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Questions re Gorillas in Rwanda and money in both Rwanda and Tanzania

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Apr 9th, 2013, 03:35 AM
  #41
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Hi Kath

Thank-you and now it really looks like I shall have to post something on my return!

Hi Sperraglia, is this for Rwanda the info on gorilla groups? I would be interested in that information. I am in Australia so not quite the option of waterproof camera bags that you guys have in the States.

I will plan for 2 trekking outfits as we walk 3 times, we should be able to have the first day washed and dried by the third day. Not sure what are options for the afternoon will be, but most likely if it is safe, we shall be walking around the lakes where the lodge is, if we get back in time of course! Yes, I may leave mine there as well Leslie.

We actually have target so may go and have a look there as well!

Did anyone take some gifts like Tshirts, pencils etc for the kids of the guys taking us up to the gorillas? If so, what? Maybe some tshirts of varying sizes may be a good idea, can't be too heavy or take up too much room as we are on quite a few flights with luggage allowances that are quite small!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:10 AM
  #42
 
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sperraglia - would love to see what you've compiled for your gorilla guide! Rwanda or Uganda?
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:41 AM
  #43
 
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Cateyes555 - I only did Rwanda since that is where we are trekking. Let me see if I can post it on my website tonight when I get home, if I can't I will post my email for you.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 03:54 PM
  #44
 
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Cateyes555 - I couldn't post the word document, but I am a bit of a novice with the website. So I have copied the information into a page which can be found here: http://www.gritsphoto.com/kenya/gori...de-for-rwanda/

It is specific to Rwanda for the gorilla groups and the Gorilla Mountain View Lodge where we are staying, but it all comes from trip reports I have found for fodorites, trip advisor, etc. that I gathered to help me prepare for trekking in June.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 02:38 AM
  #45
 
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Thanks so much - can't wait to read through it!
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Apr 12th, 2013, 02:57 AM
  #46
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Hi sperraglia

Started to read your report, but need more time to read it properly! You have put in a huge amount of work in your research! And you haven't even been there yet, have you?

Would like to send it to my sister as well, so shall try and do that. When are you going in June, as we will be there in June as well?

Did no-one take items for the children of the rangers, trackers,porters etc?

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 12th, 2013, 03:37 AM
  #47
 
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Kaye - Thank you, I like to be prepared and was fortunate that there are a lot of good trip reports and other info on the web.

We leave June 12th and will be arriving in Rwanda June 14th and trekking the 15th & 16th, back to Kenya on the 17th.

I usually take balloons and stickers for the kids. Last time I took about 50 t-shirts for the keepers at Sheldricks when I went to visit my adoptive elephant and they were a hit. We have street fairs in NY and easy to get inexpensive USA t-shirts.

Have a great time! Sallie Jo
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Apr 12th, 2013, 08:45 AM
  #48
 
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I wouldn't take gifts for people you've never met. Tips are always appreciated. If you are involved with a particular organization (a school, orphanage, hospital or clinic) that has requested items they need, of course take those.

Just my opinion. I understand others feel different about this issue.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 08:46 AM
  #49
 
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Kaye - you've asked about toys a couple of times. On our last self-drive through Tanzania and Kenya, my DH and I took propeller toys - small and light so easy to pack (they come in 2 pieces - stick and propeller), and a huge hit with the children (and adults!). We would stand on the roof of our Land Rover and aim the propellers up over the childrens' heads - they would run, shrieking wildly with excitement, and try to catch them. Colourful (we mixed the colours of the sticks and propellers), sturdy (I hate toys that break soon after you offer them as a gift), easy to use (even the youngest children are able to manage if you show them how to roll the sticks between their hands) and great fun - the children and their parents loved them. We kept a couple on the dashboard - they came in very handy at police checks - not that this is likely to be an issue unless you are self-driving. We packed about sixty and wished we had taken many more.

