East Africa, Rwanda

​Parc Nacional des Volcans

Goriila eating grass in Africa Jungle

The lushly beautiful, compact nation of Rwanda (it’s smaller than Vermont), is in turn the home of an even tinier protected patch that figures among the most beloved of wildlife admirers everywhere. The headline attractions at Volcanoes National Park are, of course, the massive, gentle mountain gorillas, numerous healthy family groups of which inhabit this park. Almost as enchanting is their homeland: impressively variegated with five of the eight Virunga Volcanos, the very epitome of marvelously misty, mythic-looking, densely jungle-clad volcanos.

Seeing and spending peaceful yet electric (and well-chaperoned) time with mountain gorillas is a rare, heart-filling experience. Micato’s panjandrums, Dennis and Joy Pinto, and their two kids Sasha and Tristan, visited the gorillas not long ago. Joy’s blogs and Tristan’s pictures are eloquent tributes to our precious, sparkly-eyed close relatives. You will be enthralled.

We had expected to be awed by the mountain gorillas, but those eyes! We hadn’t anticipated those questioning brown eyes, quietly gazing at us as if seeking a connection. Hiking the misty slopes of Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains….was inspirational, emotional, and profoundly fulfilling—perhaps the most magical few hours of our lives. Joy Phelan-Pinto

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