Despite Rwanda’s tragic past, over the last 25 years the country has undergone an incredible transformation – a true testament to the unity, courage, commitment and love that the people of Rwanda possess.
Rwanda is often fondly referred to as ‘The Country of a Thousand Hills’, a name earned because of its endless undulating savannah hills, valleys and majestic mountains. These landscapes, combined with Rwanda’s incredible forests, have made it the perfect home to some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas.
Our Black Bean team was on assignment for Singita, documenting the beginning of their journey in Rwanda with the establishment of the new Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House in Volcanoes National Park where we were privileged enough to trek gorillas in the incredible Volcanoes National Park forest.
Spending time observing mountain gorillas in the wild, in their natural habitats, is a life-changing experience. That moment when we first catch a glimpse of a gorilla after an exhilarating trek through the rainforest always leaves us speechless – every single time. That moment of silence shared with these amazing apes is indescribable.
These remarkable apes share 98.4% of their DNA with us and are incredibly human-like. Our connection to these species is undeniable and it’s something we’ve been fortunate enough to experience first-hand. Experiences like these are a huge driving force behind the work that we do to help protect and conserve these remarkable animals.
Sadly, mountain gorillas are one of the rarest species on the planet. Less than 200,000 gorillas remain in Africa today. Of these, there are only around 1000 mountain gorillas left.
Rwanda is doing exceptional work to protect and foster mountain gorilla populations. Sustainable tourism plays a hugely important role in supporting these conservation efforts. Companies like Singita, who we have worked with closely over the last few years, are committed to using tourism as a way to support and empower local communities and contribute towards the preservation of wildlife and wilderness areas. Without sustainable tourism, conservation of these magnificent species, along with so many other endangered species, would not be possible.
Supporting sustainable tourism, especially right now, is a great way to contribute towards conservation. You can also find out more about how you can experience these magnificent animals first hand on your own trekking adventure here.
We cannot imagine a world in which experiences like this are no longer possible – a world in which mountain gorillas no longer exist. We need to protect our great apes - one of our closest living relatives. There are many organisations working tirelessly to protect and conserve mountain gorillas and their habitats that you can support such as The Gorilla Fund, Gorilla Doctors and The International Gorilla Conservation Programme.