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Witness one of the world's most powerful and awe-inspiring creatures in Rwanda's acclaimed national park, Parc des Volcans, on a high-energy gorilla trekking safari.
During this specialized African safari tour, visitors have the opportunity to hike up one of the six Virunga Volcanoes to come in contact with the giant mountain gorillas of Rwanda. The lush terrain provides an enchanting atmosphere for gorilla trekking, where guests will pass through bamboo forests and rainforests in search of this noble creature. While traveling up the slopes of Parc des Volcans, travelers on a Rwanda safari tour can witness a variety of other primate species, as well as an abundance of birds.
The territory of present-day Rwanda has been green and fertile for many thousands of years, even during the last ice age, when part of Nyungwe Forest was fed by the alpine ice sheets of the Rwenzoris. It is not known when the country was first inhabited, but it is thought that humans moved into the area shortly after that ice age, either in the Neolithic period, around ten thousand years ago, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC. The earliest inhabitants of the region are generally thought to have been the Twa, a group of Pygmy forest hunters and gatherers, whose descendants still live in Rwanda today.
Archaeological excavations conducted from the 1950s onwards have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early iron age settlers. These later groups were found to have manufactured artifacts, including a type of dimpled pottery, iron tools and implements.
Hundreds of years ago, the Twa were partially supplanted by the immigration of a Bantu group, the ancestors of the agriculturalist ethnic group, today known as the Hutus. The Hutu began to clear forests for their permanent settlements. The exact nature of the third major immigration, that of a predominantly pastoralist people known as Tutsi, is highly contested. Oral histories of the Kingdom of Rwanda often trace the origins of the Rwandan people back nearly 10,000 ago to a legendary king named Gihanga, to whom metalworking and other modernizing technologies are also commonly attributed.
By the 15th century, many of the Bantu-speakers, including both Hutu and Tutsi, had organized themselves into small states. According to Ogot, these included at least three. The oldest state, which has no name, was probably established by the Renge lineages of the Singa clan and covered most of modern Rwanda, besides the northern region. The Mubari state of the Zigaba (Abazigaba) clan also covered an extensive area. The Gisaka state in southeast Rwanda was powerful, maintaining its independence until the mid-19th century. However, the latter two states are largely unmentioned in contemporary discussion of Rwandan civilization.