Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park - Mountain Gorillas and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
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GORILLA TREKKING - VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
The 160km² Volcanoes National Park (also known as Parc National Des Volcans) protects the Rwandan sector of the greater Virunga Mountains, a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes straddling the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Rwandan park ranges in altitude from 2,400km to 4,507km atop Karisimbi. These free-standing volcanoes are covered in lush vegetation and linked by fertile saddles formed by the lava flows and are home to the rare and critically endangered Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), the largest living primate on earth. Numbering only 780-800 individuals worldwide, this amazingly large hominid is now listed on the IUCN Red List of critically Endangered Species due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and war. Mountain Gorillas share 95% of our own genetic code and possess an uncanny physical and social resemblance to us.
Volcanoes National Park and its mountain gorillas gained world-wide notoriety with the release in 1988 of Gorillas in the Mist, a big-screen motion picture filmed on location in Volcanoes National Park and chronicling the 18-year studies and work of Dian Fossey, an American primatologist whose pioneering work with the gorillas brought the plight of these animals to global attention. The movie generated enormous interest in gorilla tourism and by 1990, Rwanda's gorilla trekking was one of the country's leading producers of foreign revenue. The park was evacuated in April 1994 due to the genocide and only premanently reopened to gorilla trekking again in July 1999.
Today gorilla trekking is increasing in popularity and must be one of the greatest animal encounter activities available anywhere in the world. Each day tourists meet at the park headquarters to be assigned a guide and gorilla group for a chance to spend one precious hour with the gorillas. There are now 10 habituated groups of gorillas and each of these groups is visited by eight tourists, who must purchase their permits for that day in order to have this opportunity. Along with an expert guide and a group of trackers and porters, the tourists trek through the terraced farm fields, climb over a small stone wall and enter the realm of the gorillas. Further trekking ensues until you meet up with your trackers who are waiting with the gorillas and then the magic begins! Read more about gorilla trekking here...
The most popular activity available after gorilla trekking is a visit to see the rare golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), an endemic subspecies of blue monkey. The group has been more or less habituated to the tourists who visit them and like the gorilla encounter, this activity is also limited to a one hour time limit. Other activities involve treks up the volcanoes, including climbs to the crater lake on Bisoke peak and visits to Dian Fossey's grave between Karisimbi and Bisoke.
Detailed information on Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
History and General information about Rwanda, click Rwanda Info
further information about the National Parks of Rwanda, click Rwanda
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