Africa

Trekking to See Gorillas in Rwanda

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A view of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Traveling abroad is almost always an adventure for us. We have had the fortune to travel to a lot of great places and have experienced many different cultures. We travel to see National Parks, to golf, to see wildlife, and to see bucket list sites. Of all the places we’ve traveled to, Africa is my favorite.

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A view of Kigali, Rwanda.  It was a very nice city.

Landing in Kigali, I was immediately surprised at how modern and clean the city was. Kigali is a major financial hub for all of Africa. We toured the Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn more about the dark chapter where more than 250,000 people lost their lives. After our tour, we met up with our driver and headed to our destination in the mountains.

We headed northwest and winded our way up the Virunga mountains towards our lodge in Volcanoes National Park. The resort blends into its surroundings and sits in the shadows of the mountain jungles where the gorillas, and other amazing wildlife, roam. I would highly recommend the Gorilla Mountain Lodge to anyone looking to do gorilla trekking.

We woke up early to depart for the base camp. Here, we meet our guides and porters, and were briefed on which gorilla troop we would be viewing. From there, we drove to the park entrance and began our trek. Gorilla trekking can vary in many ways, so it’s hard to say that my experience is typical. For example, it may take hours of hiking to get to your troop, or it can be a lot shorter hike. I had the fortune of having a shorter hike.

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A view of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The hiking is moderately strenuous, and you will be hiking through jungle, with bamboo and other vegetation. The guides help hack through the vegetation and make sure the hike is not overbearing. The jungle is beautiful, and a vibrant green. It houses many species, including elephant, buffalo and golden monkeys (whom you can book a separate trip to visit and is highly recommended).

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Golden monkey inside Volcanoes National Park.  You can take a separate tour to view these beautiful monkeys.

We reached our troop after about an hour of hiking, and our guides signaled for us to proceed slowly. It is hard to overstate the adrenaline that hits you when you step through bamboo to find yourself mere feet from these amazing creatures, knowing that if they could trample you if they wanted. The gorillas did not seem to care that we were there and allowed us to watch as they ate and played.

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A baby mountain gorilla inside Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

We were fortunate to see some babies wrestling and were able to watch a large male silverback chew thick branches like they were nothing. We were able to view the troop for a while before they moved on as they do continuously as they seek food.

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A silverback checks us out as he enjoys lunch in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

I was thoroughly impressed with my time in Rwanda and the people that we met. The Rwandan people that we met were respectful and friendly. I would highly recommend that those contemplating a trip to Rwanda to go for it, and to stay at the Gorilla Mountain Lodge. The only regret that I have is that I only did one trek.

Two Juvenile Mountain Gorillas Wrestling

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If you haven’t see it already, check out the video we took of two juvenile mountain gorillas wresting in Volcanoes National Park.  It’s adorable to watch.

gorilla Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
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