Most of us have seen the movie “Gorillas in the mist “staring Sigourney Weaver as Dian Fossey an American anthropologist who devotes her life to protecting the Rwandan gorillas from poachers, and possible extinction.
Today thanks in part to Dians work it is possible to travel to Rwanda and visit the gorillas in their natural habitat. In fact where tourism in other parts of the world has had a negative effect on the environment paying to go and see one of man’s kinds closest relatives in the wild has been a step in the right direction.
The volcanic mountain landscape where the gorillas live in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DR Congo is one of the most densely populated areas on earth with most of the local people depending on farming to make a living. Thanks to the money that comes in from gorilla tourism, the governments have made the land off-limits to farmers who are always looking for more land on which to grow their crops.
A luxury safari trek to visit the gorillas requires a permit which in the case of Rwanda is $750 so not only are you paying for a once in a lifetime experience, but you are also helping to ensure the gorillas survival.
During the 1980’s less than 250 gorillas were counted when Dian Fossey was doing her work, but today thanks to tourism the gorilla population is nearly 800.
Getting to Kigali
Where to stay
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is On the edge of Volcanoes National Park- only 10 minutes away from park HQ where Rwandan gorilla treks usually begin. There’s a bar, dining room and library in the main lodge.
Sabyinyo places a real emphasis on supporting the community in Rwanda, so most of the staff are local and are keen to make your stay a special one. There are hot water bottle on chill winter evenings, and snacks to take with you while you are trekking.
The Volcano National Park is located 80 km from Kigali, and was the first National Park in Africa set up in 1925 by the Belgian colonial rulers comprising an area of 160 km2 of rain forest and bamboos with six extinct, and three active volcanos the biggest of which is the inactive Mount Karisimbi 4,507 metres (14,787 ft.)
At the gates to the National Park you will be assigned to a group of up to eight people which will include a tracker, and armed ranger. Every night the rangers keep a track of the gorillas until they make their nest which provides a starting point for the next morning’s trek.
Trekking can be quite arduous so you need to be relatively fit for hiking through the rain forest. The gorilla family’s that are further away will be given to the group most able to trek the longer distance. The time of course depends upon the distance, but it could take anywhere between three, and eight hours. Once you have found the gorillas you will get to spend an hour with them up-close an experience you will never forget. Your ranger will tell you how to act while you are around the gorillas so as not to disturb them while eating or playing.
For enquiries be sure to visit or give Exsus Luxury Holidays a call