One moment you are hauling yourself up a steep hillside while hacking your way through the steamy jungle undergrowth. The next, you catch sight of a family of gorillas as they appear, almost like ghosts, from the thick brush.
The best place to see the extraordinary mountain gorillas up close is within the Parc National des Volcans, in Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains. Following a thorough briefing, you’ll set off from your lodge on this primate pilgrimage accompanied by expert trackers. A degree of fitness is required, but your efforts will be rewarded in spades.
All aching muscles are quickly forgotten as you observe these magnificent primates in their natural habitat. An adult male silverback can weigh up to 200kg, and yet these creatures are amazingly gentle and relaxed. Many describe their short time with the gorillas as a life-changing experience, full of shared moments of recognition. While the encounter may only last an hour, it’s sure to be among the most memorable hours of your life.
The best time to go see the gorillas in Rwanda is during the dry seasons, from December to February or June to September. Park permits do get snapped up quickly though – we recommend booking at least six months in advance.