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Uganda, Rwanda and Zanzibar help?

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Jun 17th, 2014, 09:02 AM
  #1
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Uganda, Rwanda and Zanzibar help?

I am in the beginning stages of putting an itinerary together for our third trip to Africa next year. I am thinking of 10 days in Uganda, 5 days in Rwanda, and 6 days in Zanzibar. We previously have been in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. I would appreciate any input on the sites in Uganda and Rwanda that are not to be missed as well as suggestions re Zanzibar. Aside from what the guidebooks say, I truly appreciate comments by those with similar interests who have actually been there. We are most interested in gorilla and golden monkey trekking. Although we are not young, we recently completed a trek to Machu Picchu and absolutely loved it. Re Zanzibar, we love to snorkel so would be most interested in how Zanzibar compares to other islands.

P.S. To atravelynn, I have loved reading your posts over the years which I find to be of great help to me. I was going to offer to provide input into Peru/Galapagos for you but, alas, see you have already been there! Many thanks for all of your comments!
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Jun 17th, 2014, 07:11 PM
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Kyambura (Chambura) Gorge is one of my favorite sites in Uganda. I was lucky enough to have fabulous guides (Jimmy and Bernard) for two of my three treks. A cruise of the nearby Kazinga channel was also enjoyable.
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Jun 18th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Hi Femi: Thank you for your response. I will add both to my list. Did you use a tour company and, if so, which one? I am thinking of flying to Murchison Falls, if possible, rather than staying in Kampala and skipping Lake Mburo in favor of more time elsewhere in Uganda/Rwanda. I am also thinking of gorilla trekking in both countries as this is the primary reason why we are going there even though we will have to buy 2 permits.
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Jun 18th, 2014, 07:37 PM
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I used Volcanoes Safaris and they were good, but I think quite expensive.

Have you considered going chimp trekking? You should include Kibale in Uganda if this is of interest to you. And if you like birds, the nearby Bigodi wetlands was a great spot, and they have really good guides as well.

I wanted to make it down to Nyungwe in Rwanda, but unfortunately wasn't able to squeeze it in.

Haven't spent much time in Zanzibar, so can't really make any recommendations, but if I were going back, I'd be heading for one of the less crowded islands.
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Jun 20th, 2014, 05:35 AM
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Here is a link to my Rwanda trip report. You are in for something very special with the gorillas! One of the highlights of my life - especially day 2 which as you'll read was a very difficult hiking day. You can ask for easy, moderate or difficult hikes in Parc des Volcans. We asked for medium both days, but there was a huge difference. With nature anything can happen! Enjoy your trip

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...s-gorillas.cfm
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Jun 20th, 2014, 07:11 AM
  #6
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Again, thanks so much for your input! One question I have not been able to find an answer to in estimating the budget is what the permit includes. Is the permit only for 1 day of trekking for 1 hr. with the family or does it extend for a longer period? If you are trekking on two days, do you have to buy two permits?
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Jun 20th, 2014, 02:52 PM
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The permit price is per person per day. If you wan to go for a second trek the next day, each person will need an additional permit.

You'll trek until you (or rather, the scouts) find your assigned gorilla group and then your tourist group gets to spend an hour with the gorilla group. Same with the golden monkeys which is a separate trek. Some people get lucky (in Rwanda) and spot golden monkeys while they're looking for gorillas, and vice versa.
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Jun 21st, 2014, 04:12 PM
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I can offer suggestions on Uganda and Zanzibar – my husband and I visited last year. Also, I volunteer with a community tourism NGO in Uganda, COBATI www.cobatiuganda.org (I am the webmaster) and have some great suggestions for unique experiences.

Uganda:
We spent ten days in Kampala and the western / south western region (we traveled by road). For the gorilla trek, we went to Bwindi and stayed at Sanctuary Gorilla Lodge (we booked direct with Sanctuary and they also handled the permit). As Femi wrote, the permit is for one day - you hike until you find your assigned group and then spend one hour observing. It was an incredible experience! Some suggestions for Uganda:in Entebbe (near the airport), Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is a must visit –there are private behind the scenes tours where you can learn a lot about the animals. Near Mbarara, you can visit a banana plantation and learn the traditional way to make banana beer. If you are interested in any community tourism activities, I can introduce you to someone at COBATI who can help with reservations. Here is our trip report and a post about the banana beer: http://latitudeb.com/uganda/ and http://latitudeb.com/banana-beer-making-in-uganda/

Zanzibar:
We were really excited about visiting Zanzibar but were a bit let down. Stone Town has a lot of character – it is great for photography and has some of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. But we didn’t feel fully comfortable walking around due to some aggressive hawkers (in addition, the hotel advised us not to be out after dark). We also spent a few days at the beach. My husband did some scuba dives and enjoyed them (the water was very clear), although it was not the ideal time of year to see a lot of marine life (March). Here is our trip report: http://latitudeb.com/zanzibar/.
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