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TR: Rwanda National Parks, Trip of a Lifetime to see Gorillas, 2022

TR: Rwanda National Parks, Trip of a Lifetime to see Gorillas, 2022

Old Aug 9th, 2022, 12:56 PM
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TR: Rwanda National Parks, Trip of a Lifetime to see Gorillas, 2022

Hello Africa Forum, I have missed you all! A trip to Tanzania in 2005 was the whole reason I joined Fodor's.

I am happy to be back over here to report on the wonderful trip we just took to Rwanda in July, 2022. This trip was planned for 2020 as a milestone birthday trip for me as I had always wanted to see Mountain Gorillas. We all know why it was delayed until this year!

This forum (amyb) helped a great deal in the decisions we made about whether to go to Rwanda or Uganda (Rwanda) for this special trip and whether to get two gorilla track permits (yes). Thank you for everyone that contributes here and posts reports as it really does help with planning.

This trip was incredible in large part due to the planners we used: Karen at Treks2Rwanda was wonderful. She is patient, helpful, flexible, and responsive with all the trip planning. She handed us off to capable and confident on-ground people in-country. Everything about the trip ran smoothly. She also created a really great itinerary--we feel like we saw the highlights that were important to us, didn't shortchange anything, and that the lead up to seeing gorillas at the end of the trip was a good way to plan things. She came up with the initial itinerary and then adjusted for our preferences. One of the main adjustments was that we were a group of three (two women, one man) that is fine sharing a room to economize (note to other travelers, this prompted some puzzled and odd looks from hotel staff during the trip).

Rwanda had very strict Covid-19 rules and requirements that only relaxed gradually, with some big final relaxations just in advance of our trip. There were still important requirements that affected us, though: Negative tests required within 72 hours of inbound flight, negative rapid test for Akagera National Park, negative PCR tests for all primate tracking in Nyungwe and Volcanoes, negative rapid test for additional day in Volcanoes national park (the PCR tests are good for 72 hours of park activities so our fourth day in volcanoes required one more rapid test). The requirements that were dropped just before we arrived were covid test again upon arrival and covid test for departure.

PCR tests are USD $50 and rapid tests are USD $5 (or 5000 RF). The results go into the national database and are retrievable online using your unique identifier. I am embarrassed to say I was was too stressed about the answer to ask what happened if we had a positive test on the trip so I don't have any info to share about that. I imagine it involves quarantine and it certainly means not being able to go on your primate tracks or enter the parks. We feel very lucky that it did not come up.

I'll post a bit over the next couple of days about the main parts of the trip which were: 1. Kigali, 2. Akagera, 3. Nyungwe, 4. Volcanoes

And I will add a link to some photos in my Shutterfly account.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 01:12 PM
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Photos here:
https://sharedonfodors.shutterfly.com/

Looks like they didn't upload to Shutterfly at full quality but I don't want to go through all the hassle right now of redoing it--you get the gist!
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 02:28 PM
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Oh I’m really looking forward to this! Bring it on!
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 09:52 PM
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Great start. I can't wait to read more.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 12:05 PM
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Kigali:
We spent our first day in Kigali. We went to the Genocide Memorial, which is so moving. The section on child victims is incredibly difficult to go through but the entire site is well done and meaningful. One of the remarkable things we experienced during the trip was how open everyone is in speaking about the genocide. While I am sure that is not universally true, no one we met seemed uncomfortable acknowledging that it happened or the scope of the tragedy (there are, of course, deniers, we just didn't meet any). So, for example, when the local wildlife guide in Akagera explained why the park's size was reduced he asked us first if we knew why--we were circumspect and said something vague like, "well, we understand there needed to be space for people to settle after 1994." He immediately confirmed that and said, "yes, we had a genocide..." Others we spoke to shared more personal stories. This felt like a remarkable thing because Rwandans were, in our experience, soft spoken and didn't tend to show big emotion in public (they are also modest so make sure you respect that as a traveler). So this openness on the genocide was an interesting contrast to the reservation we otherwise observed. It seems to result from considerable efforts to make sure people have the resources and support they need, even 28 years later, to heal from the horrors and trauma.

We are at Heaven Restaurant our first evening. It was the best meal we had on the trip. I had read 1000 Hills to Heaven: Love Hope and a Restaurant in Rwanda by Josh Ruxin and wanted to try the restaurant. It's well worth going to. Other meals we had during our trip were tasty but not anything impressive; and desserts for those other meals were uniformly bad--like we started declining them after a bit. Meanwhile the ice cream at Heaven was, well, heavenly as was everything else we ate.

