Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jan 18, 2013 1:06 PM Last Post By: catfriend
Dec 18, 2012 10:06 PM
Dec 19, 2012 12:40 AM
I've heard that the groups near Buhoma (the north of Bwindi NP) are easier to track.
Maybe you can get information about this.
By the way, I was in the south of Bwindi and the tracking wasn't that hard. I even heard that Nkuringo or Nshongi groups
were very close to the trailhead and didn't involve too much hiking through the forest.
Why pay $750 ? Have a little more confidence you can do it. It's not like your about to go climbing mountains or something.
You have avg fitness, so you will be oke.
Dec 19, 2012 11:30 AM
2Part of the reason I chose to see the gorillas in Rwanda v Uganda was for that very reason: I had heard that treks were typically shorter in Rwanda, even just a few minutes, to up to several hours in Uganda. In my case this was definitely true. My group's trek to the gorillas was 20-30 minutes. Clearly I made the right decision for me.
A note on the hiking: Expect the conditions to be cool, wet, muddy and slippery. Even if it is not raining you will likely encounter slippery mud. You will be trekking through the jungle, not on established paths. You will be trekking in the mountains. This might not be the Andes, but it's high enough that you're going to notice. How do you do at high altitudes? Over the years I have managed to figure out I don't do so well at high altitudes. YMMV.
If I were to go to see the gorillas again, and I'd love to, I would pay the $ 750 and do it in Rwanda. I may bitch about gorilla tourism ripoff and attitude in Rwanda, but I would rather pay the extra $ 250 and put up with it for the shorter trek than to risk a trek of several hours in Uganda, and I am a lot younger than 63 and in pretty good aerobic shape from swimming and hiking. At 63 with an average level of fitness I believe you would manage the trek in Rwanda just fine. Several hours at altitude in slick conditions? Only you can answer that.
It's not confidence as poster 2 indicated. It's what you feel you can do and want to do at a given point in time. After all, this is your vacation.
One caveat: there is a certain amount of luck involved. I've read numerous anecdotes of the gorillas coming into the camps in Uganda, and some of the treks being shorter sometimes, etc. It can happen. Gorillas move around. In Rwanda the gorillas are tracked, and the guides have a pretty good idea of where they are. It is possible to ask to be assigned to a group expected to have a short and/or easy trek to the gorillas. (I don't know whether this is possible in Uganda.)
As for arrangements you can make arrangements to see the gorillas on your own. You can book a ticket with RDB directly. Just google gorilla permit booking rwanda. Public transport is quite easy between Uganda and Rwanda as well. You won't be alone. If you're not comfortable doing it on your own, and it really is quite easy, there are numerous agencies ready to do this for you for a fee. Once you see what those agencies charge you might reconsider and book it on your own.
Dec 19, 2012 6:49 PM
3thanks eveyone, I will seriously think about doing it on my own. I'm not great at high altitudes, so that's another reason I was looking at Rwanda
Dec 19, 2012 7:01 PM
Dec 20, 2012 2:35 AM
5Don't agree with poster #4.
There are gorilla groups in Uganda which are easy to track. I had a group which was harder to track, but it was still oke.
If you have information you can choose a group which isn't hard at all and you can stay in Uganda and won't have to bother with
crossing the borders (and save money). I believe in Buhoma there are easier gorilla trackings. Even Nkuringo and Nshongi groups.
As altitude concerns, you won't suffer from altitude sickness in any way because the elevation is much lower than the height on which
altitude sickness occurs. Believe me, if have experience with high altitudes. If you start climbing a volcano in that area, yes then you will suffer from the height, but not on gorilla tracking. The trail can be a bit hard, but that's all.
You can easily buy a permit through UWA and start organising your gorilla tracking by yourself. Maybe in the worst case you have to hire a private car to the trailhead. Transportation in Uganda is very easy to arrange, no touroperator needed. Don't throw your money away and use it for the important activities.
