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Lake Kivu

Experience Rwanda’s Gorillas and Lake Kivu

Experience Rwanda’s Gorillas and Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Imagine an experience out of the ordinary, into the tropical rain forests of Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, over powering waters and magnetic scenery. Come face to face with legendary beasts of the wild and live through their eyes watching every move they make. Enjoy an array of relaxing and winding activities after your gorilla trek at Rwanda’s white sand beaches along Lake Kivu.

Book through Rwanda Gorillas Safaris and you will experience the hospitality of the Rwandan people, the beauty of the a thousand Hills, and the lasting mystique of its regal history. Visit Lake Kivu and you will understand why century after century, travelers have come to its shores in search of magic and romance.

We were extremely lucky on this trek. We probably walked about two hours before we found the gorillas. It was a pretty steep climb for the first hour, or so, but it was open country consisting of paths through farm fields and very small villages. Once we reached the top of that mountain we went down a bit and entered the forest. It’s called the Volcanoes National Park for a reason.

Our guide used a machete a number of times to clear vines. The walk here was up and down and on very narrow paths. When we got word that the troop had been spotted we left everything with our porters, except cameras, and advanced until we came upon the gorillas. They were on the move eating their way through very dense undergrowth. The photos were very clear but and the undergrowth made it extremely hard to follow them. Fortunately, after about five minutes of this the gorillas decided to take a late morning rest in a relatively clear area and we were able to watch and photograph them to our heart’s content.

My wife and I were the oldest members of our group but did just fine and were certainly not the slowest. Whatever your age, I do recommend the collapsible aluminum trekking poles (two of them). The lodges in the area do provide walking sticks but they are wooden poles and I never saw anyone with more than one of them. You do need long sleeves and should have gloves and sturdy hiking boots, though there were people with tennis shoes and no gloves in our group.

One writer suggests gaiters. I didn’t find those necessary but I had brought elastic strips with Velcro on each end that I wrapped around my pants leg. You can also tuck you pants into your socks.  We did wear insect repellent and insects were not a problem. You’ll be in the sun for much of your trek, so sunscreen should be used. The lodges provide box lunches and we stopped to eat ours after our time with the gorillas was up.

The walk down was very pleasant after we got out of the forest as we weren’t huffing and puffing and there was a chance to have nice talks with others in our group. I did not expect to have to tip as many people as I did on this trek. In addition to the guide and porter, there were six trackers, so be sure to bring plenty of money.

After the exciting but perhaps also tiring mountain gorillas trekking safari, Lake Kivu provides the ideal place for rest and recuperation, swimming and water sports, speed boats, canoe sailing, or just mountain walks and picnics. Lake Kivu will provide all facilities to your satisfaction.

Finally, I can bear witness that a minimum level of fitness is not required. There was a woman on our trek who said she’d had knee and ankle surgery fairly recently. On the way up she had two porters and, with her arms around their shoulders, they essentially carried her up. After spending time with the gorillas she decided that she didn’t want to walk down and six men with a stretcher showed up to carry her out of the forest and down the mountain. This was no small feat since much of the forest walk was on trails barely wide enough for one person let alone two people and the width of the stretcher. Not only was the path narrow but one side was a steep incline up and the other side a steep inclines down. She had two more treks booked and said that she was going to do the stretcher both ways on those treks.