Other than that we just learned about Kigali from Charles while he drove us around the city whenever we were there. He made sure to highlight different areas on different drives, showing us neighborhoods, governmental zones, and areas of economic development.

Later, when we went back to the city at the end of the trip we took at weaving class at Nyamirambo Women's Center cooperative. I recommend this class. I suspect their other classes (walking tour or cooking class) are also worthwhile if that interests you.

The other major highlight of Kigali came at the end of the trip and, actually, could have taken place anywhere in Rwanda. Since we were there the last Saturday of the month before our flight out we participated in the community work day in one of the neighborhoods. It's called Umuganda and it's required that everything in the country close down on that morning for community projects (clean up, etc). We cleaned up a neighborhood street of trash and vegetation and then were invited to sit through the community meeting (Charles and another man translated the community meeting for us). The whole thing was a joyful experience and wonderful cultural exchange that I will treasure.




Last edited by schlegal1; Aug 10th, 2022 at 12:08 PM.
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 06:38 AM
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schlegal, I love your photos! I swear some of those gorillas look familiar, LOL! Isn't it just an intense, amazing experience??? I will wait patiently for that part of your report, but I am curious which groups you visited.

Thank you for the book recommendation about Heaven. I ate there also (wonderful beet risotto!) but I had no idea of the history behind it. I've added that to my Amazon wishlist.

We share the same outlook on post-genocide Rwanda. I made a note in my blog that they seem immensely capable of forgiveness, so much so that I questioned whether I'd be capable of the same. I mean, some people married family of people who'd killed their relatives! Very hard to fathom. I felt it was very much a "for the good of the country" mindset.
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 10:49 AM
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Hi Amy!--we visited Pablo group and Agashya group----so was there anyone you know in there??

Akagera Game Park: Billed as Rwanda's "Big 5" park and we enjoyed it. We have been to Tanzania (albeit 17 years ago) and it's not at all like that. It's a small park and while wildlife if abundant, lions aren't going to be using your vehicle for shade or anything. We were lucky to see lots of special animals but then I don't even tire of seeing zebras. One of the biggest highlights was seeing a leopard out in the road in the morning. This was a big and unexpected treat. We were actually enjoying a lilac-breasted roller and my friend said, "haha, there's a baboon sitting in the road." And our local wildlife guide said, "No, that's a leopard." I thought he was joking around (there had been some joking about lions being near when he stepped out of the vehicle a few minutes before to guide Charles where to drive). He was not joking! It was a leopard and we saw her quite close up. Even after she slinked off the road she was visible behind some brush for a while. We also saw lions both days (same ones)--once up close and once in the distance lying around a kill. We saw loads and loads of hippos--especially on the afternoon boat safari we did. Elephants are always a highlight for me and my friend was excited to see giraffes. We did not see (or expect to see) rhino, though they are in the park after being introduced there.

We really liked the afternoon boat safari. It's where we first saw elephants. We got quite close but they were largely hidden from view by tall grass. But they didn't seem to mind our proximity. The hippos, on the other hand, were seeming annoyed when we were close to them and the boat captain moved away immediately--it was a metal motorboat and he told us a colleague had not moved away from hippos and they tore up a boat not that long ago. Don't mess with hippos! The boat also afforded us many views of waterfowl, including the Goliath heron.

We stayed at Mantis Akagera Lodge. It was nice and we enjoyed it a lot. The pool and bar area are nice though it was too cool for swimming. We enjoyed the outdoor fire pit one evening. The restaurant had good food (bad desserts, hahaha) and really lovely hospitality. The only drawback is that you can hear everything happening outside your room. The doors open to outdoor corridors so when people are talking on their way to or from their rooms or kids are playing in the halls, you'll hear it. The hotel does have quiet hours and no one was breaking them while we were there. There was a LOT of door slamming one morning that was pretty annoying. It apparently wasn't intentional (I said something to the people doing it) but, again, just a factor in how loud it can be.