Dec 20, 2012 10:33 PM
Jan 17, 2013 9:41 AM
We are just back from a DIY trip through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. We did Gorilla trekking both in Rwanda and in southern Bwindi. The $250 extra in Rwanda is worth it as it is much better organised, easier to get to (the roads around Bwindi are a nightmare even in the dry season), they assign you to one of 7 different groups based on where the Gorillas are that day and your fitness (in Bwindi your permit is for a specific group regardless of where they might be that day - we had a 2 hour hike hacking through dense and steep jungle although some are much easier, depending on where the gorillas happen to be that day) and more importantly (at least from our experience) the jungle in Bwindi is much denser so that our viewing of the Gorillas was 100 times better in Rwanda. We had the opinion that due to the price increase in Rwanda this year, there were less people than usual so that permits were easier to come by at short notice than we had been lead to believe.
We struggled to get through to RDB for the Rwanda permit booking so booked through Amohoro Tours in Musanze which worked well and they proved very helpful. They can also organise local jeep transport into the trekking which unfortunately is a bit expensive unless you can share with others.
As we read on TT beforehand that the public travel options which we used around Rwanda and normally prefer were hard to make work around the national parks in Uganda without losing a lot of time, we opted for a 5 day jeep and driver hire starting from Musanze, Rwanda going through Bwindi and then across the QENP taking in Ishasha (we were lucky to have some great tree-climbing lion spottings) and up to the picturesque Myewa peninsula for game drives before being dropped off at Kigale National Park where we had a fantastic experience doing the full day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) - highly recommended as was the nearby wetlands walk just outside the park.
Based on a recommendation in TT, we went with Aron Mugisha who is the owner of Safari 2 Gorilla Tours in Kabale and this worked very well. He was a very good and reliable guide with a good safari style jeep and was very flexible to cater to what we wanted to do and who we can recommend.
Jan 18, 2013 5:46 AM
8Rich4travel and catfriend.. I really think your posts are non-sense. Sorry but, the only reason why someone can pay 500 or 750 usd is because you want the chance to meet one of the most amazing, wild and endengerd species in the world. 20 min to reach them from a luxury lodge means you both went to a zoo! Rwanda is applying a really bad politic. Gorilla don't have to stay to close to humans. Agian, why pay so much for something that it's so easy and close????
I suggest everybody to track Gorilla in Bwindi, Mgahinga or DRC. Your experience will be 100 times deeper. Trust me.
Jan 18, 2013 1:06 PM
9lansolo82 - Exactly what strikes you as nonsense? That I did not trek enough time to meet your standards? Let me correct some of your misinformation. In previous posts, which have probably been deleted in the recent TT purge, I have detailed my experience so I hope this is not redundant to others. I did not stay at a luxury lodge. In fact, I have NEVER stayed at anyplace remotely resembling a luxury lodge. In Ruhengeri I stated at Knigi Guesthouse. Knigi is basic by nearly any standard. Overpriced in my opinion, but there is no part of Knigi that resembles luxury. To be more specific I have stayed at nicer backpacker lodges than Knigi, but Ruhengeri doesn't offer a lot of reasonable options, and Knigi is only a one block walk to the ranger HQ. I did not pay $ 80 for a private vehicle, but hitched a ride with fellow hotel guests. I also took public transport between Ruhengeri and the Ugandan border. I hardly consider these examples of luxury travel.
Yeah, gorillas don't have stay close to humans. They don't always, either. They go where they please. That's why some groups have to trek hours and others don't. Note I indicated there is a certain amount of luck involved. There are no guarantees.
I don't understand the judgmental attitude of posters who seem to feel that if some activity isn't done in the way they see appropriate - in your case trekking in the jungle for hours to see gorillas as opposed to a shorter trek - that their experience is somehow tainted or less authentic. It isn't. It's just different. Each traveller needs to pick the option(s) that best suit him/herself and travel style, not somebody else's ideal.
If you read the OP she is a woman in her 60s who would like to see the gorillas, has heard the trek is easier in Rwanda, and was looking for validation of this and/or tour recommendations for this. I stand by my recommendation that the Rwanda trek will probably be easier for her, and that she can easily make the arrangements herself, although there are plenty of operators out there ready to arrange it for her at a very high price. I might make a different recommendation for a very fit guy in his mid 20s, especially one who stated he enjoys high alpine scrambling. Again, this falls under the heading of different travellers have different needs.
Why pay $ 500 or $ 750? Because that's what the price is. If you've got a problem with that I suggest you take it up with the relevant authorities, and good luck with that. Let us all know how that works out for you.
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