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gorilla trekking

Adelaide
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gorilla trekking

Hi

Going to see the mountain gorillas has always been a dream of mine and well have decided 2012 i need to make it happen!

The one main question i have is Uganda vs Rwanda for best trek/s. I did read once that the treks are often longer if doing from Uganda than rwanda. Is this true generally? I would also like to see Dianne Fossey grave so i am swaying towards Rwanda.

Also different tour companies seem to use everything from hotels to lodges to camping. Any general comments here would help also.

I would be booking from Australia so any advice from anyone on tour companies from this end would be useful. I have been looking at Peregrine, Go2 africa, kumuka. Anyone done gorilla treks with any of these or other suggestions?

Many thanks

Australia
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1. Re: gorilla trekking

I have booked with Churchill, a local Ugandan company. Please get some quotes from local agents in Uganda or Rwanda, the money will stay in the Country you visit. You will find if booking with an Australian Company they will use a Rwandan/Ugandan company themselves. I will give you more info when I return (just over 3 weeks till I fly out) I will be doing 1 trek in Uganda and 1 in Rwanda. I couldnt make my mind up..lol. It has been something a have also dreamed about, so I figured Im there why only do it once!

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: gorilla trekking

You'll end up paying about twice as much as you would by booking through a local operator if you go with the companies you've mentioned so thats another really good reason to go local. You'll also get more flexibility with your itinerary. I looked at the 9 day itinerary on offer from Peregrine at $AUS6100. You would get a custom-made itinerary (just you and your driver, if travelling alone) with moderate-luxury accommodation for that price.

There are lots of local operators that have been reviewed on here and you could start your planning by checking a few of them out along with their itineraries to give you some ideas.

I can't comment on Rwanda as I've only been to Uganda but the Gorilla trekking in both countries seems to be fairly similar. Uganda has the added bonus of your 'classic' African safaris experiences. You can be at Queen Elizabeth NP spotting tree-climbing lions one day and in the depths of the Bwindi forest that night waking up to your gorilla trek the next morning. Rwanda has Dian Fosseys grave.

The first time I booked a trip to Uganda I was too scared to transfer my hard earned $$$ to a local operator directly so I found the local operator that I liked the look of (it was Kazinga tours) and used an Australian agent to book it for me. I paid about $1000 for that peace of mind but knowing what I know now, I should have just paid the money directly to Kazinga. The agent I used knew of them in Uganda so that was reassuring and I said upfront that I expected him to add on his cut to the prices that Kazinga was quoting.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: gorilla trekking

The Gorillas in both countries are technically different sub species and you can see the difference.

The terrain is also different. some folks say Uganda is the tougher but it is not as straightforward as that. I can say that getting to Dian's grave is tough!

Try both like Mgonshi if you can.

Do use an in country operator though. Lots to choose from and you do get a proper safari too on the back of the trip.

Good luck.

Adelaide
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4. Re: gorilla trekking

Hi Guys

Thankyou for info. Quite valuable. Ngonshi thanks a lot. I have had a look at the 'kazinga' website and what they have on offer looks quite good. Although they quote twin share ( i would be solo) i figure even if i had to pay double i would still come out $1000 or more better off. I liked that they had 2 price brackets depending on what your budget is..which i haven't decided on yet. This is the one experience i wouldn't want to scrimp on but i do like value for my money. Also as all aussies would know the costs of flights from our remote land can be expensive.

Still haven't worked out Rwanda vs Uganda but your comments were good that in Uganda there are other activites as well, which was what i was thinking also. But i do really want to see Dian and digit's grave so thanks Mfuwe for the heads up that it is a tough trek if i do that.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: gorilla trekking

The single supplement with Kazinga is generally no more than $US500 depending on the tour. Did you see their 15 day Uganda/Rwanda trip that includes an optional visit to Fossey's grave? Upgrades are always possible too, for example the trip quotes accommodation at Red chilli rest camp at Murchison Falls but I'm sure you could upgrade to Paraa lodge even if you were part of an organised tour. Most of the local operators can offer that sort of flexibility or even a custom made tour with exactly what you are after.