Neither the park nor hotel were crowded. In fact, other than the Volcanoes area, it felt like tourism in Rwanda is generally low right now.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 07:48 AM
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Nyungwe National Park: We really loved this park and, if we had endless vacation time, would have spent more of it here. The draw of this park was tracking chimpanzees, which we did and loved. We had not yet experienced gorillas when we did this so there was no problem with getting in the right mindset for it (I think if you see gorillas first you would have to prepare yourself for how much the chimps move around). We absolutely loved it and were incredible lucky. Our group was in the smaller annex portion of Nyungwe and within 5 minutes of starting the track we saw the chimps in a tree coming down to the ground. We then saw them for a long time. The trackers were excellent at finding them and finding good places for us to stand and view them. The chimps move a LOT, though, and it's a dark forest so you have to have pretty fancy camera equipment for really great photos. The videos we took on our phones were probably the best memento of the experience, actually, because the chimps are loud and do a lot of screaming and calling. This was real bushwhacking and we only got onto an actual trail once the chimp observation time was over. Our guide for this was knowledgable and did a great job.

We also did the canopy walk (which I would skip in favor of a longer hike if I were making the choice again) and a three hour hike. The three hour nature hike was wonderful. The guide had great knowledge to share and the hike was beautiful. The majestic trees were lovely. The canopy walk was absolutely fine, nothing wrong with it, but it's not so amazing that I would trade it in favor of hiking. It's three canopy bridges and they are quite high. We did something similar (that was longer) in Ghana. I found this one more fear-inducing for me. I have fear of heights but in Ghana, the canopy is so close to the bridges it doesn't feel that high up. Whereas here the canopy is quite a bit below and so my fear really kicked in. But that is not why I recommend a hike instead-- my husband and friend also both said they would have rather hiked and they weren't fearful. I just think we all would have preferred to explore nature for a longer time than to just go out to the canopy walk and back. There was some nice wildlife spotting in the park, though not as abundant (obviously) as Akagera. We saw monkeys and antelope, birds, squirrels, and a rat.

All hikes in Nyungwe require a guide (and, for now, a negative covid test) and it's quite expensive. Hikes are around $50 USD per person /per hike. I like putting money into the community, of course, but it makes it prohibitive to do more than a couple of activities here.

We stayed just outside the park in Nyungwe Hill Top View Hotel which was simply lovely. The hospitality was incredible here and we loved our room, which was really it's own little structure with a sitting room and fireplace. This was probably my favorite hotel. Even more than the Serena we stayed in at Lake Kivu. The staff really made the stay unforgettable.

Outside the park we did a tea factory tour that I really enjoyed. We have done a lot [too many] coffee tours over the years but never experienced a tea tour. The tea fields in this part of the country are stunningly beautiful. To also see the process of how it goes from field to final product was very interesting. This isn't high quality loose tea that's being made, it's a cheap black tea that is commonly consumed there with lots of milk and ginger. Our guide for this tour was from the local community and did a wonderful job of showing us around the factory and making sure we had an experience trying to pick tea ourselves. We also got to taste the various grades of tea they produce from weak to strong.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 10:31 AM
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You are doing a great job of tempting me back to Rwanda. I did regret not spending longer there, especially when I read about how wildlife in Akagera has bounced back in recent years. Somehow I didn't know that I could hike to chimps in Rwanda, that is definitely of interest. Very interesting on the tea tour.

So far it sounds like you've had a wonderful trip!
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Old Aug 16th, 2022, 06:08 AM
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The trip was perfect. Not a thing went wrong. I don't know how we got so lucky but it was incredible!

Lake Kivu: We just had a night here and that was enough. It was a convenient stop/relaxation point between Nyungwe and Volcanoes. We stayed at the Serena Lake Kivu, which was lovely but busy. Probably the busiest hotel we stayed in because Lake Kivu is a popular vacation spot with Rwandans. We saw two weddings on the beach when we arrived --it's popular to get married or honeymoon there. The fact that we needed PCR tests the next day in time for our gorilla track kind of made this destination just a stopover rather than a place where we could do an activity. We arrived mid-afternoon and had to leave in time to get to Volcanoes area before noon the next day for the tests. We weren't planning to swim in the lake anyway (our travel doctor told us not to risk it due to schistosomiasis). The hotel had a nice pool if we had felt like swimming. We were interested in kayaking on the lake but it was too late in the afternoon to arrange it when we arrived and there wasn't time the next day (the hotel doesn't have kayaks. they do have mountain bikes for rent).

