They do plenty more than just carry your packed lunch and bottle of water, they basically get you to and from the gorillas in one piece…
When you’re about to set off on the trek to see ‘your’ family of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, you’ll be asked if you want to hire a porter. If you only have a small bag, it’s tempting to think, ‘Why would I need someone to carry something that hardly weighs a thing?’ Well, it turns out there are lots of good reasons.
For a start, even a light load gets much heavier when you’ve been carrying it uphill through the jungle for a few hours, so it’s great to hand everything over to someone else and just focus on the experience itself. But the porters do plenty more than just carry your packed lunch and bottle of water. Some of the terrain is quite difficult, even if you think you’re really fit, and you’re going along a trail rather than a man-made path. So they’ll help you up and down the steep bits, or if it’s a bit slippery or whatever, and basically get you to and from the mountain gorillas in one piece!
And that’s not all. Although you have the guides who lead the way, the porters also have their own insights and are more than happy to share their extensive local knowledge with you. Their passion for the area and the gorillas is obvious and infectious, and walking in the national park with them definitely added to the experience for me.
It’s also a way of directly supporting the local economy, as the porters come from the villages around the park. There aren’t a lot of other job opportunities, so this way they get to share in the benefits of gorilla tourism and get behind the whole idea of wildlife conservation instead of being drawn into poaching. The $10-15 tip you give them can help pay for everything from school fees to rent and food for the family, so it’s going to a really good cause – it’s probably the best money you’ll ever spend.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656