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Zubbie15

A tale of two safaris, part deux (or, now I know why they're called MOUNTAIN gorillas!)

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rjwafrica

@@SafariChick My spouse and I (72 and 65) did the trek last February and altitude did not seem to bother us. We also had Treks2Rwanda make the Rwanda arrangements. We asked Norbert to request 2 easy treks. The first one actually was to a family that what we had read about was "modestly difficult" Kwitonda. It actually was not overly difficult. The family happened to be lower on the mountain. 1 to1 1/2 hour trek. Fantastic hour that we spent. Mommas, babies, show off young ones and of course the silver back. They were all around us. Can't give justice in words to describe!

The second group Sabyino is supposed to be the easiest. It was far from easy. Just as we entered the forest it started to down pour. The gorillas had been moving and the trackers had a hard time locating. It was really slippery! Thank goodness for the porters. DO hire a porter! $10 plus we gave a $10 tip (actually more because of the difficult walking conditions we gave more) We finally caught up with the family. Not as good of sighting as we were above them on a slope and only saw half of the family. It was still great especially to see the massive silverback.

Some tips:

hire a porter (you are spending $750 for a permit to go so $20 more should not be an issue) They help you not only to carry any back pack but to help you over difficult areas.

garden gloves and gaiters for the stinging nettles (most of the lodges have gaiters to use or rent)

light weight rain gear

dress in layers

good boots

 

Just do some walking and you will do fine. Relax and enjoy a lifetime experience!

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Zubbie15

@@SafariChick, I think you will be fine, don't worry too much. From what we could tell, the easy hikes were generally filled with people in retirement age, and they all handled it fine, so I'm sure you'll be fine with those at a minimum. Your guide, and the rangers, are going to ensure you have an enjoyable trip, so just discuss with them any concerns and they'll make sure it works out. I'd definitely hire a porter for your bag, though - they also are great at giving a helping hand in tough spots. Like @@ld1 says, I think the altitude was the main issue - maybe it gives you a good excuse to spend some weekends in the Sierras before your trip. :)

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dlo

@@SafariChick

 

As others have said you will be fine, we saw some people really struggling and others more of the mountain goat variety but you just go at the slowest persons pace and everyone makes it no problem. For us it rained a bit and the trail was very slippery so it was slow going anyway. That is amazing about the weight loss so with the effort you have put it I am sure you will enjoy a well deserved visit with the gorillas!

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Sande David

I have enjoyed your report, and mostly the photos! Thank you for visiting Rwanda.

 

If your are lucky on your golden monkey trek the monkeys will move out of the bamboo into the potato gardens which they love so much, thereby giving you a field day of pictures and wonderful views!

 

golden-monkey-eating-potato.jpg

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Alexander33

@@Zubbie15

 

Really enjoyed your trip report. Sorry for getting to it so late. We are headed to Rwanda next July, and you have definitely whetted my appetite! I hope we have as good fortune as you did with the quality of your gorilla sightings.

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Zubbie15

Thanks @@Alexander33, you're going to have a great trip.

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pault

@@Zubbie15. Really good report about your trip. Hope your wife has forgiven you by now. You really should have volunteered as slowest before the ranger picked her out, you cad. I really like the look of the golden monkeys but the gorillas are of course the highlight. You had some wonderful sightings. The area is so fragile - so little left for the gorillas... thanks for your descriptions of that and everything else. Really enjoyed it.

 

Tour groups are the curse of the volcanoes. You must (like me) have done something bad to deserve one - ask your wife what it was, perhaps?

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optig

@@Zubbie15 I have to say that I had no idea that golden monkeys were such amazing,beguiling creatures. I'm almost as eager to see them as I am to make another gorilla trek. I also have to say that Rwanda is underrated for it's physical beauty;it's just gorgeous. Of course I've done a huge amount of research about the genocide,and aftermath so I'd love to see the museum.

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Zubbie15

@@Zubbie15. Really good report about your trip. Hope your wife has forgiven you by now. You really should have volunteered as slowest before the ranger picked her out, you cad. I really like the look of the golden monkeys but the gorillas are of course the highlight. You had some wonderful sightings. The area is so fragile - so little left for the gorillas... thanks for your descriptions of that and everything else. Really enjoyed it.

 

Tour groups are the curse of the volcanoes. You must (like me) have done something bad to deserve one - ask your wife what it was, perhaps?

 

Haha @@pault, that's probably what I should have done, but at the time I didn't realize the ranger was going to make my wife become the leader, and once I did, I tried to go to the front but was told I should stay at the back to "protect the group." In the end it worked out alright though, I think everyone in the group was happy with a relaxed pace.

