Gorilla Trekking Rwanda – Part 1

As my friends would attest, I have been going on about the Mountain Gorillas for years. Finally, in October 2006, I experienced the most amazing visit with them.

There are approximately 700 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Range of volcanic mountains bordering the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. I chose Rwanda as my destination. I have been drawn to it over the years in part due to its unbelievably sad past but also its beauty which I had only seen in books. And it truly is a beautiful country.

Seeing the gorillas still only appeals to a small number of travelers and Rwanda does make people feel trepidatious; therefore small group touring is limited. I ended up organizing a private tour with a wonderful local company. I was met at Kigali airport by my lovely guide Gilbert. It is about a 3 hour drive to the Parc de Volcans, in the north east. What a beautiful drive.

The country is agriculturally based and most people sustain themselves with their little plots of extremely fertile soil. The country is considered the Land of a Thousand Hills, Mille Collines. As you drive along, the countryside is made up of undulating hills, with a patchwork of terraced farms. So picturesque! Mode of transport for most Rwandese is by foot or bicycle, so the roads are a sea of people hauling all sorts of things on their heads, backs and bikes.

The area surrounding the park has a small main town and a couple of hotels/guesthouses for tourists visiting the gorillas. The accommodation is basic but good and the food is varied and wonderful. I think I had the most delicious tomatoes and avocados I have ever had and certainly the largest avocados! There are quite a few different hikes to do in the area and some beautiful scenic drives. But most people are of course coming here to see the mountain gorillas.