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Seeing the majestic gorillas in Rwanda – Olivier’s goosebump moment

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“Hello everyone, I am Olivier and I come from Rwanda. I would like to share with you my goosebump moment. My goosebump moment was when me and my friends visited Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and we just wanted to see the majestic gorillas. So, the experience was really amazing, and it was a hair raising moment when we found the gorillas aggressive. The guide told us to lay ourselves down in the grass so we can hide so we can give the gorillas time. Everyone was chuckling. Everyone was really shocked, so we were very afraid. But at the end of the day, he told us that the gorillas are now fine so we can go visit them. So, I do not forget this any time I think of gorillas. They were very aggressive, but at the end of the day, they called us like they are now fine. We played with them, and I could not forget any single time I met with them. It was really amazing. The gorillas were very welcoming after the aggressiveness, and I thought, how would they be that? So it was my hair-raising moment.”

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Gentle and mysterious primates

Sitting quietly on the cold forest floor in Rwanda for an hour can be one of life’s greatest privileges. There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left, and hiking through the forest is a rare opportunity to observe the daily interactions of these gentle and mysterious primates.

Mountain gorillas live only in the dense vegetation of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and adjacent to the dormant Virunga volcanic range, which spans Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda, and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Without a doubt, the shock of seeing the first gorilla is something you will never forget. They are creatures of great size, with majestic gazes that give many of us goose bumps.

An encounter with gorillas

Few experiences are as incredible and moving as admiring a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. In Volcanoes National Park, renowned for serving as the setting for the book and film “Gorillas in the Mist,” approximately 400 of this endangered species live in tranquility, making the area one of the best and most accessible places to track gorillas.

This 16,000-hectare park, the oldest in Africa, offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to venture through the dense jungle, with golden monkeys swinging through the trees and under the watchful eye of chameleons, in search of these enormous primates. Gorilla tracking, however, is not the only activity available in the park. Visitors can also enjoy guided walks and hiking in this incredibly biodiverse area.

It was in this park that Diane Fossey spent twenty years of her life studying mountain gorillas. It was her dedication to these animals that, in large part, keeps them out of the reach of poachers now. Today the park serves as a conservation area for this species and is home to half of its existing population.

The Park rangers or caretakers have the different herds that inhabit the area well located, as they must keep a constant watch on them to protect them from hunters and traps.

Being spectators of the herd’s activities, a few meters away so as not to appear aggressive, is undoubtedly a great experience worth living.

The most amazing thing is that we share 98% of DNA with these creatures. It is incredible that their endangered status is not a well-known fact and worse, that as a global society we are not doing much to protect them. Aside from hunters and the growth of cities, poachers and rebel groups from the Congolese conflict remain a threat. Volcanoes National Park is guarded by the army, frequented by tourists and researchers in search of the nearly extinct mountain gorilla.

Undoubtedly, the rangers play a pivotal role in the conservation and protection of the gorilla habitat. They patrol the jungle continuously in addition to accompanying visitors on their expeditions.

Volcanoes National Park

This Park stretches along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda and includes the Virunga Mountains region of Rwanda.

These mountains, which include five volcanoes, are fascinating, and the park is one of the most exciting in Africa. Of all its extraordinary attractions, the mountain gorillas stand out. Most visitors to the park are obviously driven by the desire to come face to face with gorillas in the mist, but the rare golden monkeys, some of which have become accustomed to human contact, can also be seen.

There is also a wide range of options for hiking and climbing.

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