 

@@Zubbie15 I have to say that I had no idea that golden monkeys were such amazing,beguiling creatures. I'm almost as eager to see them as I am to make another gorilla trek. I also have to say that Rwanda is underrated for it's physical beauty;it's just gorgeous. Of course I've done a huge amount of research about the genocide,and aftermath so I'd love to see the museum.

 

@@optig, I didn't really expect much from the golden monkeys, but since time in Africa is so precious to me I didn't really want to do nothing on our last day, so we booked it. It certainly surpassed my expectations, although the photography was challenging given how quickly they were moving around. I'd definitely recommend it if anyone has the time to do it.

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optig

@zubbie,I never tire of watching monkeys while on safari. Their antics always amusing. I love watching them from my window. They are simply fabulous. Baboons are also just awesome. I'll never forget waking up on my last safari to the sound of a troop of hysterical baboons forced up a tree by a leopard. Baboons are just awesome to watch not only on the ground,but watching them climb as well.

 

 

 

 

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Geoff

@@Zubbie15 Excellent report with some impressive images.

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Atravelynn

What a fabulous group of shots in page 1, especially the gorillas but also the flowers. I understand how you felt about taking photos in Kigali. That one month old is just precious. Glad the rain did not hamper your first visit.

 

"So just one more reason to suggest hiring a porter, and grabbing a hiking stick, as you don't know what the conditions will be in the park. " good advice

Edited by Atravelynn

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Zubbie15

Thanks for reading along @@Atravelynn, I appreciate the kind comments.

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Atravelynn

The silverback needs a teeth cleaning- dentist's dream :wub:

I was just going to write that your photos have more mouth/teeth/gums shots of the gorillas than I have seen before. Are you in the dental field, @zubbie?

 

Your attention to hands and feet (as discussed earlier in the report) also makes interesting photos. Despite the bright sun and shadowy challenges you mention, you picked good angles and camera settings to meet those challenges.

 

"stopping to give me a light punch in the leg as he passed me by." Lucky you.

 

The contrast between your first and second hike was interesting. Nothing is ever predictable with the gorillas.

 

...or the golden monkeys. You overcame rain, ants, and Italians to get some great shots (even a flying monkey) of the golden monkeys, even though these are tougher subjects, usually, than gorillas.

 

"- It’s hard to generalize after two hikes, but I felt that it was an advantage to have the two rangers with us" Did you mention how to get 2 rangers or why you had 2 rangers instead of 1?

 

Green season Ndutu and the gorillas (and golden monkeys) is some of Africa's finest. For someone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime trip of typical African highlights, this could be it.

Edited by Atravelynn

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Zubbie15

Haha, I'm actually not in the dental field @@Atravelynn. I think I was just trying to get "action" shots of the gorillas, and for a lot of them the action involved open mouths.

 

Did you mention how to get 2 rangers or why you had 2 rangers instead of 1?

Hmmm, we actually didn't ask why there were two one day and only one the other. If I was going to guess, I'd imagine that the fact that the second day was quieter contributed. There may have been some families that didn't get hiked to that day, perhaps allowing the rangers to double-up. Or, alternatively, the second day was supposed to be an easy hike, which attract in general older hikers and so maybe there are generally more rangers. It's a good question, and one I should have thought to ask!

 

Green season Ndutu and the gorillas (and golden monkeys) is some of Africa's finest. For someone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime trip of typical African highlights, this could be it.

Totally agree, I can't say that I had any complaints about this trip (apart from the fact that it went by much too quickly).

Edited by Zubbie15

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Atravelynn

Haha, I'm actually not in the dental field @@Atravelynn. I think I was just trying to get "action" shots of the gorillas, and for a lot of them the action involved open mouths. You may have a second career awaiting you out there!

 

Did you mention how to get 2 rangers or why you had 2 rangers instead of 1?

Hmmm, we actually didn't ask why there were two one day and only one the other. If I was going to guess, I'd imagine that the fact that the second day was quieter contributed. There may have been some families that didn't get hiked to that day, perhaps allowing the rangers to double-up. Or, alternatively, the second day was supposed to be an easy hike, which attract in general older hikers and so maybe there are generally more rangers. It's a good question, and one I should have thought to ask! Oh, good possibilities. You were fortunate it played out to your advantage.

 

Green season Ndutu and the gorillas (and golden monkeys) is some of Africa's finest. For someone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime trip of typical African highlights, this could be it.

Totally agree, I can't say that I had any complaints about this trip (apart from the fact that it went by much too quickly). Always the problem!

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