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Currency

Leeds, United...
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Currency

Hi All,

We're heading out to Rwanda in September for 4 nights and then onto Kenya for 4 nights. I was just wondering whether US Dollars are best to take or the local currency?

I presume if its local currency then we would have to order these in? Any idea how long this would take (we live in England).

Finally, we are trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and going on Safari in Kenya, does anyone have any advice on what we may need to take (i.e. things that we may overlook that will come in handy).

Thanks for any help we get :-)

Kampala
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1. Re: Currency

Both francs and USD are fine. There are several Forex beaus in Kigali

For the gorilla trek, take with you; Trekking boots, rain coats as it will be rainy season, a well charged Digital camera that is flash free, some money for tipping the porters and Game rangers/safari guides. And may be packed lunch inform of snacks and Drinking water. Hiking sticks can be purchased from the park headquarters.

Avila Beach...
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2. Re: Currency

It was recommended that I purchase local currency in Rwanda which I did (through Forex, as my ATM card would not work), but I found that USD was accepted, and typically preferred, everywhere. On the gorilla trek bring garden gloves to protect your hands as you're trekking through the thorny vegetation. Hiking sticks were provided free of charge.

Cape Town Central...
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3. Re: Currency

I would take both USD and local currency - you can always exchange your USD at the airport if you're worried about having to order in. I find that while USD is accepted at most tourist places, if you want to buy things from local markets, restaurants, etc, it's easier to have local. Also, just a heads up - you can't exchange your fancs in Kenya so if you have any left over, make sure you exchange them before leaving.

San Francisco...
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192 posts
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4. Re: Currency

Someone else on trip advisor mentioned getting gloves at the initiation of the trek. Was this your experience or did everyone bring their own?

Did you use altitude meds at all? Is there any reason to?

If I just bring hiking sneakers (not necessarily water proof and not above my ankle), how terrible will that be? Is it just muddy or do you walk through inches of water?

The weather is showing 70 degrees in the capital at midnight. Does it get very cold at night up in the trekking area?

Thanks!

Avila Beach...
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5. Re: Currency

Hello fellow Californian,

I brought old cheap gardening gloves from home so they could be tossed after the trek if need be. I was very glad to have them. I had waterproof hiking shoes (not high boots) and they were fine. I don't think sneakers are recommended. It was not considered the rainy season when I was there (end of July) and yet it did rain and it was very damp. The ground was slippery. Our group ended up not having to hike very far but I spoke with others who had very steep longer hikes and were slipping all over. It was pretty cold at night at the mountain lodge - very different altitude than Kigali. Can't speak for altitude meds - I did not take them and found the uphill trekking challenging, but I was also pretty exhausted having just traveled for several days. I also was challenged when hiking the craters in Tanzania, and I'm fairly certain that was due to the alititude, as similar hikes have never bothered me before. Everyone's different.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Currency

Thank you!

How much money did you bring for tips and do you have any guidance for how much to give whom? Did you use USD or francs?

Okay I am going to pick up some gloves today.

Still going back and forth on the boots. My sneakers are hiking sneakers so they should be okay for the skipping. Just not clear on how wet it really is. Were your feet (or those of the other group with whom you spoke) actually immersed in water?

Good to know it got really cold. Need to think about what that means clothing wise. How bundled up were you at night? I am definitely a Californian and get cold easily:-)

Avila Beach...
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9 reviews
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7. Re: Currency

In terms of weather I can only speak for being there at the end of July - best to ask your tour operator. Layers worked well. I stayed at the Mountain Gorilla Lodge and there were both heaters and a fireplace in my room. I don't know that you will end up in several inches of water but I think it's very likely you could walk through several inches of mud. A majority of people wore gaiters on the trek and had rain gear. I did not want to lug a rain jacket so I had a small disposable one and it wasn't great - made a lot of noise for one thing. It was needed tho.

There was a lot of tipping involved. I believe I tipped a total of $45 for the gorilla trek and $35 for the golden monkeys. The following was recommended to me: $20 for the lead guide, $5 per tracker (there are 3-4), $10 for the porter (I gave mine $10 and he didn't look particularly happy). There may also be an assistant and there are rangers. At the lodge tips were expected for everything - lighting the fire, cleaning your shoes, etc.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Currency

Thanks!!!!

San Francisco...
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117 reviews
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9. Re: Currency

Thanks again for the help! Trip was fantastic! As you mentioned, there was a lot of tipping to be done. I thought I brought enough based on my calculations but I wound up having to also hit an ATM while there. For future readers..

-trek guide:$30 (most say $20 min)

-porter (best spend ever!): $20 (min $10)

-trackers: $5 each. There were 2 for the monkeys and 3 for the gorillas. Most in my group didn't tip the trackers

-hotel fire maker: $5/day

-general hotel tips: $5/ day

-dancing/drumming group: $5

-agency guide/driver: I used my own judgement but was fairly generous

-community tour guide:$20

-genocide museum: can't remember if I did $10 or $20

Avila Beach...
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10. Re: Currency

You're back already! Glad you had a great trip!