Achtung / Attention please!! Is viewing the Mountain Gorillas addictive?
" … In May 2013, a couple from the USA, was in Rwanda to trek the mountain Gorillas for their 75th time, since 2003.
Within a period of just 10 years only, the couple trekked the mountain gorillas 75 times, which means that they, at least, trekked the mountain gorillas 7 times, every year!!
While talking to the local Journalists, in Kigali, the couple said that they aim to trek the mountain Gorillas for 100 times, before they " retire " from the gorillas trekking experiences.
The first, well known mountain Gorillas addict is, of course, the late Dian Fossey who abandon her home, and her fiancee, in the USA, to come and live at her Karisoke Gorillas Reserach Centre, within the Volcanoes national park, from 1967, to 1985, when she was murdered.
The mountain Gorillas are part of the larger primate species, in the world, that include the Low Land Gorillas, the Bonobos ( famously known to " make love, and not war " ), the Orangutans, and the many types of different Monkeys.
The immediate, and curious question is; what makes the mountain Gorillas special primate species that have the inherent powers to make human beings addicted, to them?
Does anyone, over there, have an answer to this question ? If you do not have an answer, now, please, come over to Rwanda, trek the mountain Gorillas, and the answer will be indelibly written in your mind, throught out your lifetime,…………"
The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi) and stands at a height of 1,460 metres
(4,790 ft) above sea level. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, and making it particularly deep, its maximum depth of 480 m (1,575 ft) is ranked fifteenth in the world. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains.
The world's tenth-largest inland island, Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, while settlements on its shore include Bukavu, Kabare, Kalehe, Sake and Goma in Congo and Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu in Rwanda.
Lake Kivu is one of the Great Lakes of Africa. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.
Native fish include species of Barbus, Clarias, and Haplochromis, as well as Nile Tilapia. Limnothrissa miodon, one of two species known as the Tanganyika sardine, was introduced in 1959 and formed the basis of a new pelagic zone fishery. In the early 1990s, the number of fishers on the lake was 6,563, of which 3,027 were associated with the pelagic fishery and 3,536 with the traditional fishery. Widespread armed conflict in the surrounding region from the mid-1990s resulted in a decline in the fisheries harvest.
Lake type: Rift Valley lakes, Meromictic
Primary outflows: Ruzizi River
Catchment: area 7,000 km2
(2,700 sq mi)
Basin countries: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo
Max. length: 89 km (55 mi)
Max. width: 48 km (30 mi)
Surface area: 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi)
Average depth: 240 m (787 ft)
Max. depth: 480 m (1,575 ft)
Water volume: 500 km3 (120 cu mi)
Surface elevation: 1,460 m (4,790 ft)
Settlements: Goma, Congo, Bukavu, Congo, Kibuye, Rwanda, Cyangugu, Rwanda, Gisenyi Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park
Located in the Virunga Mountains, a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the north of the country, the park forms part of the extension of the Congo-Nile Divide, separating two of Africa's most important watersheds.
They're also home to the world's last surviving mountain gorilla population, currently a mere 700 individuals.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International now runs its research on the gorillas in the forest from the Karisoke Centre in Musanze town.
Gazetted: 1925 to protect the Mountain Gorillas. It was the first National Park in Africa.
Size: 12,500 Hac.
Location: Musanze 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kigali.
- The Virgunas with five peaks – Karisimbi (4507M), Bisoke (3711M), Sabyinyo (3634M), Gahinga (3474M) and Muhabura (4127M).
- The last families of mountain Gorillas on earth.
- Other animals including – the rare golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Cape buffalo, black fronted duiker; a profusion of bird life including the Ruwenzori turaco and beautiful francolins.
- In the vicinity the beautiful lakes Burera and Ruhundo.
- The Viunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: Bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m), Sub-alpine (3300-4000m) and Afro-alpine (4000+m).
- Between Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes lie lakes Ngezi, Nyirambubu, Gasindikira and Muraro. Crater Lake is at the peak of Bisoke. Visit to the lakes can be organized.
