, Uganda, Rwanda and Republic of Congo. In the distance rises the Ruwenzori Mountains, which means Mountains of the Moon. They are home to the fabled mountain gorillas. The view is breathtaking!
The next day we set out to climb the Ruwenzori Mountains for this is why we have come: to see mountain gorillas in the wild and live among them. We are well aware that many never see these elusive creatures. Our guides tell us that gorillas are gentle and intelligent creatures that are more closely related to humans than many would expect but what we came across on day-5 surprised even our knowledgeable guides.
It was just after noon when we rounded the bend of an overgrown animal trail and stumbled upon an inhabited gorilla nest. We were a bit startled! They also appeared to be surprised and alarmed to see us at first but after taking a good long look at Tom, their expressions of surprise changed to one of delight. Apparently, they had recognized him from an old Anderson catalog that one of the great apes was holding. Just then a few of them retreated into the bush only to reappear momentarily with beautiful Anderson guitars strapped on. Tom gently looked at each guitar to make sure the truss rods were properly adjusted to the humid jungle weather (something all players should do occasionally with any guitar). The gorillas seemed to appreciate this gesture and before we knew it they had plugged into rather large tube amps that were all but shrouded by foliage. How they powered them is still a mystery but their tone was amazing! It is remarkable what an opposable thumb and big, fat fingers can do. Since we had also packed in our own Anderson guitars, we jammed late into the evening.
We awoke to a wonderful breakfast of bananas and green leaves provided by our new hosts. Even our guides said they had never experienced anything like this—although they had heard of a legend that tells of a band of gorillas, but they had no idea…We jammed again until dawn was breaking through the forest canopy.
Unfortunately, it was now time to pack up and head out. Feeling enriched by such an incredible bonding experience brought about through music, we said our heartfelt good-byes to our new friends and set out for the man-village. Our packs felt lighter on our backs as every step was filled with joy. Looking forward to seeing you at home!