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There is a saying in Rwanda, "God roams the world but comes to rest in Rwanda."
And so do 700+ mountain gorillas (over half of the surviving species in the world) who call Volcanoes National Park their home. This is a stunning area surrounded to the southwest by the Nyungwe Forest (the largest montane rainforest in the area) where Colobus Monkeys and 250 species of birds thrive, to the east by the magnificent Akagera National Park, and to the west by the picturesque islands of Lake Kivu.
Imagine yourself trekking through the undergrowth of a spectacular rainforest in search of a family of mountain gorillas. There are a maximum 8 people in your group including yourself and you are with naturalists, forest guides and porters. These are Rwandans and they are committed to the conservation and preservation of this national park and all of its magical creatures.
There are 10 gorilla families living in the park and guests are split up and assigned to separate ones. The trek is well worthwhile when you reach a family and observe them from the regulated 21 feet. You will usually spot the silverback first and chances are he will have smelled your scent long before you arrived at the viewing point. Then you'll see the "kids" and there isn't anything much cuter than watching a baby gorilla pound his chest in an attempt to imitate his father and then instantly lose his balance and land on his bum only to transcend into somersaults with his siblings.
The mother gorilla is an excellent parent always under her watchful eye, the babies are caressed, hugged, fed and comforted. These gorillas are habituated - meaning they are use to having humans in their surroundings and therefore do not feel threatened. Given that they share 98% of our DNA, there are many similarities in their facial expressions, communication and how they live as a family.
Gorilla tracking is a "life changing experience" and although you may hear that expression often when it comes to travel and adventure, in this case it is absolutely bang on. Your adrenaline will be pumping as you explore the rich tropical rainforest and its lush greenery alive and humming with the sweet sound of birds and monkeys all around you.
In addition your tourism brings funding to the National Park and the preservation of the gorillas as well as the local communities and the people in these communities who are so dedicated to the betterment of their country that they spend one day every month participating in community service projects.
Rwanda has gone through very tough times but the country has found itself over again and this area in particular is safe and peaceful. The guides and staff at our partner tour operator, "Thousand Islands Expeditions," are highly trained and qualified and their extreme love and appreciation for their homeland is evident in every action they take, every syllable they speak.
They care for you from the time you arrive and then each day from the time you rise to the time you sleep. Afternoons are spent at lively markets, outdoor adventure activities, visiting local artists watching them create their crafts and enjoying some authentic African cuisine (North American-style food is available at all hotels in package).
To quote Gandhi, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." And so in the case of Volcanoes National Park and the great team at Thousand Islands Expeditions, they have surpassed all greatness.
If you would like to visit the mountain gorillas and explore the rainforest and climb the mountains and fall asleep to the sound of birds and monkeys in the distance with only the crystal blue sky as your compass; this is the experience you have been anticipating.
Contact our Travel Professional - Maria (who has been there, done that) firstname.lastname@example.org - 514-342-9554 x 231 - 1-800-342-9554.
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