Gorillas in Volcanoes and Bwindi

Gorillas in Volcanoes and Bwindi

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its hilly mist-covered slopes are entirely covered by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically varied rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects approximately 320 Mountain gorillas which is almost half of the gorilla population in the world among which are some habituated families opened for tourism

Bwindi’s biologically diversity in addition offers shelter to other 120 mammal species among which are various different antelopes, chimpanzees, elephants and baboons. The forest has a bird-list of approximately 320 bird species among which are 23 Albertine-Rift endemics. You will also have an opportunity to explore the culture and practices of the local living around this park who include the Bakiga and the Batwa pygmies during which you will take village tours, visit their workshops and enjoy cultural entertainment performances.

Volcanoes Park Rwanda

The Rwanda Tourism Board (ORTPN) runs a number of tourism activities in this park including:

Gorilla Tracking:

Currently this park is home to several mountain gorillas among which are 10 gorilla families that have been habituated and open for tourism. Each group is allowed to receive a maximum of 8 visitors (tourists) per day and this offers a total of 80 gorilla trekking permits per day, and you will be allowed to spend a maximum of one hour in their presence.

Golden Monkey Tracking

There are very many golden monkeys living within the Volcanoes National park, so you can take part in the exciting golden monkey tracking activity which is led by professional tourist guides.

Hiking Karisimbi Volcano:

Mount Karisimbi offers tourists a two day hike and including camping at 3800 meters altitude for the overnight.

Hiking Bisoke Volcano:

This is a one day adventure that includes visiting the beautiful twin lakes (Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo), and a hike to the burial place of Dian Fossey who did great research on the gorillas and work very hard to ensure that this greatly endangered species is conserved.

Gorillas in The Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

Primatologists Dr. Dian Fossey wrote this as she described this extremely stunning mountain-range on which she actually spent the final twenty years of her life researching about the mountain gorillas of Rwanda:  the Virunga found in the middle of central Africa, are the very high volcanoes standing very high at about 15000ft altitude and there you shiver more than you actually sweat. She added that the slopes are covered by a verdant rainforest.

The thick Virunga forested slopes form a beautiful natural environment for what is regarded as the most amazing and remarkable wildlife experience to be enjoyed on the African continent – gorilla tracking. The thrilling trek up into the gorilla habitat of bamboo forest presents breathtaking sweeping views, before gorilla trekkers get immersed in the mystifying intimacy of this rainforest that is alive with the sounds of golden monkeys and the singing birds.

The first time you will set eyes on the dominant fully grown silverback male gorilla which on average is three time the size of an average fat man. You will be extremely impressed not only by its sheer size or hairy body but also by the tranquility and ability to tolerate human presence. These giants which share about 97% of the DNA with human will simply quietly stare at you all through the one hour you will spend with them.

The present survival of mountain gorillas  is largely credited the great works of Dian Fossey, who was buried in the Virungas at the center where she conducted her research right next to the gorillas to which she fully devoted her life. Dian Fossey became famous after the release of the movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ which was shot in the Parc National des Volcans. This movie actually increased public awareness about the presence and conservation of mountain gorillas. Today there are about 780 mountain gorillas remaining in the whole world and this park has a number of habituated families which can be visited by tourists.

Ruhengeri a small but vibrant market town located of the bottom of the Virunga Mountains is the main base from which gorilla tracking activities start. Ruhengeri town has a beautiful sub-montane environment plus a number of affordable nice accommodation options and it’s recommended as the best place to spend the night prior to gorilla trekking the next morning. It is also the base for those going to explore the twin lakes – Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo. However, visitors interested in enjoying better luxury accommodation can spend the night in either Gisenyi or the capital Kigali, and then transfer very early morning to Ruhengeri.

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