Every single client on our Rwanda programme receives a detailed trip dossier prior to departure, which includes full details of the required code of conduct when travelling in Rwanda, with a specific section on the rules of gorilla viewing. This includes information on ensuring the 7 metre distance rule is reinforced and clarification that should clients be suffering from flu or cold like symptoms they will not be allowed to track the gorillas.
We reinforce this in the conversations we have with our clients during the booking process and ensure that our tour guide and leaders continue this message in country, done through the tour briefing on arrival. We also ask our clients to report any local guides who do not follow these rules and ensure our clients are very much there to set a precedent wherever possible.
The guides we use on this tour are from the surrounding region and money raised from this tour helps support the training and education of the guides themselves. We include a donation of US $500 per trip to The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. In order to ensure a healthy future for this special animal, they regularly monitor the gorillas, providing life-saving medical care if needed, conduct health studies and help build local capacity in veterinary medicine and ecosystem health. However, they can’t do it alone and this donation ensures that they are able to continue their vital work in the region.
In purchasing the gorilla permits themselves (US $500 per person) you are directly contributing not only to the local economy, but to the long-term wellbeing of the gorillas themselves. This money is then invested back into the park and its facilities, paying for rangers wages and education. The government works hard to ensure the money is reinvested and as a result, the mountain gorillas are one of the few primates whose numbers are increasing due to this structure of high-yield, low impact tourism.
From the safari price paid by every client a contribution is made to the Partnership Trust, a separate non-profit organisation which undertakes community and conservation activities. These activities have included the employment of the Intore Dancers, a troop of dancers that perform one of Rwanda’s traditional dances, road construction and improvements that help local people take their produce to markets and carry water to their homes, as well as contributing towards connecting water supplies in Bunyaruguru.
The lodge we use is constructed of local materials with all staff being employed from the surrounding region with home cooked food, also sourced locally and also uses solar power to heat the water. For every one of our group departures we provide clients with an in depth information pack on how to travel responsibly offering advice on travelling in country. This ranges from cultural sensitivities, to environmental awareness with an emphasis on showing respect to your hosts ensuring that each traveller sets a precedent and adheres to a strict code of conduct. When spending time with wildlife – Please keep your voices low. You will then also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest. Keep a safe distance from wildlife. Your guide will be on hand to advise – listen to your guides advice at all times. Do not eat or drink whilst you are near wildlife. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases. Please remember that although much of the wildlife is semi-habituated, they are still wild animals. You should always strictly adhere to the guidelines explained to you by the ranger before you embark on the trek. Providing you do so, you will be minimising any potential threats. It goes without saying, but DO NOT touch any wildlife of any sort. The guides and rangers will give you a full briefing on the rules of conduct before you embark on the trek and it’s very important you adhere to them. It is us who are being given a privileged insight into the natural world and we should treat all wildlife with respect!
The purpose of a wildlife photographic tour is to enable you to return home not only with wonderful memories, but also superb photos that will be a permanent reminder of your amazing experiences with some of the world’s most endangered creatures. At the same time we don’t forget that the stars of the show are the mountain gorillas. These gorillas and their wellbeing are very much at the forefront of this trip.
To mitigate the carbon dioxide released into the high atmosphere through your air travel we are giving £10 per client to Rainforest Concern. Rainforests have a central role to play in the slowing of climate change and yet we are removing forests from the planet at a faster rate than they can grow back. It is thus axiomatic to try and preserve the forests that we have rather than replanting. Rainforest Concern was established in 1993 to protect threatened natural habitats, the biodiversity they contain and the indigenous people who still depend on them for their survival.
Passionate animal-lover Jules was galloping on a horse across the plains of Mongolia when he had the idea to set up a travel company which used tourism to raise funds and awareness of the plight of endangered animals. He worked with the Orangutan Foundation in Borneo to put together one of his first trips and today has a portfolio of incredible holidays that work with leading authorities on wildlife and contribute toward conservation. All staff share his ethos of ‘travel to protect’ and believe responsible tourism can be an effective tool if it helps local people realise the economic potential of their natural habitats.
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