Awaking before dawn, I was amongst the first from our group to sit down at 6 AM for a hearty American-style breakfast of hot porridge, eggs, fruit and coffee. Considering a trek to see Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas can take anywhere from 2-12 hours, I wanted to ensure my batteries were fully charged. Excitement soon began to outweigh our sleepiness at the table.
Less than a week earlier, I was in suburban Virginia watching Gorillas in the Mist. Now, I was in the heart of Africa, about to visit these critically endangered primates in person.
As we were about to get in our SUV’s for the ride over to Volcanoes National Park, Kristin Luna arrived from Kigali. The last member of our group had joined us just in time to take part in the country’s number one tourist draw. The early morning drive had us approaching the towering volcanoes that gave the park it’s name. The locals were commuting by foot along the roadsides, as is commonplace throughout the country; kids welcomed us with enthusiastic waves.
Despite our best efforts, we still managed to arrive late. Around the grounds of the visitor center, 6 other groups of 8 tourists each were receiving their briefings about the gorilla group they were assigned to see that day. Each foreign tourist had paid $500 for their trekking permit, with the vast majority of that money used to fund the further protection of the gorillas.
We quickly learned that Kwitonda, the group we were assigned to visit, which crossed into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo about 5 years ago, was hanging out at the edge of the forest. Our adventure would be over before lunch. While a protracted, bushwhacking endeavor might make for a few extra anecdotes over dinner, we weren’t complaining.
There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?
In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …
If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself in 2013, I’ve got a proposition to share.
Theaters try to sell every ticket, for every show, and are therefore willing to release excess inventory at a discount.
As a backpacker there is a good chance you will be detained. It doesn’t matter whether you’re American, European, or Arab, everyone is a suspect at the border.
Backpacking in Europe is expensive. Aside from the flight, your next biggest expenditure is often accommodation. Hotels will ruin your budget unless you’re traveling with friends.
Three days on Isla del Sol, in Lake Titicaca; natural beauty and Inca legends
Differences in daily life between Canada and Peru
Iquitos: the largest and most popular jungle destination in Peru
Madrid's Festival of San Isidro has morphed from a religious procession to a full scale arts festival