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Rwanda Trip Pictures from Dec. 30, 2007 to Jan. 02, 2008

To proceed to Rwanda Journal.

Our Route through RWANDA. Covered approx. 400km on the motorcycles.

Dec. 30, 2007. Our first view of the PARC NATIONAL DES VOLCANS. Cultivated terraces.

Seven stunning volcanoes line the border between Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.

It is possible to trek to the top of these volcanoes.

These volcanoes are home to the rare mountain gorillas.

Dec. 31, 2007. We show up at the Park headquarters, to see the MOUNTAIN GORILLAS without prebooking.

It is the busiest time of the year. And we are in luck as they open up a research gorilla group for a tourist visit.

We start our trek at the base of Mt. Bisoke (3711m).

Due to resent poaching activities, the military is present in full force and armer to protect the mountain gorillas.

Geared up in our rain gear to protect from mostly pesty stings as we make our way through the jungle.

After a couple of hours we encounter our first SILVERBACK MOUNTAIN GORILLA.

This group is called the SHINDA GROUP.

Trekking gorillas is actually not that simple and encompasses a lot more.

It all starts with the tracker. The tracker gets up at 5am every morning and makes its way into the forest to locate the target group of gorillas.

As gorillas do not move during the night, the tracker follows the gorillas tracks through the forest until catching up with them.

Then he radios in the gorillas location to the guide.

That is were we come as tourists into place.

The guide will lead us to the location.

There are also basic rules to follow, as these animals are protected.

A distance of 7m from the gorillas has to be kept.

This rule does not apply to the gorillas, ...

... who can close the distance with you in a second (speaking from experience).

Only (8) tourists are allowed to see one specific gorilla group a day.

The time to be with the gorillas once spotted is limited to (1) hour.

The cost for this one (1) hour is $500.00US/person.

We arrive as the gorillas are feeding on the vegetations and then take a rest.

Perfect time to observe them.

It is facinating,...

... as each facial expressions, even eye lashes, are similar to humans.

The Shinda group consists of (7) Silverbacks and numberous females with their young.

It is amazing as we make our way through the jungle, there are eyes watching you constantly.

They stare right at you while you stare back.

We were lucky to encounter (3) Silverbacks.

The mountain gorillas were on the verge of being extinct.

But growth is underway. In 2005, 30 babies were born, ...

... in 2006, 13 babies and in 2007, 23 babies.

120 gorillas are allocated for tourism, which means that tourists are guided every day to see them.

101 gorillas are specific for research.

An estimated 221 gorillas are on the Rwanda side.

Ruby is within a couple of meters of a mountain gorilla.

It is estimated that just under 800 mountain gorillas exist.

The only place these animals can be found is in Rwanda, Uganda & Congo.

Close up of the eye lashes.

Close up of their hands.

140,000 visitors from 89 countries have visited the gorillas in Rwanda since 1975.

The time flies by.

One of the baby gorillas plays in the trees.

He hangs on while mama gorilla is close by.

There is actually a gorilla in the dense forest behind Mike.

We come upon a female gorilla with her young.

At all times she is aware of us.

Close up of hands while removing food from the trees.

A great picture of Mama gorilla with her baby.

Great facial expressions.

The little guy hangs out in the lap of Mom.

A view of the area we had just combed through while viewing the gorillas.

In the last minutes of our (1) hour we see the Chief Silverback.

Time is up and we have to leave.

We trek back through the rain forest.

The Shinda group was located close to Dian Fossey's resting place.

Happy New Year celebrated in our tent with a cup of Coca Cola.

Jan. 01, 2008. At last minute we detour to Gisenyi ...

... on the shores of LAKE KIVU.

Jan. 02, 2008. The scenery from Ruhengeri to Kigali.

We continue our way from Kigali (Captial of Rwanda) ...

... over Kayonza to the Tanzanian Border.

The rivers are chocolate colored.

The Rwandan Border Post is connected to the Tanzanian Border Post via a bridge...

... which gives a great view of the RUSUMO WATERFALL.