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Gorillas - Late Jan/Early Feb - Good Time?

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Sep 22nd, 2007, 02:25 AM
  #1
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Gorillas - Late Jan/Early Feb - Good Time?

I am a little late getting started on planning a trip to Rwanda for late January or early February 2008. I had read there are two dry periods which is confusing to me. Is this one of them?
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Sep 22nd, 2007, 06:49 AM
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Always-
Supposedly it is. The other is July-Sept. However, I've been to Rwanda quite a few times, in Jan/Feb and only once has it NOT rained on me.

Remember, the volcanoes are part of a rainforest and that's exactly what it does.

The weather there is unpredictable and as one scientist told me, they can have four seasons in one day. Sometimes the showers only last a few minutes, sometimes, they can last several hours/days. Sometimes you have cloud cover, sometimes you don't.

I have stayed for more than a week and it's rained almost daily. And it can rain on one volcano and not the others. It's gotten more unpredictable in the last couple of years though.

Just be prepared by carrying a rainjacket or poncho and if you're bringing a camera, make sure you have something to cover it with in case it rains while you're trekking.

It's hard to put into words the feeling you get when seeing and spending time with the gorillas. Each time I go, I'm just as excited as the last. They are wonderful, majestic animals. Many other Africa fodorites have been to see them as well. You will have an experience of a lifetime.

How many treks are you doing? If you'd like to share your itinerary with us, we'd love to see it.
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Sep 22nd, 2007, 09:43 AM
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At this point I was planning two gorilla treks and one for the golden monkeys. I am still considering whether I should do more treks or consider other activities in Rwanda.

I was in Uganda for a couple of weeks a few years ago and visited Bwindi, QE, Kibale, Murchison, etc. Since I make quite a few trips to Africa the game viewing at Akagera does not seem to make alot of sense.
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Sep 22nd, 2007, 09:46 AM
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If you have money and stamina for more gorilla trips, I would do more. But 2 gorillas and a golden monkey is a good plan.

How about Nyungwe for chimps or colobus monkeys? I have not gone there.
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Sep 22nd, 2007, 02:01 PM
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I have chased the chimps at several locations in Uganda and as most here would seem to indicate they are even harder and more elusive at Nyungwe. I am seriously considering the Colobus Monkeys. As you would guess, once you are in country you might as well make the most of it.
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Sep 22nd, 2007, 07:10 PM
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From what I understand the rainy season has the benefit of clearing the haze, and therefore providing clear and dramatic views of the hills and volcanoes. But hiking will certainly be more difficult.

I would go to Nyugnwe. Not only for the chimpanzees, but because it is a spectacular forest the likes of which you will see in very few places in the world.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 10:12 AM
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I went in January and it didn't rain but was muddy and overcast at times. As divewop says - it's changeable. Suggest you do as many gorilla treks as you can afford. We did the golden monkey trek too. It was good fun but the golden monkeys are hard to follow. Worth it for the experience but don't expect to see them too closely.
I did a chimp trek too but like the golden monkeys we didn't have a great view but we did enjoy the experience and the noises the chimps made were great.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 10:45 AM
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If I might ask. What was the difficulty of the Golden Monkey trekking vice that of the Gorillas?
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 10:51 AM
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My experience with the golden monkeys is that they have always been closer in and an easier trek than the gorillas. But don't quote me on that and it also doesn't mean you won't still get dirty and/or muddy depending on the weather and where they're located.

If I'm combining the monkeys with the gorillas like you're doing, I like to trek to the monkeys first to use that as a chance to acclimate to the tougher gorilla treks.

Hopefully, others will add what their experience has been.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Shorter trek, same terrain for the golden monkeys on my one golden monkey visit.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:22 PM
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I did the gorilla trek in Rwanda mid February 2007 and the weather was good. The trek was a little muddy and I did take off my long sleeve shirt about mid way into the trip...and therefore subjected myself to a few nettle stings! My only regret was I wish I would have done more then 1 trek. I agree with the others, do as many as you can!
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Sep 24th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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I am in contact with Volcano Safaris. They seem very responsive. Can I charge batteries or a laptop at their Virunga Lodge?
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Sep 24th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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We stayed at the Virunga Lodge this past January. They have outlets for charging things in the bar/restaurant areas.

Volcanoes Safaris did our whole Rwanda/Uganda trip earlier this year. They did an excellent job, and the service and accommodations at their lodges were uniformly excellent. We stayed at the Virunga Lodge, Mt. Gahinga Lodge and the Bwindi Lodge and all three were great.

Responding to your question about seasons, Lynn and Sandi have already given you accurate information. We visited in early January and had four rain-free treks (two in Rwanda, two in Uganda). But there is no way to predict the weather there, as it is a rain forest and therefore can rain pretty much whenever. The best way to protect your trip from weather-related problems is to schedule more treks.

Chris
www.pbase.com/cwillis
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Sep 25th, 2007, 02:15 AM
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Yes, you can charge batteries in the lounge area at the Virunga Lodge.
Golden monkey trek was similar terrain to the gorillas and the trek itself wasn't difficult but the monkeys tend to stay high in the trees and move around quite a bit (and they are fast!)Whereas 3 times out 4 on seeing the gorillas they were hanging out and eating and stayed in one area on the ground or low in the trees.
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