Obtaining Gorilla Permits?

Oct 11th, 2006, 10:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 174
Obtaining Gorilla Permits?

Okay, I am making progress. I am attempting to book my Rawanda leg myself. I have secured a reservation from the new Governor's lodge but have not heard anything from Kenya / Rawanda air, the hotels in Kigali / Ruhengeri nor found a way to check with the ORPTN. HOw does one try to get the Gorilla permits at ORPTN ? I have googled ORPTN and get nothing helpful. I am trying to follow the advice of everyone on the Gorilla/Kenya thread but???? I am stuck! Thank youfor helping!
13moons is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Here is the website.


Hope that helps!

jenn24 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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While I typically try to book lodging and flights myself, for some destinations, it may be easier to work with a local operator. If you are not looking for the absolute least expensive means of travel, you may want to contact an opertor who can arrange permits, transport and local lodging (I worked with Volcanoes Safaris, but there are several good operators). You can book your flights with a local travel agent (I think I booked mine with American Express). Personally, for the permits, I would save the hassle and contact a reputable, local operator.
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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On that other thread, Lucia mentioned that she booked her permits through ITT and they didn't add a mark up, and I believe Imelda hired a vehicle and driver through ITT. So you might want to contact the same agency and have them secure your permits and whatever else you need. Hopefully, one of them will be along shortly to give you the contact info.

For the air ticket, you can book over the phone with Kenya Airways in the US. Or if you're using a tour operator for your Kenya portion, they can book your Nairobi-Kigali ticket for you.

Good luck!
Patty is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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I think this is their website http://www.itt.co.rw/
Patty is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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While I did get 1 of my permits from ITT and there wasn't a markup, transferring the funds was a MAJOR hassle and ended up costing me a fair bit beyond the regular transfer fee as ITT's bank took out more than expected.

So you should email and CALL the ORPTN. Make sure you PAY for your permits at the time of your call as otherwise they may sell them to others. They are only secure once you have paid for them. This is their numbers and email address (250) 576514 or 573396 [email protected] They take Mastercard.

On the Kenya Air/Rwandair side. Are you in the US? If so, call this number 866-536-9224 and ask for Patsy Singh (if she's there). That is Kenya Air's office in NYC. Patsy can help you with tickets. Although to warn you if you purchase by credit card there is a 3% fee and you need to fill out paperwork or you can pay by bank check. I was nervous about all of this, and so used by credit card. It wall worked out very well and Patsy also hooked me up with GREAT seats!

In terms of making hotel reservations. You can get make a reservation at the Milles Collines, Intercontinental, or Novotel from the States and many on the website. I'm not sure about the other places.

For Ruhengeri, we stayed at the Hotel Muhabura. Their number is 571511. I would recommend staying there. It is comfortable, clean, safe, decent food and they manager is excellent. He arranged transport for us and looked after our bags all day while we were trekking.

If you want to visit Lake Kivu, you can go to Gisenyi (on the border of Goma, Congo). We stayed at the Palm Beach...which is a little run down. There is also the Kivu Sun which is gorgeous and around $120 per night. My personal preference is for Kibuye though. There you can stay at the Bethanie Guesthouse.

Let me know if you need any other help.

Making plans for Rwanda is different than many other countries...you kind of have to have faith in people's word. I had no proof before I left that my gorilla permits were actually going to be there or that I wasn't going to be told to pay more money. But it all worked out. There isn't corruption in Rwanda.

It also taught me a valuable lesson about how we in the West view things. It taught me to have more trust in people.

Lucia78 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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my two cents on kenya airways:

if you have a choice, please select the competition.

here is their record with me:

A. malindi-nairobi- canceled as i was departing for the airport

B. nairobi-entebbe- 4 hour delay- no warning, no explanation

C. kampala-entebbe - 7+ hour, connection missing delay. no explanation. that is not a typo. arrived to the airport 3am that morning, didn;t get to nairobi til noon. not to the coast til dark, was supposed to get to nairbi at 7am and the coast by 8:30am.

