Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > My experience in Rwanda and with the Gorillas

My experience in Rwanda and with the Gorillas


Aug 14th, 2007, 09:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 54
My experience in Rwanda and with the Gorillas

I just returned from 8 days in Rwanda where I went gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, and to Nyungwe National Park. I've posted my photos and thoughts on how to ensure you have the best trip possible. www.shahkala.com/rwanda.shtml

Feel free to ask me any questions while its still fresh in my mind. Rwanda and the gorilla trekking are fantastic and I can't recommend it more highly.
gshah18 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,895
Wow! Gorgeous photos and lots of great and useful info. Will be looking at this thread again in 2008 since I just had to cancel our Nov. gorilla trip-makes me all the more disappointed about not going this year.
moremiles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 295
Beautiful pictures. Did you have a guide with you? If not, did you encounter any problems or difficulties?
oceania is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,771
Great photos--thanks so much for sharing. the trip sounds fantastic--and seeing that little tiny baby is so neat--it's so cute!
schlegal1 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 119
Incredible organization and matter of fact sharing of your gorilla trekking experience. Your Rwanda notes and tips are definate savers! Thanks for taking time to make it a fabulous virtual journey for those of us at our desktops! The "watering" of your head was hilarious, however did you not scream out loud??
wildebeestus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 08:52 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
Great pictures and great report.

Your gorilla treks were wonderful. I wish someone had gotten a picture of you face to face with the gorillas!

And sounds like you had it tough in Nyungwe also.
waynehazle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Many thanks for your report and photos.
Photos - Good reminder about autofocus problem. Anytime there is tall grass, leaves, etc around the subject I go to manual focus. (Likely impossible with a lot of P&S cameras). Did you try using flash? Just a "little", maybe down about 1.5 stops. I'm not sure what the effect would be but perhaps it would fill in the dark faces a bit. Perhaps something for some one else to keep in mind and try. Easy to try both ways, with or without. Or, perhaps flash is not permitted with the gorillas? (Could be another problem with a P&S camera since most users do not know how to turn the flash on or off.)
I agree about the video, I use a Canon S2 or S3 for video and as backup. With still photos and short video clips you can put together a neat little DVD slide show to give to family and friends when they want to see photos. I use ProShow by Photodex to make such a DVD program.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 74
That is the best report and photo journalistic thiing I have seen. I have printed it all up to read later. We are so excited as leaving next week to Africa from Australia and doing the gorrilla trek in about 1 month. Doing Botswana at little mombo first then masai mara in kenya and after gorilla to entebbe to ngamba chim sanctauary. I am taking a lowepro all weather backpack with my slr camera lenses and video so wonder about getting a porter to carry it ---how do you organise it and can it be done and how much do you pay or tip. Also how do you chose your guide. posts have mentioned Francois. We are 55 yrs old and moderate fit so how tough is the trecking. We have garden gloves and do we need gaters on our legs.
Thanks for your great post
mooky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Wonderful! Thanks so much for this: the photos and the accompanying essay are something else. Pretty cool-looking mushrooms. What an experience--lucky you.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,417
gshah18, I really enjoyed reading about your visit to Rwanda. Great details and organization of info. Great pictures, too. Love the baby.

What amazing encounters you had with the gorillas! Both the 'wet head' and 'in your face' are priceless! I also had two brushes with a silverback on my trip in January and I am still in awe.

sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,417
Tom, they didn't allow flash when I was there.

Mooky - it sounds like you have quite a trip planned. When you arrive at the spot where you begin the trek they ask if you want a porter or not. There will be several porters available. You tip them at the end of the trek. I was told to tip $5. I tipped $10 one day. You don't have to pick your guide. They will divide you up in groups. If you want a specific guide (or gorilla group) you can request them and hope for the best. I had problems breathing at that altitude but I made it and I don't think I've heard of anyone not making it. Good luck!
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 15th, 2007, 09:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 40
What a wonderful report and incredible pictures. I leave in two days for a trek in Uganda. Your story of the female in your face sent chills through me. What an incredible experience. If only I could be so lucky!!!
I am even more excited (if that is at all possible) about the trek after reading about your experiences.

Thanks for sharing.

ndonna is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
Flash scares the gorillas.
waynehazle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 18th, 2007, 06:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 54
Hi all

thanks for your kind words about the report. Glad it has been helpful. Some answers to some of what I read:

NO FLASH - it's not allowed - if you have a point and shoot, make sure you know how to turn it off - else you are in for a scolding

There were many 50+ people doing the hikes. Reasonable fitness is what it takes. On the other hand, there was one very unfit (putting it mildly) girl who hadn't eaten since lunch the previous day and was in shorts that tried to make it up to Bisoke. Needless to say, she didn't make it anywhere close to the top.

I was on manual focus a lot - one thing that helps a lot is if your lens has 'limited' focus. Technically I'm not sure what it does, but you can set better telephoto lenses to only focus between 2.5 meters and infinity rather than the whole range. This helps tremendously when there are a lot of branches and leaves around your subject -provided that you are further than 2.5 meters away - and sometimes you're not!!!

I don't think you need gaitors unless you want to keep the bottom of your pants clean - and I'm not sure the point of this, because the rest of your pants are going to get dirty. There weren't any leeches.
gshah18 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 18th, 2007, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 875
Thank you for such a detailed report and for sharing so much useful informatio. The photos are absolutely breathtaking. Rwanda may have just moved to the top of my vacation to-do list.
Dana_M is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 26th, 2007, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You had some outstanding gorilla experiences. Watching the sit-on-you greeting must have been a little unnerving. I wonder what that gorilla who stuck her face in yours was thinking. Your chance encounter on the way up the volcano was fortunate.

Thanks for sharing the chimp tracking too. Interesting comment about the wet season offering more fruit so less moving around.

How nice you saw the twins. I'm glad they continue to thrive.

What a well rounded Rwanda trip you had. Beautiful photos, especially the baby gorillas.

atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:27 PM.