Gorillas changing the lives of locals


Witness one of the greatest conservation success stories on the planet. Rwanda’s Gorilla Kingdom is located in the misty volcanic ranges, and you trek through hauntingly beautiful rain forests to come into contact with the gentle giants of the mountain. While they remain critically endangered, years of conservation have made the gorillas completely habituated and they are one of the few wild animals that you can get close to without interfering with their normal behaviour.

Having an encounter with some of the world’s few remaining mountain gorillas is on the bucket list for many travellers to Africa, including Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi, who recently travelled to the Volcanoes National Park themselves; a trip that Ellen had “been waiting [her] whole life to make.” Their visit launched the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, which is currently building a permanent home for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in the area, putting the gorillas and the importance of their continued protection in the international spotlight.

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The Rwandan government has carefully managed the influx of tourism with profits going directly back into the communities that live close to the gorillas. Convicted poachers are rehabilitated and trained as guides. Schools and clinics are built. With the result that nowadays locals are more incentivised to protect than poach these magnificent creatures.

This is a trip that perfectly balances conservation and culture. You will spend time in nature observing these endangered animals in their natural habitat, which is riveting, thrilling and entirely life-changing. As part of the experience, you will also see some of the new facilities that communities have built, laugh and engage with happy children, meet and talk to former poachers, and see some of the traditional dancing and ceremonies in honour of the great gorilla. See animal-community-government-partnership conservation in action.

Gorillas in Rwanda

Rwanda - Gorillas