Friend a Gorilla Today

Gorilla

Now you can friend a gorilla on Facebook.

A year ago, last August, we did two very worthwhile gorilla treks in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda. Here are links to some of the stories we wrote at the time: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

There are photos in the Gorillas Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

(Photo from EarthPhotos.com.)

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Where to Go Next: Rwanda?

Rwandalake

Where’s the next cool place?

It’s standard travel magazine fodder. Over time, Travel & Leisure has variously decided it’s Montenegro, Mongolia or maybe Minneapolis, and most recently that I can find, they say it’s back to the Bahamas.

Cool Travel Guide has a compilation of 2009 lists (from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Bangladesh, it’s pretty much anywhere you’re already thinking about going). There’s even a site called wheretogonext.com.

Our prediction as a destination you’ll be hearing more about: Rwanda.

Kigalimemcntr We’re about halfway through the fifteen year anniversary of the 100 days of Rwandan genocide that began on 6 April 1994 when the then Rwandan president’s plane was brought down, and resulted in as many as 800,000 deaths. Today the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, opened five years ago on the tenth anniversary, tells the tale from a perch overlooking the capital city.

The standard press at fifteen years mostly talks about reconciliation. The travel press is much farther down the road. Much of the travel infrastructure is so new that it’s been built responsibly and eco-wise. And the numbers are up, with over a million arrivals last year.

Rwater On our own visit to Rwanda, nine months ago, we found a desperately poor country where people queue in villages, even in the shadow of the capital, to collect drinking water in jerry cans. But that vague, uneasy sense of danger (you’ll know it if you’ve felt it) just didn’t exist. And, as often in poverty, we found some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere on the planet.

And then there’s the big draw, the Virunga Mountain Gorillas, by far and away worth making the trip by themselves. We’ve written a lot about the Rwanda and the gorillas, but that was back before we began listing everything on CS&W in a handy index, so here are links to some posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Top photo: The cool, verdant Virunga mountains, where Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo come together. Next photo: The Kigali Memorial Centre. Next: People queue for drinking water outside Kigali. Below: Virunga gorilla.

(See the Mountain Gorillas Gallery and the Rwanda Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.)

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