safari to see gorillas and s. africa possible?

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Jul 17th, 2005, 04:13 PM
  #1
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safari to see gorillas and s. africa possible?

I've read that you have to choose between S.Africa and E.Africa if you have a limited time. I am planning a 10 day trip and want to safari on a private reserve in S.Africa, but am most interested in seeing the gorillas. I would like to spend 3 or 4 days in S.africa, then go to Rwanda or somewhere to see the primates. Has anyone done this and will it work?
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Jul 17th, 2005, 06:29 PM
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I would start by finding out what air carriers fly between the 2 destinations you're interested in. I don't know which reserve you're visiting in SA, but assume at some point you'll need to route through JNB. I just did a cursory check and it appears that both SAA and Rwandair Express fly between JNB and KGL (Kigali, Rwanda) once a week. You could travel via Nairobi where I believe there are daily flights from JNB and I know there are daily flights to KGL, but then you're looking at 3 flights and it's a matter of whether you'll be able to make all of the connections same day.

You could also look at flying into Entebbe, Uganda and do your gorilla trek there. There may be more frequent flights between JNB and EBB. However, from EBB it's then a very long drive or another flight to where the trekking takes place in Uganda, whereas in Rwanda it's only a few hours drive between Volcanoes NP and KGL.

It would probably be logistically much easier to have your safari time in Kenya or even Tanzania if you're short on time and keen on seeing the gorillas.
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Jul 19th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Thanks for the help. I will look into it. I'm in a bit of a panic. I thought I would have a few months to plan this trip for next July, but after reading some of these posts, I realize I have to decide and book NOW! I was told by some friends that grew up in Africa, that we should go to Mala Mala reserve for a few days for that "once in a lifetime experience" of seeing the animals in a more private "old africa" type of setting, but my husband and I don't want to miss the primates, but then, if they are so endangered, will we even see them if we make the trek to Rwanda...very confusing!!!
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Jul 19th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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While no wildlife sighting can be guaranteed, you will almost surely see gorillas if you trek in Rwanda -- I would bet their success rate is nearly 100%, if not 100%. They monitor the whereabouts of the gorillas. Plus, if you're going to Rwanda you may want to trek twice to different groups.

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Jul 19th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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July is peak safari season in both East and South Africa. You can get the same "old-time colonial experience" in East Africa as in South... and East Africa is closer to the gorillas - right next door.

I would save South Africa for when you have more time to enjoy the country instead of running a race to catch flights.

You can easily arrive into Nairobi and head to Rwanda or Uganda, do your gorilla trekking for about 5-days, then return to Nairobi and end your safari in the Masai Mara where the migrating wildebeest and zebra herds should be arriving.

Depending on your budget there are private conservation lands around the Masai Mara where you'll have a more intimate accommodation stay... but eventually, most everyone travels directly into the Mara hoping to see a "crossing" at the Mara or Talek Rivers. And, here you won't be able to miss the crowds... everyone has the same idea as you.

I would start now working on Rwanda or Uganda and Kenya to ascertain availability, pricing, permits (for the gorilla trekking).

As to air... and here Patty is an expert... if using FF miles you can't book until 330/331 days prior your departure date. If working on paid tickets, doubt there are prices available yet - but expect to pay between $1200-$1800/person to/fr Nairobi from NY.

Hope this helps.
 
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 08:29 AM
  #6
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Thank you all so much. I believe we have decided to do E.Africa. I just have to hurry and decide on an itineray. I really wish I had started all this research a year ago!
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