gorilla treks


Apr 26th, 2004, 08:55 AM
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gorilla treks

Can anyone recommend a good tour operator for a gorilla trek in Rwanda? Also, I was thinking about going in October - does anyone have any suggestions as to whether there are more optimal times to go? Any tips, insight, etc would be most appreciated. Thanks!
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Apr 26th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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I went gorilla trekking in Bwindi (Uganda) and PNV (Rwanda) last August with Volcanoes Safaries. I prepared a trip report which, if I can find it, I'll top so you can read it. Wild Frontiers also seemed like a good operator.

But the operator is really just a means of transportation between lodges and the park. Once you arrive at PNV, you will be handed off to park staff and will go hiking with them. Your operator does not go on the trek with you.
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Apr 26th, 2004, 01:41 PM
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thanks for the info and the trip report...
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Apr 26th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Thit Cho,

Thanks. I mostly missed your trip report when it first appeared but thanks for topping it for the rest of us to enjoy.

I would definitely like to go on a future gorilla trek but I do have concerns about travelling so far for what amounts to a 1 hour encounter with the gorillas. While I believe that it would be VERY INTENSE to be able to get so close to the Gorillas, making eye contact the whole time and wondering what they are thinking (who is that ugly guy with the camera?) and possibly even have one touch me, it does seem like quite a journey for that one hour interaction.

A few months removed from your trip now, I would like to know your response on such concerns from someone that may be considering a similar trip in the future. Thanks.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 05:52 AM
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Roccco, I tend to agree and would not have traveled that far for a single encounter. Most visitors seemed to trek one time, either in Bwindi or PNV, but I figured if I was going so far I wanted to visit both parks and make two gorilla treks.

I also wanted to visit a new national park, and I spent two days in Queen Elizabeth NP, which is supposed to be the Uganda's best national park. The wildlife is not as abundant as in Kenya or Tanzania, but its a good park to visit, and Mweya is a nice lodge in an incredible location.

If I had more time in Uganda, I would have also visited Kibale where you can trek to see chimps -- we didn't have time.

Finally, you could also add a short visit to Kenya like I did. Having previously been to Masai Mara and Amboseli, I decided to visit either Tsavo or Samburu, and as you can see, I elected to visit Samburu because it has all sorts of different animals. I wouldn't rank the park as highly as Mara or Amboseli, but its an excellent park.

In a few years, perhaps the game will substantially increase in Queen Elizabeth NP and it will return to its former glory days when it was one of the best parks in Africa (Idi Amin and his troops decimated the wildlife but its beginning to return and multiply).

All in all, it was a long journey, but very worthwhile.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 06:07 PM
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I went to Uganda last September and the trip included Bwindi, QENP, Kibale, and Murchison Falls. The gorilla trek in Bwindi was an unforgettable experience and, while it seems like a long way to go to spend 1 hour with the gorillas, I can't begin to describe the thrill of being so close to these endangered creatures. The trek was extremely difficult, though, so you should be in good physical shape. There are no trails or switchbacks and it's slippery, there were huge biting ants and thorny bushes that you instinctively grab while hiking. We were either hiking straight up, or slipping and sliding downhill. In other words, it was a bitch! I have heard that the gorillas in Rwanda are more accessible.
The chimp trek in Kibale was very easy in comparison. But, the chimps were way up in the trees, only observable with binoculars. It's a beautiful forest, though, with magnificent butterflies.
I could go on and on.....
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