High altitude makes it generally cold, especially during the evenings. Gorilla viewing is possible all the year round.
Eight families of gorillas are habituated for tourist.
Apart from Gorilla tracking other activities in the vicinity of Musanze and Volcanoes include:
- Visit to the grave of Dian Fossey and her gorilla Digit
- Climbing Karisimbi 2 days
- Climbing Bisoke 1 day
- Tour of the lakes Burera and Ruhondo
- Cave exploration – visit Musanze cave and natural bridge
- Tracking the Golden Monkey
Nyungwe Forest National Park
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
This 1000 sq. km. jungle in the south of Rwanda is the largest and most ancient Afro-Montane forest remaining in the East & Central Africa, dating back to the last ice age.
One of Africa's best kept secrets, the forest is interspersed with well marked and maintained trails and boasts 13 rare primate species, the world's largest ever recorded arboreal troop of black/white colobus monkeys, over 300 species of birds and 100 types of orchid. Nyungwe Forest and chimpanzee tracking is the ideal compliment to any gorilla safari.
Size: 1019 KM2
Distance: 225 Km from Kigali, 90 Km from Butare and 54 Km from Cyangugu.
Altitude: 1600 M-2950 M above sea level with temperatures varying between 0°C and 30°C; average day temperatures 15°C.
Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year. Rainy season is September to May. Dry season June to August with some dry weeks in December and January.
- Largest montane rain forest remaining in Africa
- Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
- Kamiranzovu marsh (13 Km2)
- In the vicinity Cyamudongo community forest with resident population of Chimpanzees.
- 260 species of trees and shrubs
- Over 140 species of orchids and giant lobelias
- 13 recorded species of primates (25% of Africa's total) including chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Ruwenzori colobus (Colbus angeolensis ruwenzori) l'Hoest's monkey (Cercopithecus l'hoesti), silver monkey (C.mitis doggetti), golden monkey (C.mitis kandti), owl-faced monkey (C.hamlyni), red-tailed monkey (C.ascdanius), Den't mona monkey (C.mona denti), vervet monkey (C.aetiops), olive baboon (papio anubis), grey-cheeked mangabey (Cercocebus albigena) and three species of bushbaby
- Leopard, golden cat, serval cat, side stripped jackal, Genet, African civet, slender and marsh mongoose represents the carnivores
- Other mammals include three species of duikers, two species of flying squirrels, tree hyrax and Congo clawless otter
- 120 species of butterflies
- 275 bird species with 24 endemic to the Central African Highlands (Albertine Rift)
- Reptiles including three species of horned chameleons
- Bird walks
- Primate trekking
- Excursions to Kamiranzovu Marsh
- Excursions to Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factory
- Scaling Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
Chimpanzee tracking starts at 06:00 Hrs. Visitors are advised to book chimpanzee tracking in advance. (Not for children under the age of 15).
This massive montane forest, in southern Rwanda , the largest in Central Africa , has thirteen species of primate including chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus and l'Hoest's monkey.
The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa .
Around 300 bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies are other attractions ..
Nyungwe's Trail System
Nyungwe offers 13 hiking trails, some with tongue-twisting names. Try pronouncing “Igishigishigi” quickly, which is the name of an easy 1.7 km trail that begins near the Uwinka Reception Centre. By the way, Igishigishigi means tree fern. The trails range from easy to difficult and from 1.7 kms to 10.6 kms in length.