You may view the toy here if you are not familiar with it:

http://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Dragon...ords=propeller

For adults (rangers/trackers etc), I still think what is most appreciated is a good/fair tip. CR
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Apr 12th, 2013, 08:52 AM
  #50
 
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I should have added - if you decide to purchase the propeller toys, shop around - that Amazon price is outrageous. If you buy in bulk, you will find much better prices. Thinking back, I suspect we may have purchased 100 - I think I found a good deal if I purchased fifty. CR
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Apr 14th, 2013, 04:20 AM
  #51
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Hi Sperraglia

You will be gone the day before we arrive as I think we get to Kigali the 16th June and to the lodge the following day. What a shame!

I am leaning towards Tshirts as I would like them to be a useful gift.

Hi Canadian Robin

I did not know of this toy although I am sure we must have them somewhere here. Yes they do look good for packing purposes though still keen on the tshirts at the moment.

Hi Leely

This is certainly not instead of tips but as a little something extra for their families. Having just started to sponsor two children well actually one is an adult male, through school, I was so touched when the administrator wrote to me saying that the young fellow when he got a few items of new clothing, could not stop grinning and this made me think that many children would love a new piece of clothing and besides the weight issue, it is not a big deal to me when it is to the recipient of the new shirt.

Thanks again everyone,

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 14th, 2013, 04:27 PM
  #52
 
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Kaye - We will be in Kigali at the Serena the evening on the 16th so if you are in Kigali happy to meet for a drink and give you a pretty up to date report on how the treks go on the 15th & 16th.

Cheers,
Sallie Jo
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Apr 15th, 2013, 02:43 AM
  #53
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Hi Sallie Jo

That is funny as we will also be at the Serena the night of the 16th! We fly from Kilimanjaro to Kigali and get in just after 8pm so if that isn't too late would love to meet for a drink and a catch up of your treks.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 15th, 2013, 04:42 AM
  #54
 
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Kaye - we don't have an early flight on the 17th so should be up for a drink when you and your sister arrive. I imagine after trekking, a little touring and the drive back from VNP that we probably will end up at the hotel for dinner. Just have the front desk ring me, last name is perraglia, or I will leave a note for you under my name if we are out.

Also, I will have a pair of heavy gardening gloves with me. I was going to leave them at the lodge since I live in NYC with no garden, but if you don't want to pack a pair you are welcome to them.

Cheers,
Sallie Jo
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Apr 16th, 2013, 02:34 AM
  #55
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Hi Sallie Jo

That sounds great! And thanks for the offer on the gloves, but that was the first thing i did buy for both of us when we decided to do the gorillas!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 27th, 2013, 04:40 AM
  #56
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Hi Lynn

topped up for you!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 27th, 2013, 10:12 AM
  #57
 
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Thanks for topping this, but what could I add? It's already a gorilla tracking handbook.

On toys for kids, I think it is best to give the toys to the adults in charge (village elders, teachers, whatever) to distribute to discourage children from abandonning their schooling to spend their days begging for items from visitors in vehicles. It also is a respectful thing to do as an outsider.

Layers of clothes is a good idea and the ones not worn can go in the backpack, carried by your porter. A little extra weight in the backpack is no big deal for the porter.

Did I read anything about a walking stick? Very helpful. These are doled out at the start of the trek. Be sure your guide knows you want one. If there is not one available, they can make one for you in about 60 seconds.

You've got the gloves. Mine were usually stashed in an accessible pocket during the trek. The porters generally warn you when you come upon the nettles.

One BIG THING that made a difference for me is that I kept my water bottle with me so I could drink often. You can stop when you want and ask your porter for water, but sometimes that is not real convenient. A water bottle in a "holster" around the waist meant I could sip every 10 minutes or so without holding up the group. Dehydration is THE ENEMY that must be battled with diligence.

Several times I got into the stinging nettles. They are annoying, itchy, slightly burning, but nothing like a bee sting. The discomfort lasted about 20 minutes. Everybody reacts differently, but I did not find their sting to be a big problem that made it hard to carry on. In contrast, a recent hornet sting (not on a gorilla trek) had me doubled over and a little panicky. Nettles are an annoyance but you won't shed any tears.

I saw Leely bought Wellingtons. It is true that is what the rangers wear. I saw no visitor, ever, wear Wellies.

