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How many days would you stay?

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I'm in the midst of planning a trip to Tanzania and then on to Rwanda for gorilla trekking. I've gotten great suggestions from some of you on this forum for other things to do while there (much appreciated).

I Just watched a travel show on PBS tonight that featured Rwanda. Now I'm even more excited at the thought of this portion of the trip! The gorilla trek they showed was awesome, but I also really enjoyed the beauty of the county (people, landscape and culture).

So now I am wondering how many days should I stay there? I plan on 2 gorilla treks, as well as a visit to the "Never Again" memorial and the cultural village that atravellyn suggested (cannot recall the exact name, but it was featured on the program tonight too!). I'd also like to visit a school and/or medical clinic if possible.

My question to you experienced travellers---How many days do you think I need to stay in Rwanda to take all of this in? Would I need a day for each of the outings I mentioned above? After viewing the program tonight, I think I would love to spend more days than I had originally planned, but gotta take finances and missing my dog into consideration!!!!

How many days would you spend in Rwanda?

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    Your finances and dog comment gets to the heart of the question.

    Never Again Memorial is done while in Kigali. If you allow 2 hours for the museum, you can have a good visit. Be prepared to be very moved and perhaps depart in tears. You can see if the timing works best upon arrival or before boarding your departure plane. The memorial is open almost every day, with just a few closures.

    The Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is done after a gorilla visit, even if you are still wearing those clothes. I asked specifically if my gorilla tracking attire (a little dirty and sweaty) would be considered rude and was assured it was fine. The location of the village means it is more conveniently located to some gorilla groups than others, so you may want to keep that in mind. But you can get there from anywhere in Kinigi where the Ranger Station is location. The village visit lasts about 90 minutes.

    I stopped at a school after one of the visits too and spent about 40 minutes there. If you visit a school it is a nice idea to bring some supplies and a cash donation is always appreciated.

    So the memorial and the village, plus a school visit are easily incorporated into most existing itineraries without adding additional days. If the gorilla tracking happened to take all day, then the afternoon plans might not work out.

    If you wanted to visit other parks in Rwanda, then you'd need some extra days. I also went to Nyungwe where you track colobus monkeys and chimps, plus other primates. Nyungwe is about 5 hours from Kigali and about 7 hours from PNV. About 3 nights minimum is needed here.

    Akagera is savanna, brush, and lakes and is about 2.5 hours from Kigali. Some people stay just one night, but 2 nts is common. The boat rides there are a high point.

    Nyungwe is unique, don't know where else you can find troops of hundreds of Angolan Colobus monkeys. Not that many other places for chimps, either. While I found Akagera to be very captivating and hopeful with so much potential, there are many other options throughout Africa for safaris in savanna and on water.

    You may wish to run these options by your dog for his/her input.

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    Can't answer your questions, but IMPORTANT - recent advise is that the price of Gorilla Permits is expected to increase to minimum $750 (down a bit from earlier expected increase of $1,000).

    Don't recall when you plan to travel, but do take this into consideration and verify with your tour outfitter.

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    Thanks for your responses

    atravellyn: I think I'll limit the extras on this leg of the trip to the gorillas, Never Again Memorial, the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village and hopefully a school. How long do the gorilla tracking outings typically last? I imagine it varies, but is there a usual time range, like anywhere from 3-6 hrs?

    Akagera and Nyungwe sound tempting, but Boki is telling me to save them for another trip.

    What kind of supplies do the children need the most at the school? Pens? Pencils? Notebooks? I'd like to take something practical and useful, and also something useful and fun (colored markers?). Who should the recipient of the monetary donation to the school be? Do they prefer USD or ??

    Sandi: I did just learn of the permit price bump to $750/day, but then was also informed that if I paid for it before June I could still get it for $500/day. I haven't secured the deal yet, so am keeping my fingers crossed this works out.

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