May 23, 2010
Mountain gorillas are massive, shy, majestic and so human-like it is almost beyond belief. Since the 1970s when the now famous primatologist Dian Fossey brought the horrible plight of gorillas into the mainstream, these amazing animals have held a special place in the imagination of many. With only about 700 mountain gorillas remaining, seeing these creatures in person is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Trekking through the lush, cloud shrouded tropical jungles of central Africa in search of a family of gorillas is quickly becoming a popular adventure and a great way to make a contribution towards helping save the species. For the greater part of the last 30 years the mountain gorillas’ habitat has been in war zones and as a result the gorillas have been affected by massive habitat loss, poaching and disease. As peace spreads through the area conservation has become a top priority.
Money from tourism has become one of the most important sources of income in the fight to save the gorillas. Tourist dollars pay for the rangers who protect the gorillas and provides a financial incentive to countries to make saving the gorillas a priority. However, great strides are taken to ensure that visitors do not have a harmful effect on the animals by allowing only a small group of visitors a short period of time to see the gorillas each day.
The Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda is likely the best place in the world to see mountain gorillas, with nearly half of the total population living in this area, and now is easier to get to than ever! Spending 3-4 nights in Rwanda and 2 days trekking with gorillas is a fantastic trip to combine with an incredible safari watching the “big five” in Kenya or Tanzania.