My passion for Gorillas lead me to Africa. I read ‘In the Kingdom of Gorilla’s and how the gorillas survival lies in balance between the needs of people and wildlife in this country. I chose Rwanda because I wanted to acknowledge and support the efforts that the Rwandans are making to shape a peaceful and happy future out of the dark days of genocide.
So those were my motives. I chose the tour from the Intrepid catalog and I arrived with hopes that my interactions with Rwandans would be a positive experience. The out come was so much more! In the hands of the wonderful people at Eco Tours it emerged as an
experience of a life time. The village stay was stunning! We were swept up into the welcoming embrace of this caring community. The dancing & story telling was the greatest of fun. They looked after us in a manner that radiated friendship and concern for our every need. I hope we managed to respond in a manner that reflected our overwhelming level of enjoyment and our appreciation of their efforts.
The tour was professionally run extremely well directed and guided by Edwin & Martha. The friendly manner, selfless motives and obvious warmth and concern for their staff and the Rwandan people was a pleasure to observe. Personally I very much enjoyed our short time together and am honored to have met them.
The village in Ruhengeri had been set up as a community based tourism enterprises. It offers an alternative source of income and food for families that relied on the forest that are now part of the ‘Parc Natonal des Volcans’. The ex poachers from a mix of tribal groups were now our hosts. We were unaware that we were to be the first group to stay in the village since its construction. The excitement an interest we generated was exhilarating. Our visits represented the culmination of planning and hard work and the first step to fulfillment of the hopes and ambitions of this community and were received as honoured guests. Our group of 5 down to earth travelers from UK, Canada, Australian and New Zealand were a bit overwhelmed by our new status. We all set about the activities and interactions with the people determined to reflected their efforts and the warmth of the welcome.
These images were taken on our first night in the village. We were seated at on end of the large central hut for a night of food, story telling, music and dancing. The food was prepared on a charcoal fire in the center of the room and lit by lanterns. Thats me in the flanked by the real dancers with Regan from NZ at the back. Kirsty a seasoned and adventurous traveler from the UK was grooving with another of our hosts. She threw her self into every second of the trip and was great fun to travel with. Some of our hosts meantime were going off at the other side of the room.