Trek Report
"The Endangered 
Mountain Gorilla's of Rwanda"
"In the Heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat, are great volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet and nearly covered with rich green rainforest: The Virungas"...Dian Fossey.
Urgent attention for the protection of the Mountain Gorilla was initiated by Dian Fossey who dedicated her life to their future and immortalized them in her book and the film.. "Gorillas In The Mist".
In May of 2006 I was fortunate to travel with a limited group of photographers into the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda to retrace the footsteps of Dian Fossey and sit next to the rare Mountain Gorillas of the Virunga Volcanoes. This was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my entire life.
After this wonderful first-time experience I have returned many times, never to be disappointed.
Located at the crest of the mountainous backbone at the very center of the continent, the Virunga Mountains are the embodiment of western fantasies about 'Darkest Africa". The Virungas are in the heart of the legendary land of King Solomon's mines, the long-source of the Nile, jungles filled with man eating plants and home to cousins of King Kong.

In reality, the mountains themselves are indeed spectacular. The dense forests and jungles of the Volcano Mountains are home to some unusual plants and animals, but the best known-the Mountain Gorillas- are placid giants munching mostly on forests vegetation and not on wayward travelers! 

The rules for Gorilla Treking or Etiquette are strict but very necessary for the Gorillas protection:
Total silence.
No eating, drinking or smoking.
No pointing or staring directly at the Gorilla.
No flash photography.
Do follow the guides actions at all times, so not stand above the guides height and keep behind guides at all times.
No children under 15 years allowed. 
No one with infectious illness permitted to view.
Visits are limited to only one hour per day, and groups are limited to only 8 people.
And most important: If the 'Silverback' charges Do Not Run!
We have secured permits for two treks, but since the Gorilla families are constantly on the move, the permits do not guarantee that we would see any Gorillas.
On some days the trek to find gorillas can be quiet short, but on most days several hours of rough hiking each way is necessary.
Our climb began through the lush terraced farmland of the lower volcanic slopes. As these slopes become steeper and rockier, the vegetation becomes thick and tangled; the guides must use their machetes to help clear a path. Huge trees, clinging vines and undergrowth add to the challenge of swift streams and slippery red mud underfoot. Usually at around 8,000 feet signs of the huge animals become apparent. And all of a sudden there they are: A family of eight with a huge 'Silverback' male.
Photography in the Virunga Volcanoes can be difficult with the low light, rain, mist and constant movement of the gorillas. We were lucky, on our first trek when the family group of gorillas moved into an open area with diffused but decent light for photography, But on our second trek the Gorilla family was located in dark deep bamboo jungle. But during our one hour shoot, part of the family did move into an open field with low green bushes.
The Trek was wonderful!
It's hard to believe that you are so close to these giant primates, observing them observing you. Their almost human movements, innate dignity and social interaction make a unique connection within each of us.
Four days and two treks to experience your trip of a lifetime.
Please email us or use the form on the contact page if you're interested on joining us on our next Gorilla Safari.

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