THE ADDRESS Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 373

Photo: Anisha Shah around and show up. They’re very relaxed, radiating happiness in the mid-morning sunshine, casually ripping and chewing on eucalyptus. The Mountain Gorillas are critically endangered. Here, stood admiring their humanlike qualities, this fact is made more real and tragic. They possess unique fingerprints just like humans. The gestation period is 8.5 months and females feed babies for several years, so it’s a 4-year cycle before a new generation is produced. Though it’s a slow process, here in Rwanda, the numbers are showing signs of increase. A percentage of profit from tourism goes directly towards their conservation. Part of this involves the re-training of local communities in skills beyond subsistence farming and in turn educating them to appreciate the value of the gorillas and the tourism it brings. Initiatives such as women’s cooperatives contribute to skills training and empowerment, providing families with more sets of income. Since being designated a national park, the gorillas are monitored and fiercely protected. At US $750 per trek, to spend 1 hour with the gorillas, it’s not cheap. But the experience is truly once-in-a-lifetime and worth every cent. Luxurious lodgings I choose to stay within the rustic yet luxurious acreage of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, positioned atop a hill with the best vantage point in the region. Governors Camps pamper guests with this location. The communal lounge and dining area overlook uninterrupted views of a majestic trio of volcanoes. Homely and plush, the interior has a real family feel, which managers Tracy and Nelis constantly strive to achieve. From Tracy’s kitchen serving up hearty meals of fresh local ingredients, to home screenings of spectacular wildlife photography by Nelis, their passion translates and is catchy. Guests join a family ambiance, swapping the day’s stories and sightings over dinner and laughing together in the luxurious lounge area over drinks. When the time comes to retire to individual cottages, which