Deep in the heart of Rwanda’s thousand hills exists a creature so precious and rare that tourists the world over come each year to catch a glimpse.
It is the critically endangered mountain gorilla, and more than half of the almost 700 remaining in the world make their home in Rwanda’s stunning Volcanoes Na-tional Park. These highly sociable primates sleep in trees but spend most of their waking hours on the ground, moving less than 1km a day and remaining easily accessible. Let an experienced gorilla tracker guide you through the towering Hagenia and Bamboo trees, weaving vines, and flowering Lobelias of the park to their tiny oasis, where you will spend one hour face to face with man’s closest living relatives in their remarkable natural habitat.
Visitors can follow one of the park’s seven habituated gorilla families as they go about their daily lives in troops of anywhere between 8 and 39. Watch a mother tenderly feed her baby while the younger gorillas frolic in the bushes around her. Feel the cautious stare of a 200kg silverback on you as he keeps a pro-tective eye overhead. Witness a youngster put on a chest-beating display to playfully signal his domi-nance.
During your hour with the gorillas you will come to experience the inspiration for the film Gorillas in the Mist and understand why the late American primatologist Dian Fossey made it her life’s mission to live with, study, and protect these gentle giants.
A trek to the heart of Volcanoes National Park could also bring you into contact with golden monkeys, buf-falo, bush duiker and a vast array of bird species. For conservation reasons, each gorilla family can only be seen by one group of eight tourists per day. This is a once in a lifetime wildlife experience that should not be missed.