Rockjumper Wildlife Tours: Destination: Rwandaprevious page
Rwanda is the fourth smallest country on the African continent, at only 10,169 sq. miles. Despite its small size, it is home to a staggering 12,012,589 people, putting Rwanda on the map as one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It lies just south of the Equator in Central East Africa and is a landlocked country of beautiful plateaus, rolling hills, grasslands and an abundance of adjacent small, cultivated farms giving the landscape a quilt like appearance.
Rwanda has seen more than its fair share of hardship, brought on by a civil war that lasted for almost a hundred days, while the western world stood by, watching an estimated 1 000 000 people, infants to elders being massacred in a fashion unbecoming of a civilized race. The bloodshed continued for several years after in the form of revenge killings and went down in history as one of the most brutal genocides ever recorded. A countless number of people fled the borders into neighbouring countries, seeking refuge from the terror that has befallen their own country.
Time has passed and healed many of the wounds and nightmares and looking at Rwanda today, it is almost impossible to marry the past with the present. People co-exist happily in a seemingly normal society, moving forward with their lives. Rwanda’s zero litter policy, no plastic bags policy and a government enforced cleaning day on the last Saturday of every month leaves many a tourist absolutely speechless at the country’s cleanliness. Rwanda has risen from the dark hole that haunts its past and has transformed itself into a model country from which many a first world country around the world can draw inspiration.
The northern province of Rwanda is volcano country and forms part of the Great Rift Valley. This is also Mountain Gorilla Country, housing an estimated 315 individuals of the existing 910 Mountain Gorillas left in the world. Not able to survive in captivity, the lush green forests and bamboo cladded volcano slopes of the Virungas is the last stronghold for this species. The dense underbrush and ferns covering large areas of the jungle floor with patches of low-lying mist and vines draping from the tallest trees gives the forest a very mythical appearance.
The storm of emotions you feel when locking eyes with a large Silverback Mountain Gorilla within such close proximity, is something no person can ever rightfully put into words. At first you are overwhelmed with anxiety telling you to run and then in no time this anxious feeling turns into an indescribable emotional attachment to this large creature with its calm demeanour. They are truly the Gentle Giants of the Virungas. A morning spent with these distant relatives of ours, is an emotional experience that has left many a human eye filled with tears of deep appreciation and a heart longing to return, this is a life changing experience indeed.