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Write to us on [email protected] or send us a message via the form on our contact page.
Rwanda: +250 (0) 252 502 452
Uganda: +256 (0) 414 346 464
A: I grew up in the Northern region, not far from the lodge but now I travel to Uganda quite a lot to all of the other Volcanoes lodges for work. In 1989 I also travelled to Belgium as a trainee surveyor for 9 months – it was far too cold! I know that I will always live in Rwanda though.
Q: Did you always want to be a surveyor? Is it a family trade?
A: Growing up I always liked practical jobs and at school I loved mathematics. I wanted to do something that combined both of those things. At the age of 22 I started work as a trainee surveyor. My father was a businessman so it doesn't run in the family, but I was lucky because my father was always very supportive of me.
Q: How did you come to work at Volcanoes Safaris?
A: Before working for Volcanoes I was working with the government service. Then in 2003 I met Praveen in Ruhengeri by chance and he contracted me to build a road to the plot where Virunga now sits. The contract was for one month. After that, I started working full-time and we started to build Virunga Lodge.
Q: Is the lodge very different now, ten years on?
A: There have been a lot of changes over the years. We started with just two bandas. We were experimenting with the building techniques and materials. We have changed the eco-sans toilets to flush toilets, the bathrooms have been upgraded, we now have 10 bandas and the building materials have also changed. We learned a lot over the years – which floor timbers work best, how to make a good roof, how to make the finishing look professional. We have much more experience.
Q: What do you like most about working for VS?
A: I like working for an international company, which lets me travel to different places. I always like going to Uganda and I work very well with the Ugandans when I am there, but Rwanda will always be my home.
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.