Our favorite thing in this area was that on an evening walk we started to see loads and loads of bats. And then we realized that the sounds we had thought were birds were bats! And then we realized they were hanging out in the palm trees! And then we couldn't stop enjoying them! They are straw-colored fruit bats that roost there (and are dwindling due to habitat loss). They are part of what is actually the largest mammal migration on the continent (sit down wildebeests!) and will migrate to roost together in Zambia. I took way too many of photos of them because I just loved them. I went out the next morning for more photos. Since I did this at around sunrise, I was also treated to cultural observation that was interesting---locals here are competitive runners and so I saw many of them stretching and warming up right in the roadways because traffic is sparse that time of day. I also saw/heard some running/training clubs doing chants together while they ran. It was well worth the early wake up to walk around and see what was going on, which also included seeing fisherman pulling nets from the lake and people swimming post-run.

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Old Aug 23rd, 2022, 11:23 AM
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Volcanoes NP: This was what the entire trip built up to and it was even more than I hoped for. We did two gorilla tracking hikes and we were really glad we did. I had a fear when we booked that there was a risk that, if the gorillas immediately moved we might not really get an hour with them. While nature is certainly unpredictable, I did not get the impression that people are often disappointed in their tracks. We spent the full hour both times with our groups. They are fully habituated. In fact, we were lucky that our first group was the Pablo group, which includes members that Fossey studied and which is the subject of ongoing daily research so they were a particularly special group to watch. The second group was Agashya group, which has a lot of members and many young ones and, thus, also wonderful to watch. The two tracks could not have been more different.

As many here may know, the groups are assigned on the morning of your hike. We have heard that guides generally try to give an impression to the park of your fitness level so you can be properly matched with a group. And while there are "easier" and "harder" groups, gorillas don't keep schedules.

Track 1: This was our Pablo group. It was magical from start to finish. We indicated a willingness to "medium to hard" hiking and were rewarded in many ways, the best being an absolutely terrific group of companions in our 8-person group. Everyone was fit, enthusiastic, and considerate. We had a companionable, though difficult, hike to the family group. The main difficulty wasn't strenuousness (we are fit and avid hikers) but the fact that once you go off trail you are hiking literally on crushed down vegetation and brush so it's pretty slippery and has low traction. The stinging nettles are no picnic, either. We were glad we had gardening gloves to grab things because once we had to put down our walking sticks for the viewing, we sometimes had to grab brush to pull ourselves up the steep terrain. We did not have gaiters. We did have waterproof/rain pants to go over our hiking pants and that layer was nice protection against the stinging nettles. The hike was full of beautiful trees and mist and when we first saw a gorilla holding her baby I was overcome. I had no idea we would be so close and observe so much. It was thrilling. Everyone in the human group was careful to make sure we rotated through the best viewing spots and had chances for photos. I didn't use my fancy camera at all on this track because the light was too low and, really, we were so close that my phone was great. Hearing all the gorilla sounds of chewing and vocalizing was such a highlight (even the farts!). This group was very active because a rival group was close by and the male was exhibiting dominant behaviors. So we saw (and heard!) chest beating and such. We also had a mother charge at us a bit when her baby was too curious about us. Some male chest beating and charging also caused us to duck and move away some but the guides/trackers knew we were safe. Just remarkable. We all got great photos and video and made a collective photo album on Google Photos to all share together later. Unfortunately, the hour ended with a member of the group having a medical emergency due to altitude sickness. I felt so bad for this person as they just couldn't recover and eventually passed out down the trail. The team of guide/trackers/porters zipped into action and made a stretcher using bamboo poles, bamboo twisted into lashings, and tarps/jackets and carried the person down as fast as possible. We checked in on her later and learned she had gotten medical attention and was ok.

Track 2: The gorillas were amazing but the other members of the tracking group were pills. It was clearly meant to be a close/easy gorillas hike because one person had chosen to be carried by chair up and down to the viewing (this person did not identify a disability but I don't discount them possibly having one--nevertheless the person's behavior was entitled and atrocious in other ways). There were two people who were utterly unprepared to do any hiking or moving around. One continually expressed shock and horror at the hike required (it was not very challenging) and had clearly not researched it. The other was in the chair to go up and down but was unprepared to have to move while viewing (e.g. couldn't move during a charge, change places to let others view, etc) and seemed not all that interested and kept asking to leave or stop. The other three members of the group were mostly fine but the woman was something of a spoiled brat (didn't want to wear her mask while seeing the gorillas, kept getting too close, demanding that the guide "make the noise" to get the gorillas to turn, tried to insist on staying beyond the hour). This track started late morning because the gorillas had not settled down when we first got to the park boundary and our guide wanted to wait for them to settle before we started hiking. So we waited probably an hour and a half before the hike started. After sizing up our companions during that wait, we kept mostly to ourselves and just looked to enjoy things quietly. Credit to all the guides and trackers--they sized up the group extremely well, too, and would therefore make opportunities for the three of us to come over to a spot they tramped out so we could watch gorillas without spoiled/entitled people mucking around. So the wonderful parts (which FAR outweighed the crummy companions) were that this gorilla group had loads of little ones who were playing and just adorable. Including swinging around on vines, tumbling, and wrestling with each other. We got close to many of them (gorillas are stinky!). The most exciting and wonderful moment was when our hour was up and some little guys were messing around and then the silverback suddenly appeared from the brush, followed by a female with a baby on her back and walked right towards us. Breathtaking moment.

