Rwanda is so many things, and my time there was magical. Here’s the first video from my visit, starting with the gorilla tracking experience. I did two treks: first to the Susa group, and then to the Hirwa group.

The Susa trek was nearly a two hour climb into the misty highland. It is the largest tourist-accessible group with multiple silverbacks, some young babies and a rare set of twins, and it is one of the original groups studied by Diane Fossey. The hike was exhausting and my legs were shaky with fatigue, but it was so rewarding to spend an hour observing the young gorillas tumbling around.

Hirwa Family Tree

Hirwa Family Tree

The Hirwa trek was much easier. Starting off with a walk through remote farmland and a dense bamboo forest, we quickly found this “Lucky” group. Hirwa, the silverback, was a member of the Susa group until he left to begin his own successful family, also with a set of twins. A fascinating dynamic unfolded during our time with this group as the protective silverback responded to distant sounds in the forest. Also, one of the females seemed to sneak up behind me, and she got so close the camera couldn’t focus and I could’ve reached out and touched her.

The amazing thing is just how uninterested they are in us. They are habituated, meaning that for as long as they can remember, just after breakfast everyday, a strange group of harmless clothes-wearing apes stops by to gawk at them. With no natural predators, the gorillas are lazily enjoying their paradise and taking care of each other.

I had the great pleasure of visiting a number of accommodations in the area including Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and Villa Gorilla! There are more pictures & videos to come from my visit to Rwanda including some amazing cultural experiences and clips from my day-long coffee-tasting tour on the shores of Lake Kivu.

Get in touch if you have any questions about planning a trip to Rwanda.

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