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Rwanda Extension - Apes & Man

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Your Safari At A Glance…

Tour Dates: 21st to 26th April 2014 (6 Days)

Day 1 21st April Arrival in Kigali, visit Genocide Museum
Day 2 22nd April Kigali to Nyungwe via Nyanza and Butare
Day 3 23rd April Nyungwe Forest
Day 4 24th April Nyungwe to Volcans
Day 5 25th April Volcans National Park – Gorilla trekking and visit to cultural village
Day 6 26th April Volcans to Kigali and depart

Your Safari In Detail…

Day 1, 21st April: Arrival in Kigali, visit Genocide Museum

Today we arrive in the modern African city of Kigali. The lush countryside, which penetrates far into the city edges, reminds us of the fact that we are in a land where lush tropical forests once dominated, and which has much more water resources than most African countries. Birds abound in the city, and the call of White-browed Robin-Chat permeate the early morning air with a dawn chorus. The forest has been cut back across much of this densely populated land, making space for banana plantations and many other agricultural purposes. The people are friendly and smile as we go by, through a city which can boast some of the cleanest streets in Africa! Today we will visit the Genocide Museum, a commemorative site reminding all who visit of the sobering atrocities which took place in this beautiful land. In 1994 a terrible conflict arose between the different tribal groups of the Hutu and the Tutsi, and an estimated 800 000 people were killed in a period of just 100 days! The actual site where we will stand is at that of a mass grave of more than 250 000 people who were killed during this senseless slaughter, which has its origination in the mists of time and oral tradition. It is said to have first started, this tribal conflict, back in the 1300’s, when the warlike Tutsi people first migrated into Rwanda, a land then occupied by the small-statured Batwa and the Hutu tribes. Later King’s then centralized Tutsi military rule, such as King Ruganzu Ndori (1300’s) and King Kigeri Rwabugiri (1600’s) paving the way for years of tribal subjugation, and unrest in the Great lake Region of Central Africa. In the 1900’s Colonial rule by Belgium followed this, until independence in the 50’s, where the majority Hutu sent many thousands of Tutsi into exile in Uganda…a terrible war of attrition, which culminated in the atrocities of 1994. Now, the memory of this conflict has left modern Rwandans peaceful, and united, speaking only the common language of Kinyarwanda and referring to themselves as a single unified country. A truly moving social reform! We will also have the added pleasure of attending a tribal dancing display, which may include the famous Intore, or Dance of Heroes!

Day 2, 22nd April: Kigali to Nyungwe via Nyanza and Butare

Today we will travel to the South, to the Nyungwe National Park, the famed home of a large population of Africa’s Chimpanzee. This creature is, genetically, our closest relative, and an incredibly intelligent ape, which abounds in this, Rwanda’s southernmost primary forest. Other primates we may encounter include the Red-tailed, Blue and Mona Monkeys, Angolan Colobus and Grey-cheeked Mangabey amongst others! Other species such as Golden Cat, Leopard, Serval, Black-fronted, Yellow-backed and Weyn’s Duikers, Giant Forest Hog and White-bellied Pangolin also occur in this magnificent forest however we would be rather lucky to encounter any of these species during our stay. The birdlife is simply incredible, with an amazing 275 species recorded!

Day 3, 23rd April: Nyungwe Forest

Today we will explore the forest, searching for the amazing Chimpanzee, watching their behaviour, and perhaps even witnessing one of their famous hunts, during which they often capture unsuspecting monkeys by means of a concerted effort, team tactics and sheer speed and power! The park has an amazing diversity of primates, with an amazing total of 25 percent of Africa’s monkey species! We will search the forest canopy for signs of the many amazing and colourful birds which abound in the forests, listening all the while to the eerie calls of these creatures, some of whom may remain hidden in the forest canopy far above our heads! Lush jungle, with hanging vines, bizarre plants and fungi, and subdued green light will test our eyes to the maximum, as we search for our prize, with the assistance of expert trackers, scouts and guides!

