Rwanda is an amazing place on a recent assignment I had a chance to visit the Volcanoes National Park (which coincidentally has been on my bucket list) for Gorilla Trekking. Nothing prepares you for this trek you just have to show up and experience it and what an experience it was……
Woke up early couldn’t sleep the excitement got the better of me our driver picked us up from our hotel at 5am, we started our drive from the capital city Kigali heading North West towards Musanze final destination being Kinigi. The route is scenic along the way you will understand why its called the Land of a thousand hills. Steep windy roads with insane drops down valleys with rivers at the bottom it was a hair raising experience considering the way our driver was taking those corners.
We made it to Kinigi in one piece headed to the Volcanoes HQ a welcoming cup of tea worked its magic to brighten the chilly misty morning. our team was split into two each team consisting of 8 trekkers to visit different groups of Gorillas within Volcanoes National Park.
The fun started when we were introduced to Francois and Agatha let me digress just a bit Francois is a veteran at the park with over 33 year experience working at Volcanoes National Park he is a walking gorilla encyclopedia where to start…… from the different groups, their dietary habits, their mating habits the list is endless.
Up and onward to search for our assigned group Agashya up a gentle climb we finally entered the Forest. Now there are forests and then there are Forests I have never seen bamboo this tall visibility is less than 15meters talk of there being buffaloes and Elephants walking these woods doesn’t help matters one bit. Thank the soul that suggested we hire gumboots at the park headquaters the going was not easy the terrain, mud and the insects biting on my exposed neck.
We finally reached the Agashya group as I said nothing prepares you to be this close to the Gorillas we were within touching distance of these gentle giants the rangers kept humming/grunting as we approached the group since this group has been habituated (8 habituated groups in total at Volcanoes National Park if i remember correctly)
See gallery below click to enlarge images
Meet the Francois and Agathat
The Silverback head of the Agashya group
One of the females of the group
One of the groups babies
One of the sub adults
Within no time a hour had gone by that the maximum amount of time you can spend with the gorrila back the same route used and a certificate to confirm I visited the Agashya group
I have to visit this place again in this lifetime…..