Page 40

metronews.ca

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

metro

travel41

Alberta Parks use Under a new 10-year plan, Albertans are getting the chance to help the government decide how to balance environmental protection for its parks with demand for more campsites and off-road trails. THE CANADIAN PRESS

In search of mountain gorillas

A correspondent who covered the Rwandan genocide returns LYNN THOMPSON/FOR METRO WORLD NEWS

JEREMY THOMSON for Metro World News

E

ver wondered what to get your wife for her birthday? It was Lynn’s 50th and I wanted to make it something special. Then it came to me — gorillas! Mountain gorillas remain one of the greatest and rarest wildlife wonders of the world. With just 700 left on the planet, seeing them is something very special. We were 8, 000 feet up in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park when our guides finally located them. Gasping in the thin mountain air, we’d clambered upwards for over an hour through thick, lush nettles, thistles and bamboo, when we emerged into a clearing and saw the Kwitonda family. It was a delightful scene — the giant silverback, his wives and babies, eating, preening and playing just feet away, seemingly unfazed by our presence. Visiting time is limited to one hour a day and just eight visitors are allowed to meet each of the seven habituated gorilla families — so only 56 lucky tourists get to see them per day. This is to prevent these splendid primates from getting stressed or catching diseases. After all, they have 93 per cent of human DNA: They can get colds, just like us. It was the American researcher Dian Fossey — whose work in Volcanoes National Park inspired the movie Gorillas in the Mist — who pioneered gorilla conservation here in the late 1960s. The ecotourism that arose from her project was going well until Rwanda became engulfed in tribal genocide exactly 15 years ago this month. Nearly a million people died in that brutal attempt at ethnic cleansing, horrific events I reported at the time as Sky News’ Africa Correspondent. Although roving militias

Sky News anchorman Jeremy Thompson poses with a family of Rwandan mountain gorillas in the background.

EUROPE,

Officials place strict limits on the number of visitors who may go to see the mountain gorillas on any given day.

BETTER NOW

THAN EVER!

Getting there • Kigali-based Thousand Hills Expeditions arranges transportation, accommodation and payment of park fees; visit thousand hills.rw or contact Jacqui Sebangeni, jacqui@thousandhills.rw. • rwandatourism.com

Book by April 27, 2009 LIMITED SPACE

ENGLAND Thu/Fri, May 28, 29, Jun 4, 5, 18, 19

769 $899 $

Fri, Jun 26, Jul 3-24

EARTH DAY: APRIL 22

Go Green and throngs of refugees encroached on gorilla habitat during those violent times, remarkably only one creature is known to have been killed. Soon after the new government sent army patrols to help park rangers protect the gorillas. Gorilla tourism was able to restart in 1997 and has been growing ever since. Rwanda’s Tourism Ministry recently agreed to a trans-boundary conservation plan with Uganda and Congo — the two neighboring countries where gorillas are also found. Another major initiative has been community

FLY TO THE UK FOR LESS DIRECT NONSTOP FLIGHTS from TORONTO PEARSON

LONDON

CITY PACKAGE 8 DAYS • 7 NIGHTS President Hotel +++ Add taxes $382

Jeremy Thompson visits a genocide memorial.

tourism, a joint venture between Rwanda’s government and the private sector, backed by foreign NGOs, designed to plough money back into the local communities and improve their quality of life through better education and healthcare. Returning after all these years, I was struck by the peaceful order of today’s Rwanda. The genocide is not forgotten. Almost every village has its own memorial — the skulls in the window are a grim reminder of the past. But

there is a collective determination to move forward as a united country, no longer divided by destructive tribalism. Now the streets of this beautiful land in the heart of Africa are filled with the laughter of children — a new generation free from violence. And the welcome we were given couldn’t have been warmer or more hospitable. Rwanda soon hopes to be known for its gorillas, not its genocide.

WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR NEXT EUROPE VACATION &

RECEIVE 5,000 BONUS SEARS CLUB™POINTS!†DON’T PAY UNTIL 2010!* when you book on your Sears Card or SearsŽ MasterCardŽ

Visit Sears Travel in store or call 1-866-359-7327 for complete details. Flights are from Toronto via Air Transat. Prices shown are per person, double occupancy, lead room category. Taxes extra noted above. Space & prices subject to availability and change without notice. For full descriptions refer to the 20092010 Italy, Spain Greece brochure. Transat Holidays is a division of Transat Tours Canada Inc., and is registered as a travel wholesaler in Ontario (Reg. no 50009486) with ofďŹ ces at 191 The West Mall, Suite 800, Etobicoke, ON M9C 5K8. SEARS TRAVEL: †Applies to new Europe cruise or vacation package bookings only, on a minimum purchase of $1200 or more per person, made by May 31, 2009, with participating suppliers, on your Sears Card or SearsÂŽ MasterCardÂŽ. Some restrictions apply. * For new bookings made by May 31, 2009 with participating suppliers. Some restrictions apply. See Sears Travel in stores or call 1-866-359-7327 for complete details. Š2009 Sears Canada Inc. d.b.a. Sears Travel Service. Ont. Reg.#2264141. 290 Yonge St. Suite 700, Toronto ON, M5B 2C3.

Jeremy Thompson is an anchorman for Sky News.

SUMMER 2009 DEPARTURES WR/RQGRQ*ODVJRZ(GLQEXUJK Exeter, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Dublin, Shannon flights one way, exc taxes from

INSTANTLY REDEEM YOUR SEARS CLUB™ POINTS

99

$

1-866-815-5194

www.canadianaffair.ca

&+,/'',6&28176Â&#x2021;35(0,80&/8%&/$6683*5$'(6Â&#x2021;0267*(1(5286(&2120</(*52208372´Â&#x2021;/($7+(56($76Â&#x2021;6($7%$&.79Âś6(216(/(&7(')/,*+76) Lowest fare shown, subject to availability. Prices exclude taxes & surcharges. Taxes $156. Fares are one way based on roundtrip travel. Available for selected dates & routes from Apr-June 2009. Fares are one way based on roundtrip travel. Terms & Conditions apply. Reg in BC #32410.

Profile for Metro International

USA (Page 1)  

a garden. Ride your bike. Remem- ber the oceans, the bees, the worms — they are your neighbours ... and our heroes. Albert Einstein famousl...

USA (Page 1)  

a garden. Ride your bike. Remem- ber the oceans, the bees, the worms — they are your neighbours ... and our heroes. Albert Einstein famousl...

Profile for metroint
Advertisement