Had track 2 been our only track, it would have been incredible beyond words. But the luck we had with our companions in track 1 made it feel like we won the lottery.

I'll add later about other Volcanoes NP activities.
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Old Aug 24th, 2022, 06:32 AM
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Ah schlegal, what great experiences with the gorillas!! You have such a good attitude and I'm happy you were able to focus on the positive (i'm not sure I could have on trek #2!). You saw a lot of great behaviors and I'd love to see all of the little ones! I'd heard stories both about people becoming ill and having to be carried off the mountain and also of people claiming to need to be carried rather than trek themselves. Interesting that you encountered both! So glad you had two treks too. I know it's expensive but I wouldn't want to wish for a do-over.

I don't know what it is with some people. We saw a fair amount of people in shorts and sandals even, I don't know how they did it with the nettles and the mud. I did fine with the trekking until I found myself ankle deep in mud, you can't train or practice for that, but there's no way I could do it in sandals! It's funny we had one guy who just kept walking back and forth in front of anyone taking photo and video of the gorillas, even cutting into the 20 foot zone you're supposed to leave between you and the gorillas. He finally said to us "let me know if I'm getting in your way" and my friend Kim replied sourly "you are." It's on one of my videos and I laugh every time I watch it. I don't know how people could be so clueless about what is required physically for this experience or how to prepare for it, and also to be considerate of those around you. It's only a handful of people you have to look out for as they too enjoy a once in a lifetime experience.

I wondered what precautions would be taken with covid and the gorillas since it would seem it's transmissible to them (I've seen that tigers and lions have caught it from zookeepers). I'm glad that you had to be tested and wear a mask for the gorillas' sake.
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Old Aug 25th, 2022, 07:12 PM
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Nice report. It's been 12 years since I went to Rwanda! So sad. I was told at the time that we were trekking, not tracking, since the tracking is what those who keep watch over our endangered cousins do, and we tourists are just along for the ride/walk/trek.

I might have missed it, but which group did you trek to on your second day? Sounds like bad luck with your fellow tourists that day.

Seeing the gorillas is one of my top life experiences. I hope you enjoyed it (sounds like it).
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Old Aug 27th, 2022, 04:47 PM
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Great report. I am so sorry you had such "delightful" companions on Track 2 but it sounds like you made the best of it. It's hard to believe anyone would sign up for the experience without having a clue what was expected. We gave gorilla trekking some thought but I was honestly not sure I was up for the challenge (although it sounds like Track 2 wasn't that hard.) I may have to rethink this!

It sounds like you had an amazing experience and I enjoyed reading all about it. I bet you were grinning ear to ear!
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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 12:16 PM
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Hello fellow Rwanda enthusiasts. Thanks for the replies! It's always encouraging to have people engage with a TR.

Leely, that's funny about trekking vs. tracking. Our guides specifically told us the term is "tracking" not "visiting" because there are no guarantees that we will actually get to visit. So I debated whether to put that term or the term that applied to what we, the tourists, actually did, which was hike. Second group was Agashya.

KTtravel, if you want to experience the gorillas and have a realistic ability to walk uphill and on uneven ground for a couple hours (slowly is fine) then you can do it! We were indeed grinning constantly. My cheeks hurt. It was truly one of the most special things I have ever done.

amyb - Sandals and shorts! Goodness. Shorts are quite the mysterious choice unless you had much hotter weather than we did! The altitude in Volcanoes makes it temperate but we were never hot. I'm so glad your friend didn't hold back that that person was in your way--everyone should be able to have a good experience on such a special adventure!

