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Rwanda

Rwanda might be a less obvious choice when it comes to African destinations, but more and more people are adding it to their itinerary for the life-changing experience that is gorilla trekking. There are roughly 800 mountain gorillas left in the world. They share 98% of our DNA, and travellers who have seen them up close report that it feels like looking in a mirror and seeing our prehistoric primate selves staring impassively back. The 2 day trek through the Virunga Mountains of Volcanoes National Park is severely restricted in numbers, preventing overcrowding and potential danger to the animals. The gorillas have become habituated to seeing humans, increasing their need for protection but also allowing the opportunity to educate and raise funds for continued conservation efforts. Rwanda is easily accessible from neighbouring Kenya or via direct flights from Johannesburg. Permits must be purchased for each day in the national park and tours are guided by experienced locals. In the 30 years that Rwanda has welcomed visitors to view its gorillas, no guide has ever had to shoot a gorilla nor have any travellers been harmed by one.

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