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I recently returned from an amazing bucket-list trip to Rwanda, where I tracked mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, explored the chilled city of Kigali and swam in Lake Kivu, overlooking the mountains of the DRC on the opposite shore.

Gorilla tracking had been on my bucket list for a long time, and I was super excited about the trip so there was room for a bit of disappointment (I had built it up somewhat). It ended up being the best wildlife experience of my life, totally exceeding my expectations. I stood within metres of a 200-kilogram silverback called Urugamba, and locked eyes with a gorgeous three-month-old baby cradled in her mother’s arms. In a word, it was incredible. For more on gorilla tracking, read my other blog.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with Rwanda – a beautiful, inspiring country that’s come a long way from the horror of 1994′s genocide. There’s a lot more to the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ than mountain gorillas – rare golden monkeys, birds and other wildlife in the Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest, lush landscapes, misty tea plantations,  unspoilt beaches in Gisenyi on Lake Kivu, and warm and friendly people who have found a way to move forward from the horror of the genocide and make Rwanda one of Africa’s economic and political success stories.

Kigali from the air

 

Gorilla tracking Rwanda

 

 

 

 

Gorilla tracking Rwanda

 

 

 

 

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden monkey in Volanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Golden monkeys in Volanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

 

 

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

 

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

 

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

 

I went to Rwanda on a package trip with Getaway Adventures. A four-day package to Rwanda, including flights, accommodation and the $750 gorilla permit is R23 000. For more on the trip, and to book for next year click here.

 



14 Responses to “Rwanda in photos”

  1. Roxanne

    I’m deeply, deeply envious of this trip-of-a-lifetime, Sarah. It costs a bomb (for mortals like me) but I’ve heard it’s well worth it if you can scare up the cash.

    Reply
    • Roxanne

      Hmm, to my mind, R46 000 for what’s essentially a three-day trip for the two of us, is still pretty steep. Not saying it’s not worth it, just saying it’s hard to justify that kind of expense. I’ll just have to continue to dream…

      Reply
    • Sarah Duff

      Hi Simone,
      Thanks for your comment! My bucket list is extensive, and ever-growing. It’s up to about 100 things now!

      Reply
    • Sarah Duff

      Thanks Bethany! That spunky creature is a golden monkey. They were jumping all over the forest and it was really hard to get a shot of one jumping!

      Reply
  2. Cheryl King

    Like Sarah I fulfilled my long time dream of tracking Gorillas and also fell in love with Rwanda. Coming face to face with these awesome animals and having the privilege of them allowing us into their world was unforgettable. This is the best trip I have ever done and I cannot imagine anything bettering it.

    Reply
    • Sarah Duff

      Hi Cheryl,
      So glad to hear you had the same amazing experience in Rwanda. I can’t wait to go back and do this again one day :)

      Reply
  3. Carol

    Thank you for sharing the beauty that is Rwanda ( tiny heart of Africa). I loved that you saw it in the eyes of the locals. Your pictures are the true essence of a beautiful country that is forging a path for a better life for its citizens. Murakoze

    Reply
    • Sarah Duff

      Thanks for your lovely comment Carol. I hope my blogs and my story in Getaway Magazine will inspire people to visit Rwanda and its gorillas!

      Reply

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