Blogs from Parc National des Volcans, Province du Nord, Rwanda, Africa - page 5


Why is it that few people mention how physically challenging it is to view the gorillas, as vertical climbs, precarious precipices, incredibly dense foliage and stinging nettles by the hundreds all awaited our intrepid party. A crisp morning saw people of varying nationalities assemble for our briefing at the Tourism Office in Kinigi, a small village nestled amongst some beautiful mountain scenery. Only eight people are allowed to see each group per day, and though there were seven groups available, there were only approximately 30 people who had paid the US$500 in order to spend just one hour with this most rare and elusive of beasts. Our group had the full allotment of eight people, which included Shivani, who I had met in Rajasthan during my 2004 travels through India. We were allocated the Amahoro group ... read more
The incredible gorilla
Atmospheric scenery in Parc National des Volcans
Vertical drop complete with stinging nettles

I came to Rwanda with relatively little knowledge and even less expectations about the place. I knew there had been a recent genocide, I knew there were some gorillas hanging about somewhere, and I knew very little else. But now I’m a little more educated. Rwanda is obviously synonymous with the 1994 genocide. Up to 1.5 million of their people were massacred during a few months of immense bloodshed. Since that tragic scar the nation has progressed at an unbelieveable rate. They do not pretend it never happened and openly face up to the stigma. In 1998, president Kigame took charge, following a well-trodden route to power in Africa - from child refugee to guerrilla leader to president. During his premiership Rwanda has introduced several policies and reforms that are years ahead of other African nations. ... read more
Cutting our way through the jungle
Tracking the Susa gorillas
The Susa kids

Well, we have been back from Tanzania and Rwanda for little over a week now and are slowly assimilating everything we saw and did. I know I keep using words like amazing and stunning but that is what the whole trip was - an amazing experience - and I don’t think we will ever look at the world in quite the same way. Hopefully these memories will stay with us for a long time. It seems hard for us, in our society, to comprehend how people can have so little and yet be so happy, Children in Tanzania and Rwanda have nothing, literally nothing, and yet they roam around with the biggest smiles on their faces. Children in first world countries (North America in particular) pout if they do not get the second slice of chocolate ... read more
Just hanging out
I'm watching you
The only way to travel

Rwanda packs a fair punch for a small country - sometimes beautiful, sometimes grim, but always fascinating. ... read more
Someone's design?
Home, sweet home

After 5 days in Kigali, we decided to sign up for a "community based" tour in Ruhengeri, about 2 hours north. We boarded a bus for $3 and off we went! The intention of the tour is the give travellers the chance to really meet Rwandans and experience true Rwandan culture. Day One - Street Kids Project After arriving in Ruhengeri we were taken to a project which helps male children who are not living at home - either because they don't have homes, or because there are problems there. The project invests time into these kids, and teaches them useful skills, such as sewing, weaving, pottery, mechanics, etc. They also work to educate the children, and the goal of the program is to reintegrate the kids back into their homes. It also serves as a ... read more
Land of 1000 Hills
The Pile of Bananas

Most people apparently have to trek for hours to see the gorillas in the Parc National des Volcans. They come back with tales of slogging uphill through ankle deep mud and stinging bushes. But when my sister and I visited, the gorillas were out visiting their relatives in town. After just 15 minutes of walking from the cars, we came across the "thirteen" group of gorillas in the terraced fields. Up gum trees, to be precise. I hope they didn't have upset stomachs after their feast. Q: Why do gorillas have big nostrils? A: Because they have big fingers. ... read more
Loving arms
I'm watchin' ya

Sardines Let us begin with a word on Ugandan taxis. They are not called 'shared' for nothing. To get to the border with Rwanda we took one of these cabs to save time. Inside the regular saloon car there were 4 adults including Big Dave in the back, 2 adults in the front passenger seat and 2 more on the drivers seat. The driver somewhat impressively managed to change gear even while half sitting on another man's lap! The border crossing was fine. We even managed to avoid the 'give the muzungus the wrong money because they don't know what it looks like' scam when we changed cash before crossing. On the Rwandan side we found a bus to take us to the capital and as always had to sit for ages before it filled ... read more
Rwanda - where volcanoes look like volcanoes
The Rules
Tiny baby

After reluctantly leaving Zanzibar we embarked on a long journey from Dar es Salaam through Tanzania to Rwanda. Any normal and/or sensible person would have flown this journey - not us! We tortured ourselves for at least a week getting to Kigali by African public transport. At least we had Rob and Emma for company (thanks guys) to increase the Mzungu numbers. A word of advice to anyone thinking of getting a train in Tanzania - don't! We took the train from Dodoma to Mwanza on southern Lake Victoria which took 40 hours instead of 24. We knew we were off to a bad start when the train went for about 5 kms then just stopped for 8 hours! The conductor told us to secure the window at night with a piece of wood because of ... read more
Parc National Des Volcans
Parc National Des Volcans
Parc National Des Volcans

The Anniversary This blog posting finds me at a very interesting landmark: roughly one year since I left the United States! My last day in Seattle was the 18th of October, 2006, which in some ways feels like a lifetime ago, and in other ways feels like it was only yesterday. Since that time, I've begun speaking a new language (Kiswahili), visited five countries, held two volunteer positions in two different countries, learned about wildlife (especially primates) thanks to many books and a few safaris, made lots of friends from other countries, hosted a few friends from back home and have experienced all kinds of different cultural nuances - both positive and negative - in South Asia and East Africa. This year has far surpassed any expectations I may have set, and I continue learning and ... read more
Year in Pictures
First view of Virungas in SW Uganda
welcome to rwanda

Africa » Rwanda » Province du Nord » Parc National des Volcans September 11th 2007

Quick note - we are also composing an entry about arriving in Rwanda and our stay in Kigali which will be slotted in before this one. But there was quite a lot to say, what with genocide memorials and our first impressions of how the country is today. So we are still writing it, and we have skipped ahead to this one so we can post the gorilla pics. So after a few days in Kigali it was time for us to go and meet the relatives. Albeit distant relatives, and with a bit more hair. Well only just hairier than Adam anyway... We got the bus up to Ruhengeri which is the town nearest to Parc National des Volcans. The bus ride was beautiful, climbing through yet more of the "thousand hills" that the country ... read more
McDonalds have got a lot to answer for.
Mr Angry. We were surprised he wasn't Green...
Mr Angry. Pre-Charge

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