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Face to face with the silverback – Rwanda

The route to the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is different every morning. The great apes decide every day where to pitch their night camp and where to build their nests of leaves. It's good that the rangers are good at reading the tracks of the primates and then lead the visitors through the wild jungle to them. For me, these traces are absolutely invisible. A few twisted blades of grass, a depression in the ground - that's all there is. Or is it? After a good three strenuous hours in the field, I suddenly have this feeling that makes me pause. A strange smell that fills the whole forest. Incredibly intense, unusual, strict. "It's the smell of the silverback," my guide explains. And indeed there is a gigantic ape crouching under a tree not 20 meters away from me and chewing on a piece of bamboo.


His gaze hits me to the core. A feeling of humility, reverence, admiration and also a little fear spreads through me. After all, I'm face to face with the muscleman, not separated by thick armored glass like in the zoo. While gorillas are basically peaceful vegetarians, they can bite if you tease them. Pure Adrenaline! So pure that I even completely forget to take out my camera. But not bad. Because I know I will carry this encounter in my heart forever.


The nice thing is that anyone who visits the mountain gorillas actively contributes to animal welfare. For several years, Rwanda has been going its own way to protect these rare animals. You pay 1,500 euros per person for a trekking tour. The ecosystem is far too fragile for mass tourism, the idea of charging high entrance fees from a few visitors will hopefully ensure that future generations will also be able to experience these wonderful creatures in the wild!


An ideal starting point for monkey-watching is the exclusive "Singita Kwitonda Lodge", where you can sit by the fireplace in the evening, look at the starry sky over the volcano and review the day's experiences.


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