As for flights, I've just booked a flight for this December from Melbourne to Entebbe with Emirates and it was $2500. Thai airways to Bangkok and then Ethiopian airlines via Addis Ababa was cheaper but I went that option last time and never again! It's only a few hundred cheaper too but twice the travel time and not the best airline for a long haul flight. Thai airways economy felt like first class in comparison!

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: gorilla trekking

Glad to help.

A word about single supplement. this of course only refers to the Accommodations, i.e. Two or more pax but one wanting to be alone for various reasons.

When solo travelling you will also be 'stung' for the full charge of Car/Driver etc., as there is nobody to share it out between. Does this make sense?

It is not a deal breaker as the cost of this at say $250 per day only hikes up the solo price by $125.

But if value for money is an object then this is certainly the way to go. Your own car and driver and no arguments.

Amber has suggested Churchill and I would suggest you contact them also www.churchillsafaris.com You may find it usefull to know this an all girl managed outfit which solo ladies find reassuring.

Errol, United...
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7. Re: gorilla trekking

gypsygirl_8, I was in Uganda in February and had an amazing time. We were taken care of by Magic Safaris (http://www.magic-safaris.com/) and we would highly recommend them. Our guide was called Moses and he was a star. A true gentleman, very quiet and polite, but the best laugh in Uganda :o)

Have you thought about the other aspects of your itinerary around the gorilla trekking? We did a ten day tour of the south west and it was super. We landed in Entebbe, headed West to Kibale Primates Lodge, then on to Katara Lodge in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, on to Bwindi and then to Mihingo Lodge for two nights before heading back to Entebbe for our departure. You can see my reviews on here of the places we stayed if you want some ideas.

We tracked the Habinyanja "H" Group and it took us three and a half hours to reach them. The trail started on a steep red/clay dusty track up to a village and then continued through a banana, coffee and tea plantation on a steep hillside - and that was even before we reached the forest itself. Once inside the forest, we had a very steep descent followed by a final climb and a final descent again to find the group in one of the valleys. At the bottom of the hills, there were large pools of thick mud and a small stream, which is how we got so muddy, and in general the forest floor is covered in a thick leafy mulch and vines that can easily trap your feet.

I hired two porters, a 'push-me-pull-me' team if you like and I am certainly glad that I did. We also had sticks provided by our lodge and wore gloves, although we found that these were not as essential as they were when we were in Kibale tracking chimps.

The one hour experience with the gorillas was simply breathtaking. 21 in the group including the Silverback and perfect lighting and location. We were incredibly lucky and the walk there and back paled to insignificance when compared to what we encountered.

Hope this helps,

Edited: 28 April 2011, 15:35
Adelaide
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8. Re: gorilla trekking

Thankyou so much Superali99. The details of your experience were terrific and extremely helpful. I will check out your lodge reviews to give me some more ideas. I bet it was amazing to see them! I would love to see the chimps also. I still haven't decided rwanda vs Uganda but am swaying toward Uganda.

Everyone has been just so helpfulon TA providing me with great details.

Many thanks to everyone.

Gypsygirl8

Cape Town Central...
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9. Re: gorilla trekking

Hi there

Just returned from trekking in Rwanda and Uganda respectively in April. We used Travelust based in Uganda, great service and they went to a lot of effort to accommodate our requirements. Our accommodation was also really lovely everywhere we stayed, and the service was exceptional.

Rwanda trekking was very easy and we saw the Hirwa Group (means Lucky in Rwandan) - the whole trek took 2 hours and 1 hour of this was spent with the Gorillas. Best part here was that we saw twins (apparently there is only 1 other set of twins in the world, so this was a very special sighting).

Bwindi (Uganda) was a lot harder in my opinion, and the forest a lot denser, but again we only trekked for 3 hours of which 1 hour was spent with the Gorillas. The Gorillas where a lot more active and playful and we spent quite a bit of time chasing after them, but this was great fun and felt like real trekking.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: gorilla trekking

YoliPix,

This is an interesting comparison, thanks!

Which group were you tracking in Bwindi?