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Old Sep 1st, 2022, 12:30 PM
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Other activities Volcanoes NP:Golden monkeys - These little primates were a delight and it's easy easy easy to see them. That means that the groups to visit them are very large and includes people who may not have been up for the physical challenge of seeing gorillas or who are not permitted (under 15 y/o) ---the walk is slooooow. Which is just fine! We had a lovely guide for this portion who was full of enthusiasm and patience. We drove about 20 minutes to the start of the trail. As usual, little kids were waving and yelling “hello” to us as we drove along. Our guide took us along the path to the edge of the park to see the monkeys, which are endemic and endangered. He made sure to stop us and explained that all we should do is take photos. After which a man said, “Can we touch the monkeys.” When Patrick told him, “no” the man said, “Can the monkeys touch us.” Sigh. We got to the monkeys and we saw a couple on the outside of the park while everyone was putting down their things and then we went into the bamboo to see them. They were jumping all over the bamboo and scurrying around eating. It was fun to watch them, though people in the group seemed annoyed that they weren’t just sitting there. We overheard someone complain, “I was told they would be on the ground.” We loved watching the gorgeous monkeys, especially once they left the forest and went into the field just outside the wall. There were so many that for the most part we could pick out a personal monkey to hang out with.

Ellen Degeneres Gorilla Center - We stopped at the Ellen Center on our way back and went through it. Dian Fossey’s cabin was the most interesting part of it. But they had a lot of info about the gorilla groups and specific gorillas that have been studied. Pablo group is actually the longest-studied and has members that Dian observed. There’s even a video about them in the displays, although the sound was not working on it while we were there. It's a nice center but I wouldn't call it an essential stop.

Dian Fossey Memorial Hike - Lovely hike --I think it was about 6 miles total. We had a nice group of avid hikers (including some friends from our first gorilla group!). It had rained the night before even though it was the dry season. I have to say that just the mud that appeared after a single day of rain would keep me from ever returning during the rainy season. The guide said that the previous day the trail was dry and dusty. For our hike it was often quite muddy and messy. The hike through the forest is very peaceful and it's meaningful to see the site of Fossey's study area. Whether you do this hike or just see the gorillas, it's worthwhile to watch "Gorillas in the Mist" and to read Fossey's Wiki page to get a full picture of who she was and what a complex person she was. Every Rwandan we spoke with about her expressed reverence for her and considers her the "grandmother" of their tourism industry for the work she did to preserve the wonderful apes. But her life was certainly not without controversial and condemnable choices (not mentioned on the tour). It was especially touching when all the porters and guide cleared off all the fallen leaves from Fossey's and the gorillas's graves to make it tidy and cared-for.


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Old Sep 3rd, 2022, 10:04 AM
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Thank you for your encouragement. Hmm, I may need to add back gorilla trekking (or is it tracking?) to my lengthy travel "to do" list. I am amazed at some of the comments and behavior by other tourists but am happy you had such a wonderful experience.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 01:36 PM
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schlegal, Agashya was the first group I saw. There were many babies in the group, all ttwens and teens now, I suppose.

Sorry to read of all this bad tourist behavior. I guess things have changed considerably in the past decade. I was one of five people on the Golden monkey trek I took (other folks were a family of four).

KTravel, you can also hire porters to help you on your trek--or maybe that's no longer a thing? Schlegal?
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 09:44 AM
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schlegal, I'm reading the book about Heaven now, it's quite a story! Now I need to go back and pay more attention there!

Leely, you're right, you can hire porters. I didn't think I'd want or need them, but was told that I'd be employing former poachers and I wanted to contribute to their non-poaching living. In the end, they carried my bag and my sad butt out of many a deep mud hole. I might still be sitting there without the two I had.
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by schlegal1 View Post
amyb - Sandals and shorts! Goodness. Shorts are quite the mysterious choice unless you had much hotter weather than we did! The altitude in Volcanoes makes it temperate but we were never hot. I'm so glad your friend didn't hold back that that person was in your way--everyone should be able to have a good experience on such a special adventure!
But for the stinging bushes and the potential for bug bites, I would have wanted to be in shorts. It was warm enough for sure but also humid. If I were working out at home, I'd definitely have worn shorts and a tshirt if not a tank top. I was a sweaty mess all three days.

The people who want the guides to get the monkeys on the ground or let them touch them are probably the same ones throwing water bottles at sleeping lions to get them looking up for a photo. (Yes, it happens...)
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