D. mombasa-nairobi - 5 hour delay.

someone explained that kenya airways focuses on its long haul international routes and that this happens all the time (this was airport personnel in nairobi and also fellow passengers who must fly them for business t/from entebbe.)

no doubt there are more people on this board who had great experiences, but i really don't think these are all coincidences.

please try to find a different carrier if you have tight timing on your trip.

kerikeri is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Just out of curiousity, if you already have a reservation at the new Governor's lodge, why do you need a hotel in Ruhengeri? Where is the Governor's lodge located?
Patty is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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Kerikeri, I've heard that too. But just so you know 13moons, your flight from London to Nairobi would be their long haul (which they are known to be better at) and your flight from Nairobi would actually be on Rwandair (not Kenya air).

The problem is that there really aren't other options from London. SNBrussels flies from Brussels. Ethiopian Air flies from Addis and that's pretty much it! Your best option is to book through Kenya Air who can arrange your ticket with Rwandair (their codeshare)
Lucia78 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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Kenya Airways also operates their own flights between Nairobi and Kigali as well as codeshare on the Rwandair flights. Between the two carriers, there are 2 daily flights.

When you look on the Kenya Airways website, flights with an "OP" next to it are codeshare flights operated by another carrier. If you click on flight details, it will tell you the operating carrier.

I believe 13moons is using FF miles to get to Nairobi on BA.
Patty is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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You can also buy your Nairobi<->Kigali tickets directly on the Kenya Airways website via credit card. It's a mature site, so you can browse through different flight options. However, I believe that you will have to pick up your physical tickets from the office at the airport when you arrive in Nairobi.

We didn't have any major troubles with our Kenya Airways flights, although we ran into other travelers whose luggage was lost. Our Kigali->Nairobi flight was 1 hour late but our Zanzibar->Nairobi flight departed on time but arrived one hour EARLY. Just make sure you plan in some buffer time between flights.

Everyone else has given you great advice. We booked all of our Rwanda plans through Amahoro Tours. We probably paid a little more than if we had done everything ourselves, but it dramatically reduced my stress level during the planning stage. They were also able to get us gorilla permits during a peak time when all other tour companies said that permits were sold out.

kumasawa is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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Patty is correct. However, the funny thing is that they often substitute the Rwandair plane even if it's supposed to be a Kenya air flight.

Lucia78 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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HI Everybody,
thanks for all the info. I have emailed the ORPTN and think I will contact a loacal out fitter. While I do have a reservation for 3 nights at the new Gov Camp Lodge (Sabyinayo which is situated at the base of the vocanoes) they do not have accomodations for me the day I fly from NBO to R. so I thought I would acclimate myself sonewhere else, hang out and hed to my gorillas on the 21 with my 1st trek on the 22. So I think I need a place in either K or R. for the 20th and then again on the 24th or 25th. I am trying to make the flight arrangements myself and have been able to book the Gov's Camp part. I will contact a local operator and see if I can get help with the missing pieces. I am noticing that some of the tour operators don't want to help with piece meal things...like when I return to Kenya, I am being hosted in a couple of places and need help in the middle and so far no one wants to work on this any ideas on this front? you all help so much, I wish I had some thing more to offer all of you. alas, my 1st trip report and photos with my fancy camera gear willhave to be my only contibution for this year. and again, thank you!
13moons is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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Do you have more info on the new Governor's Lodge in Rwanda? How close to ranger station where gorilla tracking begoms? Pricier than Gorilla's Nest or more of a budget option? How many guests?
Anything like that? Thanks.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 09:45 PM
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I emailed them at the email address of [email protected] and got a reply from them 2 days later. I didn't have exact dates when I emailed them, so I did not reserve a date yet, but they seemed to be pretty responsive.
tacos10 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Hi 13moons,
Everyone here has given you good advice but I just want to add my 2c. I originally had seats reserved with Rwandair and I dealt with a girl by the name of lilian Murangira. Her e-mai is [email protected] . She was very helpful and offered to hold the reservation and all I was to do was collect our tickets on arrival and pay in $US then. To cut a long story short, a few months after making the reservation I needed to change the dates of travel and I knew Lilian was on holidays. I tried e-mailing her but it seems she was the only one with access to her e-mails. I could have waited until she got back but didn't really want as it was near our travel date so I just went ahead and booked the flight I wanted on the Kenya Air website and then I e-mailed Lilian again to let her know -basically what I'm trying to say is that the flight booking is easy!

With regards to booking the permits, I would go directly with ORTPN - you shouldn't have any trouble collecting them beforehand as you seem to have a full day before your treck.

OnlyMeOirish is offline  
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