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Rwanda, 4th
     

Rwanda, 4th

by Philip Briggs, Janice Booth
 

‘More impressive even than the gorillas’ size and bearing is their unfathomable attitude to their daily human visitors…almost everybody who visits the gorillas experiences an almost mystical sense of recognition,’ writes Philip Briggs in Bradt’s Rwanda of the country’s most popular residents. Fifteen years on from the

Overview

‘More impressive even than the gorillas’ size and bearing is their unfathomable attitude to their daily human visitors…almost everybody who visits the gorillas experiences an almost mystical sense of recognition,’ writes Philip Briggs in Bradt’s Rwanda of the country’s most popular residents. Fifteen years on from the tragic genocide of 1994, Rwanda is rapidly emerging as one of Africa’s most exciting ecotourism destinations, with three diverse national parks. Bradt’s Rwanda is the only English-language guidebook dedicated to the country, and this updated fourth edition lists the newest hotels, tours, activities, operators ­– and, of course, information on how to track its famous mountain gorillas.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781841623061
Publisher:
Bradt Publications UK
Publication date:
03/16/2010
Edition description:
Fourth
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Tracking mountain gorillas in the Virungas is a peerless wildlife experience, and one of Africa’s indisputable travel highlights. It is difficult to describe the simple exhilaration attached to first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla. These are enormous animals: the silverbacks weigh about three times as much as the average man, and their bulk is exaggerated by a shaggily luxuriant coat. And yet despite their fearsome size and appearance, gorillas are remarkably peaceable creatures, certainly by comparison with most primates – gorilla-tracking would be a considerably more dangerous pursuit if these gentle giants had the temperament of vervet monkeys, say, or baboons (or, for that matter, humans).

More impressive even than the gorillas’ size and bearing is their unfathomable attitude to their daily human visitors, which differs greatly from that of any other wild animal. Anthropomorphic as it might sound, almost everybody who visits the gorillas experiences an almost mystical sense of recognition: we regularly had one of the gorillas break off from chomping on bamboo to study us, its soft brown eyes staring deeply into ours, as if seeking out some sort of connection.

Equally fascinating is the extent to which the gorillas try to interact with their visitors, often approaching them, and occasionally touching one of the guides in apparent recognition and greeting as they walk past. A photographic tripod raised considerable curiosity in several of the youngsters and a couple of the adults – one large female walked up to the tripod, stared ponderously into the lens, then wandered back off evidently satisfied. It is almost as if the gorillas recognise their daily visitors as a troop of fellow apes, but one too passive to pose any threat – often a youngster will put on a chest-beating display as it walks past tourists, safe in the knowledge that they’ll accept its dominance, something it would never do to an adult gorilla.

Meet the Author

Philip Briggs has written and co-authored ten Bradt African travel guides, and has contributed to numerous other books, travel and wildlife magazines.

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