Ankle support, agree. I even brought along elasatic ankle supports in case I had a turned ankle on the trail that needed some support.

Also did not see Sealskinz mentioned--waterproof socks. I'm more of a fan of these than some people. If your feet get real wet, even Gortex soaks through and wet socks can chafe. Sealskinz help prevent that. So would Wellies. For me, walking in Wellies would have been hard.

Regarding gators, my Rwandan guide stated that the soil type was not conducive to the kind of insects that gators deter. He thought gators were overkill. But tucking trouser hems inside the socks was suggested.

I read about the 2-gallon ziplocks. Great idea. A garbage bag or two, all folded up, can save the day too, and takes up such little space.

Lots of backpacks have a plastic cover to assist in waterproofing them. Mine does.

I believe the 8 visitors per group remains, but there may be up to 10 groups visited now.

Choosing your gorilla group has been covered here in detail. If you are very concerned about your ability to go to the more difficult groups, make that well known. It might also be worthwhile to hire 2 porters to help you, a small investment that could make a huge difference. Don't know what porters are getting now, maybe $15-20 USD?

US dollars were fine. Bring small denominations because getting change was very hard.

It appears a Gorilla GTG with human participants is in the works for you as well.

Happy gorilla tracking!
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Apr 28th, 2013, 02:46 AM
  #58
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Wow Lynn thanks for this!

What do you think about taking tshirts for kids as gifts? The kids I have in mind would most likely be those belonging to rangers, porters etc.

Yes I can see that layers would be good as we may get hot when moving and cold when stopped. A stick is a good tip and shall keep gloves and water handy as well. Yes someone else did mention that the nettle's sting was not the worst thing that could happen and I agree, some wasps or hornet stings you feel for a long time afterwards!

OK never heard of waterproof socks, will see what we can get here in Australia. I had decided that gaitors were overkill and we both thought we would tuck our pants into our socks. And no, I could not imagine walking any distance in wellies either, certainly not the ones I have at the moment at any rate.

I am actually taking a waterproof camera backpack and while it does not have a good deal of space for other stuff, my sister Di will have room for both of us as she has a very little camera!

I am getting less concerned about the degree of difficulty as i step up my training with no serious consequences. Will also speak to my specialist at my next appointment and see what I can take to help me with super quick pain relief. Will be due one of my 4 weekly injections by the time we get to Rwanda, but it is a logistical nightmare to get it through all the different customs as well as it must be kept on ice, so will need to wait until I get back home again. I think i shall manage fine as long as i don't injure myself and then anyone would be up the creek, not just me!

Yes hoping we get into Kigali as estimated and then meet up with Sallie Jo that evening and get a run down on what we need to do and what gorilla groups we may like to visit over the 3 walks. Would hate to be there and want to visit a group and find I was physically not up to it! Where there is a will, there will be a way, I can suffer all the way home!

Thanks Lynn and everyone else, all very helpful information!

I leave 3 weeks today, so very exciting although Rwanda is the last country we visit before heading home!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 29th, 2013, 04:23 AM
  #59
 
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3 weeks! That will be here before you know it. Have an amazing trip It sounds like you will be very well prepared.

Kaye - not to hijack this thread inappropriately but since there's no way to PM can I ask a quick question about Australia -
If we want to do a not-long-enough tour and see possibly a bit of Melbourne, Sydney, Uluru, and the GBR is there one month that best suits the weather in all areas, which I know varies greatly? I've been thinking October or possibly November would be the best - do you agree? Or is something earlier in the year in your fall also a good bet?
Thanks in advance for any advice if you see this post.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 04:46 AM
  #60
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Hi Leslie

I think October/November sounds good. Sydney and Melbourne can be unpredictable with their weather but Jan/Feb can be stinking hot there as it was this year. they both can have extreme weather, boiling hot one day and very cold the next.

Just check the box jelly fish for the Great Barrier Reef as a lot of local beaches are closed during their season I believe.

I hope I will be well prepared Leslie!

Kind regards

Kaye
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