I wanted to surprise my newly college graduated son with a lifetime gift, a vacation abroad, what I really knew he wanted! However, when I asked him where he wanted to travel, he told me to choose someplace less traveled, unique, and something he would never have the chance to do ever again. Boy, did this put some pressure on me!
I began to search online for various interesting travel destinations and vacations in the world for him, when I landed on a website offering Rwanda gorilla safaris. I thought I had definitely found the vacation of a lifetime for him! There were so many different ones to choose from, which made it even more difficult, but I found one I thought he would enjoy, and I bought him two spots in the safari, one for him and whoever else he felt like taking. In a strange twist of events, he ended up taking his younger sister! This was such a gift for both of them, and I know they both loved it!
I sent an email to Gorilla Expeditions Ltd a local tour and travel company operating in Rwanda and I was surprised when they immediately replied me. I communicated with a tour consultant called Joan and she gave us all details needed to do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and among the different sample itineraries she gave me, I talked to my son and we choose a 5 day golden monkey and gorilla tracking safari. Joan also advised us to book gorilla tracking permits in advance because they are on high demand.
All of us were eager to know what really gorilla trekking means and it was on July 24th, 2014 the day when we had to leave London and travel to Kigali Rwanda. Upon our arrival at Kigali International Airport, we was warmly welcomed by Wabwire Jackson a tour guide from Gorilla Expeditions Ltd and after we transferred to Kigali for breakfast and thereafter we made our way to a place called Ruhengeri found at the foothills of the mighty Volcanoes National Park. This was the place where Dian Fossey the famous American primatologist amazed the world with her research of the magnificent mountain gorillas of Rwanda. We enjoyed lunch, dinner and overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge a first class luxury comfortable lodge in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.
On the next day, we enjoyed early morning breakfast at the lodge and as a worm up for our gorilla trek; we participated in the tracking of the rare and endangered golden monkeys in the park. These primates are unique in the Volcanoes National Park, where there is a group numbering around forty. Little is known about these wonderful monkeys and experts are only recently able to collect the basic details about their routines and ways of life. They can be very hard to spot. With our professional local tour guide and trackers we searched for them in the bushes of bamboo where they like to spend most of their time. The experience was so interesting and after we returned to the lodge for relaxation as we waited for dinner and overnight.
On the third day, we had breakfast and transfer to the park headquarters with our packed lunch for briefing and after we were accompanied by a ranger guide and tracker and penetrated deep into the jungle in search for the magnificent mountain gorillas. We tracked for 5 hours and we were allowed a maximum of one hour to spend with our allocated gorilla family. To find our gorilla group the tour guide will lead us to where the gorillas were located on the previous day and then we tracked them through the forest. The territory in the jungle was very rough and we were very prepared for rain, mud and giant stinging nettles – long trousers, gloves and a waterproof coat because Joan briefed us well. After our trek and humbled by this amazing experience we transferred back to the lodge for late lunch, dinner and overnight.
Our last day in Rwanda, very early in the morning we had breakfast and hit the road back to Kigali and we enjoyed a short Kigali city tour and then after we was transferred to Kigali International Airport to board our flight back home. We really had a memorable safari in Rwanda with a dependable tour company.