``Land of a thousand hills``
A landlocked republic of Central Africa in the Equatorial Africa, Rwanda lies on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift and the watershed between Africa’s two largest river systems: The Nile and the Congo. Often called the “Land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is predominately grassy uplands and hills, with altitudes above sea level varying from a low of 3,960 feet to Mount Karisimbi, the highest of a range of extinct volcanoes in the Northwest, which reaches 14,507 feet. Lake Kivu forms part of the border with D.R.C and one of the beautiful Lakes in Africa.
Rwanda is unique, however, in that it is one of the five most important regions of the world in terms of biodiversity and species endemism as stipulated by UNESCO. And it has a special resource that is found nowhere else in the world: Mountain Gorillas.
The Virunga Volcanoes that separate the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, and Bwindi Impenetrable forest were first discovered by British explorers in 1861. It was later in 1902, that the gorillas were discovered. However, the Mountain Gorillas species were made famous through the Research of Dian Fossey.
Seeing these gentle creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unique experience. Gorillas make their homes in and amongst the bamboo covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. You will be guided by expert trackers and forest guides to one of the fully-habituated families of mountain gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe-inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about the daily lives. Hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from just 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the family allocated to you and their location.
You have to be 15yrs of age to be allowed to enter the park for gorilla trekking, only a limited group of 8 tourists are allowed to visit a particular family group of Mountain Gorillas.
Golden Monkeys are striking primates with their bright orange-gold fur contrasting with the green rainforests of the Virunga Mountains. Large and well habituated groups mean that the quality of sightings here is superb. Ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, the golden monkeys are unique to the region and can only be found among the volcanoes in Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo. Like their bigger and more famous gorillas – golden monkeys spend their days among the bamboo leaves and lush vegetation of the Volcanoes National park. There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises of 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt.Sabyinyo.
Lake Kivu is extraordinary beautiful: a vast inland sea enclosed by the steep, green terraced hills that are so characterized of rural Rwanda.
Along its shores lie three resort towns, Rubavu, Karongi and Rusizi. We organize boat rides to explore nearby Islands, offering magnificent view over the shimmering lake.
Lake Kivu is the largest of numerous lakes which fills the valleys of Rwanda. Lakes BULERA & RUHONDO, close to the gorilla tracking center of Ruhengeri, are often visited: deep blue waters amidst steep hills and tall waterfalls, with outlines of nearby Volcanoes National park.
TRIBUTE TO DIAN FOSSEY
Dr. Dian Fossey, the pioneer primatologist who worked in the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and finally in Rwanda from 1967 to 1985. She was killed and buried at the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda. Her work was instrumental in understanding the lives of gorillas, helping understand how to protect them and setting up sensitive tourism to help try and preserve them for the future. Fossey’s primary focus was the study of mountain gorillas. However, she soon realized that in order to survive, they would require protection from poachers, snares and human encroachment into the forest. After poachers killed one of her favorite gorillas Digit, Fossey set up the “Digit Fund” to support active conservation of the gorillas.
From “Bean to Cup”