Slow and Sweaty Travel

Article from the series: Attractions of Rwanda, western Uganda and eastern DR Congo

24mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO800

This week I have the (dis)pleasure of introducing the next level of our August theme, the regional attractions — hiking! I have a love-hate relationship with it. When I’m slogging my way up a particularly tough mountain, cameras and other equipment weighing way too much for my comfort, I do tend to question my sanity. Most of the time, though, I love it, and the Gorilla Highlands region has some incredible trekking routes.

The classic ones are the many (mostly) day-trips up and down the various Virunga volcanoes, all of which provide spectacular views as well as exciting flora and fauna. This can be done in all three countries, organised through the different national park authorities. I’ve hiked a good number of them, some of them more than once. Here’s Izy on the way to Mount Karisimbi, the tallest of the Virungas at 4,507 m/14,787 ft, where all but the fittest climbers need to spend the night camping on the mountain …

There are plenty of other hikes, though, connecting various lakes, national parks and communities within and across borders. Here, walking can essentially take the place of motorised transport: slow travel at its finest. The upcoming GH Mega Trek is a good example of what’s possible, connecting the Gorilla Highlands Trails our team has created with the Congo Nile Trail on the Lake Kivu shores.

This is a travel trend we should be encouraging, as it allows for more meaningful interactions with both people and environment, a smaller ecological footprint and a move away from the hectic highlight-hopping that has come to dominate how we opt to experience the world in recent decades. The extra bonuses are the overnights you get to enjoy in villages, in tents pitched in family compounds or next to guesthouses.

Don’t miss our extensive interview with Marcus and head to his website for even more.