Two weeks ago, my guests, and I spent 2 days tracking the Gorillas up in the Volcanoes national park, an adventure of a lifetime. This is in consideration that we are actually seeing the last of the mountain Gorillas. For me, it was one of the many trips here, but for my guests, it was their first, and as it turned out, was a lifetime experience.
Gorillas are great example of tourism saving wildlife. Deforestation and the region’s growing population could well have wiped out the less-than-800 mountain gorillas left in the wild in this region shared by Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. In Rwanda now, up to 80 guests a day pay upwards of US$750 each to trek through intensely rugged rain forest for up to four hours in order to spend 60 precious minutes in their midst. Without those tourist dollars, it’s unlikely the species could last – man would simply take over their habitat as the demand for settlement to accommodate the growing human population increases. In fact Rwanda has the highest population density per square kilometer at over 400. Your visit to this park is not only great adventure for you, as a lifetime experience, but beneficial to the conservation of the Gorillas. The local residents, some of whom are poachers-turned conservationist can now see the benefits of the Gorillas, and as a result are now joining hands with their government to protect them.
Our adventure was no different from that of other guests, except that we were assigned a private group, courtesy of our host guide, Kirenga, the chairman of Rwanda Guides Association. This way, we were able to take as many photos without being in anybody’s way or someone coming into your shot.
Going to see the Gorillas also provides one, a way to experience the culture of the people of Rwanda. You visit will be incomplete until you have visited some of the genocide memorial sites. The one in Kigali offers more in-depth information about this event, which remains a significant mark in history of Rwanda.
Our visit wasn’t without adventures. One of the guests got a blister on one of his feet, which worsened by the physically demanding climb. At the end of our second day of tracking, we had to check out of our lodge and travelled to Kigali, where we took the guest to King Faisal Hospital where he was attended. He came out and remained to nurse, carefully his foot and managed to see the remaining 10 days of their safari end well.
The long trek up the mountains
Sometimes you may need a helping hand
Here, one of the guests, Tonya taking a close up shot of the silverback
Putting your camera away sometime is wise, so as to appreciate the experience
A CLIMPSE OF RWANDA CULTURE