There is greater biodiversity in Africa’s Albertine Rift region where Virunga National Park is located than in any other ecosystem in Africa. This richly diverse array of habitats is home to critical populations of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas.
At the base of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, infant mountain gorillas were celebrated during the Kwita Izina naming ceremony.
Well, the past two weeks have flown by, and Angel and I have been very busy completing the community surveys across the two sectors. It’s a large area so we have tried to ensure that we have covered as many people as possible, including trekking to communities on the Volcanoes National Park boundary and into outlying villages.
As we climbed out of Kigali on to one of the ridges leading north-west to the Volcanoes National Park area I was surprised to see the lush, green landscape spreading out across the ridges and valleys way into the distance. This landscape contrasted dramatically with northern Botswana where I have just spent three weeks—where it is dry, dusty and sandy with sparse vegetation except along the rivers.
On the craggy slopes of Mount Sabyinyo in northwest Rwanda, eight spacious, stone cottages look out over the dramatic mist-wreathed scenery of the Virunga massif. Open fires crackle in the cottage hearths as private butlers attend to their well-heeled guests; tourists who have come from far flung places to track the mountain gorillas resident in the nearby Volcanoes National Park.