Day 4, 24th April: Nyungwe to Volcans National Park

Today we are going to travel northward, to the Volcanoes National Park, at the axis of three countries – Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. This north-western park is the home of the fabled Mountain Gorilla, a definite must see on the mammal-life-list of most people! This powerful, yet gentle creature is common in the Virunga Massif, the group of volcanoes which straddles these three countries. On the way we will visit a Batwa village, experiencing a small taste of the life of these diminutive people, formerly known as the pygmies. Their marginalization into the forests of Rwanda also has a sobering link to the Genocide of 94. More than 10 000 Twa were killed during this terrible conflict, which is significant because this comprised more than one third of the total Batwa left in Rwanda! There are many amazing myths surrounding these people, and one of them goes as follows… Kigwa, the son of Nkuba (the ‘Thunder God’ and first Lord of Rwanda) had three sons of his own, Gatwa, Gahutu and Gatutsi. He wanted to test his sons, to determine what type of characters they were, and where they would live, so he gave each of them a calabash of milk to look after for the night. At first they were all fine, watching carefully over their precious gifts, but, later, as the night wore on Gatwa became thirsty. He thought “My father has always provided me with everything I need, so, if my father has given me this bottle of milk to keep, then surely I must drink it all up before it turns sour?” so he drank his milk up completely. Gahutu also did well at first, but he soon realized that he had forgotten one of his digging sticks outside, and as he returned into his hut he knocked the calabash over by accident, spilling all of his milk. Gatutsi, however, took the task very seriously, and stayed awake all through the night to guard his calabash from harm. He watched the calabash until sunrise when his father, Kigwa returned. The three sons were called before their father, and asked how their precious charges had fared during the night. Thereafter, Kigwa rewarded Gatutsi’s diligence, and made him a warrior, but Gahutu became a peasant farmer due to his failure and poor Gatwa was banished to the forests, to eke out a living… In actual fact, the Batwa were the first inhabitants of Rwanda, and have a wonderful history, with inimitable skills in the forests of Central Africa. Upon our arrival at Volcanoes, we will head out on a foray in search of the beautiful Golden Monkey, a special creature found in the region, before retiring for the evening to our lodgings.

Day 5, 25th April: Volcans National Park – Gorilla trekking and visit to cultural village

Today, we will experience one of the most amazing sights in the world, for we will head out in search of our first gorillas! This will involve walking through the lush forest habitat of our quarry, with local, expert guides and trackers leading us. The gorilla typically lives in a family group, with a large dominant male, known as a silver-back and his harem of females and their offspring. Groups like this can be very large, comprising up to 30 animals, which can be amazingly tolerant of humans, through years of conflict free interaction. This amazing day in the forests of northern Rwanda will be the culmination of our experience, with another comfortable night in our lodge, preparing for our departure tomorrow.

Day 6, 26th April: Volcans to Kigali and depart

Today we will be transferred to Kigali, and travel home after the end of our incredible tour.

Arrival & Departure Details:

Day 1 is scheduled as an arrival day for the tour, so you are welcome to arrive at any time on this day. The tour will conclude in Addis Ababa in the evening of day 8. Further meeting details in this regard will be forwarded to you in due course.

PLEASE NOTE:

If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance or advice in this regard, kindly contact the Tau office.

Flights:

Bole Airport in Addis Ababa is the main port of entry for international flights into Ethiopia and is well serviced by British Airways and Ethiopian Airways. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences, but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. If you would like further assistance, kindly contact the Tau office.

Tour Fact Sheet
Top Mammals

Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo, Elephant, unbelievable numbers of wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, Cheetah, Serval, Black and White Rhinoceros, Bat-eared Fox, Kongoni, Bohor Reedbuck, Kirk’s Dik-dik, Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx

Top Birds

Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Kori Bustard, Grey Crowned Crane, Secretarybird, Bateleur, Southern Ground Hornbill, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Vulturine Guineafowl

Reserves Visited

Arusha National Park,Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Ndutu Conservation Area

Habitats Covered

Acacia savanna, grasslands

Expected Climate

warm dry conditions

Max Group Size 6 & 1 Tau Anthropological Safaris leader
Tour Pace & Walking

easy pace, some longer drives

Accommodation comfortable lodges
Ease of Mammal Watching easy
Other Attractions

Maasai culture, African curios, Anthropological sites, optional Zanzibar Island add-on

Photographic Opportunities incredible
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