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Parc National des Volcans

Southern Sky Adventures: Parc National des Volcans

The opportunities for game viewing and hiking are upon you if consideration be given to the exceptional chance to visit the endangered Mountain Gorilla in the Virunga Mountains in the northwest corner of Rwanda. These old, great volcanic peaks have been home to the majestic creatures for centuries but continued human development has put pressure on their habitat such that only 600 – 700 are left in the wild. Parc National des Volcans protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.

Seeing these wonderful beasts is a bit like inviting yourself to a dinner party of mild acquaintances. While game viewing throughout Africa is an activity to be enjoyed in a vehicle, by boat, by plane or on foot, there may well be nothing like sitting but a few feet away from a Mountain Gorilla in the wild. These creatures look at you quite a bit different than a lion or giraffe. These distant cousins of ours give you the impression they are about to ask you a question. The entire experience is one of great pleasure and offers a good bit of exercise in pursuit of this unique piece of the wild.

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