Active + Adventure

Adventures That Give Back

by Jen Swetzoff

Encountering gorillas in Rwanda

The thrill: Only about 800 of the endangered mountain gorilla survive in the world today. And they tend to live in steep, wet terrain that's hard to navigate. To get a glimpse, head for the mountains of Rwanda and take a challenging (and several hours long) uphill climb into Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Mountain Range. After pushing through large hagenia trees, ferns, and bamboo, the reward is being mere feet from the 300-pound creatures as they eat, play, rest, and care for one another. Don't be surprised if you feel like you're spying on your neighbors—gorillas share almost 98 percent of human DNA.

The goodwill: The Rwandan government limits the number of people who can visit gorillas by restricting the number of entry permits it issues each year and pricing them high, at $500. But that money goes directly to help protect the animals, conserve the land they inhabit, and assist people who live in the surrounding areas. East Africa–based eco-tour operator Gamewatchers Safaris makes sure all of the profits stay in the region. The company employs local guides and pays competitive wages, ensures that lodges follow responsible tourism guidelines, and provides additional income to the Rwandan parks. So the trips support all of the local residents.

Gamewatchers Safaris
Tel: 877 710 3014
Trips start at $2,410 per person for three days, including your gorilla permit

Next: Saving the world, one oar at a time >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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