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Trip Report Trip Report: Rwanda and Tanzania in Feb 2007

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Went to Tanzania and Rwanda starting February 11th through the 24th. I started planning the trip back in June. As some of you might recall, we were doing this trip for our 20th wedding anniversary. Frankly, I didn’t even think about Africa for this trip initially (I know, how could that be?) but my TA suggested it and the rest is history. Here was my original itinerary:

Day 1: Long flight from SFO to Boston, to Zurich to Nairobi. Husband travels a lot, so I cashed in FF miles for business class.

Day 2:
Norfolk Hotel.

Day 3:
Jomo Kenyatta Airport for Kenya Airways #474 at 8:00am, arrive Kigali at 10:00am.
Volcanoes Safaris takes over from here. Visit the Genocide Memorial in Kigali. Stay at Gorillas Nest Hotel.

Day 4:
Go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans. Back to Kigali and stay at Hotel des Mille Collines.

Day 5 and 6:
Coastal Travel shared charter from Kigali to Manyara Airstrip departing 06:00am arriving at 11:30 into Manyara Airstrip. Swala Camp.

Day 7 and 8:
Kuro Airstrip for the 09:05am Air Excel scheduled flight departing for Manyara Airstrip. Upon arrival at 09:20am and met by Ngorongoro Crater Lodge vehicle and transferred by road to the lodge, approx 1 ½ hours. Private vehicle safari.

Day 9 thru 12:
Manyara Airstrip for the 08:40am Regional Air scheduled flight departing for Seronera Airstrip. Tanzania Under Canvas. Rocco suggested I do 4 nights in the Serengeti.

Day 13:
Seronera Airstrip for 11:00am Regional Air schedule flight departing via Kilimanjaro International Airport and then on to Wilson Airport. Day room in Nairobi. At 4:30pm a visit to Daphne Sheldrick Center for a visit to my adopted elephant, Chyulu. Head to the airport about 9:00pm that night for my 12:20am flight home. I did also rent a day room in the Zurich airport (I read it on the board, but can’t remember whose great suggestion it was, but thank you!) since I have a 6-hour layover. Arrive back to SFO at 8:20 pm that same day.

Books I read that I found fascinating:
-Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey: Saw the movie, but the book was a good refresher on the plight of the mountain gorillas
-No One Loved Gorillas More by Camilla De La Bedoyere: A great find on Amazon. I bought this used book and was so excited about what I found inside. This is a short story of Dian Fossey built around the letters she wrote. The pictures are beautiful!
-Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza: An account of her life hidden away during the genocide.
-Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire: Very detailed book about the genocide.
-Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries by Nolting: Good book to read about the different wildlife areas
-Northern Tanzania by Bradt
The Safari Companion by Estes
-Tanzania and Kenya Insight Guides
-Tanzania and Kenya, Fodors
-Ghosts of Rwanda by PBS Frontline: Not a book, but a DVD about the genocide.

Packing:
Thank you LindaS for your packing list, which I used as a guideline, except for the stapler J. Here is what I packed:

Clothing:
3 Buzz off zip off pants
3 long sleeve shirts
3 short sleeve shirts
4 pairs socks
Assorted undergarments
1 bathing suit
1 tennis shoes
1 sandal
1 sweatshirt (never used and left it behind)
1 fleece pull over
1 pj’s
1 baseball cap
1 set gloves (for nettles in Rwanda)
Bandanas
Rain poncho
Flight outfit (pants and a t-shirt)

I sprayed my non-buzz off clothing with the spray repellant that lasts for 6 weeks. I used the laundry services of the camps, so I always had clean cloths.

Other:
-8 power bars. because I can become a challenge (my description, not by husbands…he might describe it with more flowery adjectives) to be with if I go without food for too long. Ended up eating almost all of them.

-4 books bought at Goodwill for $.99 each to leave along the way

-All the toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush…you get the picture)

-All the medical stuff suggested on this board and more!

-The idea of packing cloths and stuff in 2 gallon zip lock bags is a brilliant idea. This made it easier for us to pack and to find what we needed.

FLIGHT TO KENYA

Flights went just fine and arrived in Nairobi at about 7pm Monday night. CCAfrica was there to meet us and whisked us to the Norfolk Hotel. Since I was so excited to be in Africa, I insisted on a cocktail and some snacks in the bar area of the hotel, before going to bed. The room at the Norfolk was outdated, but very large. I was happy to have a hot shower and a big bed!

The next morning, we were picked up and taken back to the airport for our flight to Rwanda.

NEXT, RWANDA.

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