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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:
It had been nearly twenty years since I last set foot in Rwanda. Wow have things changed! This time, the Smith family spent a couple weeks tracking Mountain Gorillas at Parc des Vulcans and primate searching at Nyungwe National Park. We had an outstanding wildlife safari with at least 20 species of mammals and countless species of birds. Take a look at our trip report below. Cheers, Coke www.cokesmithphototravel.com Here is the Rwanda Trip Report Link: http://www.cokesmithphototravel.com/Return_to_Rwanda.html
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