Ruhengeri, Rwanda: The Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda, the “Land of 1000 Hills” is tiny country sandwiched between Tanzania, the DR Congo, Uganda and its sister country Burundi.  As small as Rwanda is, there is much to see within its borders.  The highlight of a trip to Rwanda is trekking in the Parc National des Volcans to see the last remaining mountain gorillas in equatorial Africa.  (Less than 1,000 now live in Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo).  If you want to see the gorillas you must reserve tickets far in advance.  Kigali, Rwanda’s pretty capital city, will be your jumping off point. 

In Kigali you are surrounded by reminders of the genocide–even seeing a Rwandan walking down the street carrying a machete, a common sight in Africa, feels menacing.  You must go to the Genocide Museum–it has immediacy, provides a good background for the events that led up to the genocide, and provokes outrage over how the world stood idly by as nearly 1,000,000 Rwandan Tutsis were murdered.  After picking up tickets to see the mountain gorillas at the tourist bureau, you take a three hour bus ride to Ruhengeri, a small town in Northern Rwanda.  

It is a bumpy ride over lush, terraced hills, and past dozens of genocide memorials set up on the side of the road. Continue reading