Trails from Uwinka Reception Centre
|Trail names||Distance||Difficult level|
|Red (Imbaraga)||9 km||Difficult|
|Green (igishigishigi)||1,7 km||Easy|
|Blue (Umugote)||3,5 km||Moderate|
|Grey (Bugufi)||2 km||Easy|
|Mount Bigugu||7 km||Difficult|
|Kamiranzovu swamp||3,9 km||Moderate|
|Yellow (Irebero)||3,2 km||Moderate|
|Pink (Umuyove)||3,8 km||Moderate|
Trails from Gisakura Reception Centre
|Trail names||Distance||Difficult level|
|Kamiranzovu water fall (Isumo)||10,6 km||Moderate|
The Nyungwe Nziza project helped develop trails from the Kitabi Reception Center. These trails lead you to a great viewpoint in Kitabi village and tea plantation for observing many types of vegetation, primates and birds.
|Trail names||Distance||Difficult level|
Akagera Game Park
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Situated at lower altitudes on the Tanzanian border, Akagera is dominated scenically by a labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, one of the main sources of the River Nile.
Giraffe and zebra haunt the savannah alongside more than a dozen types of antelope, such as the diminutive oribi and the world's largest antelope, the eland. Pods of hippopotami splutter throughout the day while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws agape.
Along the lake shores are some of the continent's densest concentrations of water birds, while the marshes are home to the endangered bird species like the exquisite papyrus gonolek and the bizarre shoe-bill, probably the most eagerly sought of all African birds.
Size: 90,000 Hac.
Location from Kigali: Two and half hours drive east of Kigali
- Bush Savannah tangled with acacia and branchystagia woodlands with stands of Euphorbia candlehbrum, patches of rolling grasslands, riverine, lakes and swamps.
- To the west of the park are hills reaching to elevations of 1600m-1800m above sea level
- Akagera River
- Lakes: Ihema, Kivumba, Hago, Mihindi, Rwanyakizinga
- Large concentration of mammals e.g. elephants, buffalos, lions, Maasai giraffe, gazelles, impala, baboons, oribi, Butchel's zebra, topi, bushbaby, leopard and bushbuck
- Aquatic life e.g. crocodiles and hippos
- A large concentration of bird life over 425 species identified. Unique species such as Shoe billed stocks and papyrus gonolek can be encountered. Endemics include the jacanas, ibis, sand pipers and herons.
- Mitumba hills
- Accommodation: Akagera Game Lodge, Campsites
Gates: Kabarando and Kiyonza
- Visitors are not allowed to go beyond point 19 in the direction of Gabiro Guest House
- The park is open between 07:00 Hrs and 17:00 Hrs
- For maximum enjoyment of this park, always use a ranger guide
- ORTPN is not responsible for any injuries sustained from animals within the park
- Clients are advised to respect the right of animals especially the flight distance
- Visitors are advised to follow the instructions of the guides
- Fishing/Game drives
- Game drives, Tennis at Akagera Game Lodge
RUZIZI TENTED LODGE
The new Ruzizi Tented Lodge opening in November 2012 is tucked away in the riverine forest on the edge of Akagera's largest lake. This small private camp offers seven en-suite tents dotted along the forested lake edge, sheltered by large trees and swaying palms.
The tents are spaced either side of a thatched reception area with a lounge, bar and dining room. Each tent is accessible by a wooden boardwalk from the reception. The camp is entirely powered by solar, with a solar hot water system.
For the more adventurous or for those traveling on a budget, three self-catering camp sites are also available in Akagera.
Shakani Campsite is located on the banks of Lake Shakani, the only lake where fishing is allowed as a tourist activity. This is a great spot if you don't mind sharing the space with hippos and noisy plovers. Birdlife abounds at this campsite, and with the lake lapping the shores and a backdrop of tree covered hills, the scenery is magnificent.
Mutamba Campsite is the highest point in Akagera and is renowned for the high density of game that congregates in this region, including herds of eland and the elusive roan antelope.
Muyumba Campsite is situated on a ridge with a stunning view overlooking the picturesque Lake Shakani and Lake Ihema and across to Tanzania. Only a few kilometers away from the reception at Kiyonza, Muyumba is the closest camp site to the entrance gate.
All three campsites have pit toilets and a wash room. However, there is no running water available so please come prepared with enough water for the duration of your stay. Firewood is provided and tents can be hired from reception.