I am in the beginning planning stages of a trip to Africa for October 2010. I am fairly active on some of the other boards on Fodor's and my husband and I have travelled quite a bit (going to Turkey in September) but this will be a first trip to Africa for us.
I always knew I wanted to go on safari in East Africa - the images of wide open savannahs and big herds of animals have always appealed to me. After a bit of research (okay, a lot) I chose Tanzania as the country we would visit to do this. We plan to use Basecamp Tanzania for that portion of the trip and would spend a few days in Zanzibar afterwards.
Then Rwanda caught my eye, for the gorillas and the genocide history, and then Uganda soon followed because of the good rafting on the Nile and the natural beauty. We are able to take about 3 weeks to do this trip, and so I have come up with the following tentative itinerary:
fly from Canada to Entebbe, Uganda (losing 2 nights to travel)
2 nights Jinja - to raft the Nile
1 night Kibale - to track chimps
2 or 3 nights Queen Elizabeth Nat. Park w/ one night for sure at Ishasha Camp
2 nights Ruhengeri - gorilla tracking on day in between
2 nights Kigali - visit memorials
5 nights Tanzania safari - fly Kigali to Arusha then 5 nights safari covering Serengeti, Ngorongoro etc (probably in Sopa Lodges)
5 nights Zanzibar - interested in Pongwe area and maybe one night in Stone Town
fly home from Dar, Zanz or NBO, whichever is cheapest (losing 1 night to travel)
What do you think? My specific questions are:
1)Is the Uganda portion too rushed? Is including Ishasha feasible? Is Kibale worth a stop or would it be better to go straight to QENP and spend more time there? We'd probably arrange a driver to cover transportation for that part of the trip, then see if they could drop us at the Uganda-Rwanda border where we'd rely on public transportation in Rwanda.
2) Do we need 2 nights in Ruhengeri if we're just doing one gorilla trek, or could we conceivably come in from Uganda, stay one night, trek the next morning and then get to Kigali in the later afternoon? We would likely choose a gorilla group that isn't too far away - my husband has a prosthetic leg that while not a serious impediment, can become troubling if he hikes for too long so we'd likely pick a group closer to the station.
3) How far in advance is it recommended to book gorilla permits? I always start feeling out trips a good year in advance and making general plans, but don't usually book flights and hotels until 4-6 months away. Would this be waiting too long to do permits as well?
Much, much thanks for any help or opinions.
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