Destination: Rwanda

Land of a Thousand Hills

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green, mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Bordering Congo and Uganda, the park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. Kigali, the nation's sprawling capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

For most people, the word Rwanda conjures up one of humanities darkest moments reminiscent of the holocaust when Hutus and Tutsis massacred each other at an unimaginable scale. However that was 1994, more than 20 years ago. Since then Rwanda has changed. Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills and offers the prospective tourist an unparalleled safari experience. It is not the traditional safari one might imagine where you encounter the big five but something equally special.

At Barefoot Safaris we deliberately choose to specialise in one particular experience because it is like none other. Gorilla beringei beringei also known as the mountain Gorilla. Made famous by the work of renowned researcher Dian Fossey and immortalised in the Hollywood film, Gorillas in the Mist, coming face to face with one of these creatures is highly emotional, moving and even life changing and seeing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is a true privilege.

The world’s smallest population of mountain gorillas – a subspecies of the eastern gorilla – is split in two and scientists have debated whether they may be two separate subspecies. A bit more than half live in the Virunga Mountains, a range of extinct volcanoes that border the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Since the discovery of the mountain gorilla subspecies in 1902, its population has endured years of war, hunting, habitat destruction and disease – threats so severe that it was once thought the species might be extinct by the end of the twentieth century.

As their name implies, mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet. They have thicker fur, and more of it, compared to other great apes. The fur helps them to survive in a habitat where temperatures often drop below freezing. But as humans have moved more and more into the gorillas’ territory, the gorillas have been pushed farther up into the mountains for longer periods, forcing them to endure dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.

What might have been a bleak outlook for the subspecies just a couple of decades ago has brightened in recent years due to conservation efforts. Despite ongoing civil conflict, poaching and an encroaching human population, both populations of mountain gorillas have increased in numbers.

Barefoot Safaris aim to provide you, our guest, the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime journey to come face to face with this magnificent animal.

To start your journey to the Land of a Thousand Hills, contact Barefoot Safaris today!

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Key things to see and do in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is home to Mountain Gorillas, golden monkeys, Spotted Hyena, buffaloes, elephants, black-fronted duiker, and bushbuck. The park also harbours 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virungas.

Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre

The Centre documents the genocide, but it also describes the history of Rwanda that preceded the event. Comparisons are also made with similar sites in Israel, Japan and Germany. Unlike the ex-concentration camps, at Auschwitz Birkenau, the Rwanda site includes human remains and the tools and weapons used in their destruction.

Nyugwe National Park

Nyugwe National Park is located in the South West corner of Rwanda. The park is an untouched natural rainforest that is filled with exciting biodiversity.

Akagera National Park Tour

Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s largest National Park. Rolling hills of Acacia bush, panoramic views across scattered grasslands, patches of thick forests and a mosaic of swamp fringed lakes along the meandering Akagera watercourse all contribute to this parks unrivalled scenic beauty.

Congo Nile Trail

The Congo Nile Trail is an exciting ten days hiking experience, which covers a wide range of fascinating attractions on Lake Kivu shores, with a distance of 227 km (141 miles) of beautiful landscapes and rolling hills.

 

Pictures from previous safaris in Rwanda

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