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I am about to do something very impetuous and extremely foolish. I am going to try doing two trip reports at once. With Costa Rica underway, I’m now going to jump off the cliff and start with Rwanda, even though there are still some photos from the trip that I haven’t even looked at yet. But I am so far behind on my trip reports, I fear if I don’t start now, I’ll still be talking about it this time next year and be even further behind. (And after these two are done, I’ve still got Brazil from July 2016). Now, how quickly can I get all this done? That’s another story. Anyway, as they say, “Crazy is as crazy does.” Here goes nothing…… _________________________ I am still bemused by the looks of horror from friends and acquaintances when I tell them that we spent our last vacation in Rwanda. In their defense, most people only know of Rwanda from newscasts covering the savage genocide that occurred there over the course of roughly 100 days in 1994 when nearly 1,000,000 people were brutally slaughtered by their own countrymen, a tragedy later memorialized in the popular and award-winning film Hotel Rwanda. Why, they ask, would I want to go there, of all places? “That’s easy,” I reply. “Gorillas in the Mist,” recalling yet another well-known movie, this one about the late Dian Fossey and her groundbreaking research on the lives of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Then, when they hear of the expense and the trouble necessary to live out this adventure, some of them become incredulous. “I’d just go to the zoo,” they say, teasingly in most instances. But that one yields an easy response, too, because all of the gorillas seen in zoos are lowland gorillas. Their larger cousins, the mountain gorillas, have never successfully been able to live in captivity. There are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas in existence, and they can only be found in a very limited range – the Virunga Mountains straddling the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. For a variety of reasons, I chose to base ourselves in Rwanda for this experience, and Rwanda delivered. To kick things off, here are portraits of the lead silverbacks from the three family groups we saw: Isabukuru Group: Umubano Group: Ntambara Group:
Tulips posted a topic in RwandaPrior to booking my Kenya adventure, I booked this Rwanda adventure combined with Uganda. I love gorillas and had always wanted to see them, but not in a cage. And so. a trip to see them was a must on my bucket list. Rwanda had been on my radar, not really as a place to visit, but because a Canadian had led the UN mission there at the time of the genocide. I'd read his book, which I highly recommend (Shake Hands With the Devil) and seen a documentary he had done as part of his therapy for PTSD and to bring awareness of the genocide in the a different way than Hollywood films. Of course, being that Rwanda is one of three countries where one can see the gorillas, and because my cousin had highly recommended it, I started planning. Together with my travel agent, we found something that was suitable for my budget and the trip was booked. Luckily, this was done prior to the increase in permit pricing. I spent four days in the country and my eyes were opened in more ways than one. I hope you will follow along.....
Zubbie15 posted a topic in RwandaThis is a continuation of my trip report, which started with almost 2 weeks in Tanzania. That can be found here (http://safaritalk.net/topic/16549-a-tale-of-two-safaris-tanzania-2016-followed-by-rwanda/) for those who, perhaps, aren’t directly following along. There are only 3 topics in the Rwanda forum at the moment, so I’ll give a little more background than I might otherwise for people who are considering the country. Some of the mountains the gorillas live on When we booked the Tanzania part of our trip, with Access2Tanzania, I mentioned to Karen that we were thinking of including an extension to Rwanda, and could she recommend a company to contact. Well, she replied that A2T was actually in the process of setting up a sister company in Rwanda (Treks2Rwanda). So we decided the easiest plan was to book through them, and we were very happy we did. Our guide during the time was Norbert, who is their country chief, and is not only friendly and personable, but he seemed to know everybody and was able to get us access to locations we might not have been able to get to otherwise. Technically, if one is going to Rwanda just to hike the gorillas, it is possible and actually fairly easy to book the permits, hotels, and ground transport yourself. But I thought the insight Norbert was able to provide, both in terms of the country now and its history, was invaluable. It's a tough life! Itinerary: Our itinerary was really fairly basic. Day 1 – arrive, dinner, sleep in Kigali Day 2 – sleep in, morning around Kigali, afternoon transfer to Ruhengeri Day 3 – first gorilla trek Day 4 – second gorilla trek Day 5 – golden monkey trek, return to Kigali for evening flight