Safaris & stories
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Africa Geographic Travel

One of our Photographer of the Year entrants, Nelis Wolmarans, shared with us a sombre update on the subject matter of a photo that got him a place in the 2017 finals – the silverback gorilla, Giraneza.

Giraneza yawning, silverback gorilla, portrait, Rwanda
“Morning Yawn” ©Nelis Wolmarans

Nelis had the following to say:

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the death of this phenomenal silverback, Giraneza. He had fought hard battles to secure a family of his own and finally settled at the base of Bisoke Volcano in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park with his small family.

It is believed that his untimely death was a result of an illness.

adult and infant gorilla, Rwanda
One of the females and her infant ©Nelis Wolmarans

He leaves behind two adult females, the 26-year-old Pasika and her infant Mashami, and the 14- year-old Kurinda and her infant, Nyampinga.

The trackers from Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund are keeping a close eye on the two mothers and their young.

adult and infant gorilla, Rwanda
The other female and her infant ©Nelis Wolmarans

Despite his fearsome reputation in gorilla circles, Giraneza was a true ‘Gentle Giant’ to the people who had the privilege of visiting him and his family. R.I.P big guy!”

Giraneza, silverback gorilla, portrait, Rwanda
R.I.P Giraneza ©Nelis Wolmarans

Subscribe to enjoy more stories like this – join our tribe


Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

Africa Geographic Travel
Guest Contributor

In the Guest Blogger profile, you'll see fresh and exciting content from a range of contributors who have submitted their content to us on a once-off or temporary basis, including press releases, campaigns and exciting adventure and travel tales!