Rwanda gorilla trekking

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Dec 30th, 2011, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Rwanda gorilla trekking

I am going to be in Rwanda in about 10 days, and am planning on a gorilla trek. I have read a variety of suggestions on what to wear, (don't wear jeans) and what type of shoes/boots to wear. So many conflicting opinions. Any suggestions? Stinging nettles a real problem? Fire ants?
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Dec 31st, 2011, 07:52 AM
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Shoes-boots: You will want ankle support, you may get wet if it rains so Gortex can be helpful. The big thing is make sure the footware is broken in and comfortable. Take some stuff for blisters if you are doing more than one trek and need feet in good shape after that first trek.

Ants: Tuck your trousers into your socks so they can't get in.

Stinging nettles: Bring a pair of garden gloves you can keep in your pocket in case you run into a lot of these. I suppose everyone reacts differently, but I found them annoying but not terribly painful. Lasts about 20-30 minutes. Nothing like a bee sting.
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Dec 31st, 2011, 08:35 AM
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TC
 
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If you want to know what the terrain will be and what the "pros" wear, have a look at this video from Gorilla Doctors.

http://www.youtube.com/user/gorillad...?feature=watch
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Jan 1st, 2012, 08:41 AM
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The trek can vary considerably. We asked for a moderate length trek when we went in February and the gorillas were at the edge of the jungle so we didn't have any tough terrain or nettles at all. (Although middle aged we are in pretty good shape and were prepared for a long walk.) Most people wore lighter hiking shoes with pants tucked into their socks and had garden gloves along. It was a great experience and I'm sure you'll love it. A young silverback actually ran at me and pushed me over!
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Jan 1st, 2012, 06:12 PM
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"A young silverback actually ran at me and pushed me over!"

Yikes! How scared were you and how strong was the impact? Any reason why he chose you?
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Jan 1st, 2012, 07:23 PM
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I wore lightweight rain pants for both of our treks; they would repel liquids from broken plants, as well as branches that slapped against you along the way. I noticed that most of the guides pulled on similar pants as we approached the gorillas.

The second day the gorillas were in a narrow ravine and we had to slide down a hillside on our rear ends to get into the ravine; the rain pants took the associated mud in stride. (Thank heavens for porters to boost us back up the hillside on the way out!)

Gardening gloves (lightweight leather) were useful, especially when we were grabbing on heavy vines to scramble up the ravine.

Even though I have "swivel ankles" I found it was more important to have hiking shoes with a broad base and good tread rather than actual ankle support. (Plus I didn't want to troop around in hiking boots the rest of my 3-week trip.)
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 05:23 AM
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I dont mean to hijack this thread, but thought while we are on the subject and perhaps my questions will assist lovetotravel. We are also headed to Rwanda in about 10 days for trekking. Can you please tell me do I need to bring a backback for the porter to carry my items or is this provided?

Do the porters and guides in Rwanda accept US dollars?

How warm/cool will it be in the mornings for trekking? Will I need a fleece jacket?
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:42 AM
  #8
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Kch246, Shouldn't your trip planner be able to answer these questions for you? We had detailed information such as this when we went to Africa with ATR.
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 08:14 AM
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KCH246,
You must bring your own backpack for the porter. The porters accept dollars. The coldest part of your trek will be sitting around the ranger station in the early morning before leaving. You'll be relatively inactive and the temps will be coolest. I never needed a fleece June-Aug. Why not stick a fleece in your backpack just in case? I've always brought my waterproof outer shell for my backpack just in case of a downpour to protect my camera. Also I took along a folded garbage bag and ziplocks for water protection. The rain can come down in buckets for short spurts at any time of year.
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:22 PM
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1. Gardening gloves. I brought and used these. Not the leather ones, but heavy duty canvas. I encountered stinging nettles on two treks.

2. I just wore regular heavier-weight/not-super-light khakis (but they were olive in color). It rained on one trek but it was my last one, so I didn't need to worry about wet clothes. I brought two pairs of heavier-weight pants for two gorilla treks and one Golden Monkey trek. This was sufficient.

3. Hiking shoes/low boots. I wanted something I could use for the rest of my safari, so just took these:

http://www.rei.com/product/747732/me...g-shoes-womens

I have since used them for day hikes and trail runs at home in California. A good buy.

4. Socks. I used hiking socks. Not wool ones because I thought they might be too hot. Brought a pair of liners too but did not use.

5. Tucked my socks into my pants. Looked foolish (like everyone else). Stayed dry. No ant problems.

6. Don't worry about your gear too much. This was one of the best experiences of my life, bar none! Enjoy the stunning, heartbreaking beauty of Rwanda, its wildlife and its people.
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Two more things:
On the one long trek I took, I was the ding-a-ling that neglected to bring a Power Bar, package of almonds, whathaveyou in my backpack. Adrenaline got me up the mountain and through the hour with the gorillas. But it was the kindness of my fellow trekkers and their extra banana that got me down.

And please employ a porter! It's so very little money to us tourists, but it means quite a bit to the porters.
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Jan 3rd, 2012, 05:02 AM
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Thank you for your responses. They have been very helpful! We leave in a few days and I am very excited!
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Jan 7th, 2012, 07:42 PM
  #13
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Thanks for all of the info. I am leaving Monday, and have tall rubber boots with hefty soles like they wear and a windbreaker and rain jacket and garden gloves. I should be set! It sounds like it will be an amazing time and I can't wait.
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