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amybatt

Gorillas, George Michael and Fingers Crossed -- No Trek Untaken

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michael-ibk

Great report, @@amybatt , really wonderful re-living the awesomeness of Gorilla trekking through your report. I am happy you had such good - and different - sightings, and the photos turned out super! Hm, I do not remember Red Ants at all, apparently we successfully evaded them. Don't know if I mentioned this in my report but one group was attacked by "killer bees" on a hike as the lady who told me this put it. I do remember that girl from the memorial - haunting. Thanks again, so much enjoyed this!

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SafariChick

@@amybatt really enjoyed this and you got some wonderful photos! I'm about to start my report on my Rwanda visit which was just before yours as you know (how did you manage to do this so quickly?! I still haven't gone through all my photos and videos!) Well done!

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amybatt

@@SafariChick, I sort of cheat. As a sort-of aspiring writer, I write an hour a day no matter where I am, and when I travel a lot of that goes on my blog. So the narrative is written when I get home, I just edit it for here and pair it with photos.

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Atravelynn

Wow @@amybatt! Great photos - you did very well choosing the camera and learning how to use it.

 

And your turnaround time on this TR makes us all look bad! Agreed! Incredible.

 

You're an exemplary Safaritalker.

 

The golden monkeys were so cooperative for you and I am glad you had more to show for the gorilla trek than a big worm! I can see why you chose the portrait as your fav. But you got an array of expressive shots.

 

Your spinning likely helped propel you up the mountain, along with Appollonaire and crooning George Michael likely helped Kim. A winning combination.

 

"I am a very fortunate person to have the privilege to be this close to such amazing creatures." So true and important to acknowledge.

Edited by Atravelynn

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amybatt

I think we struck it lucky with the golden monkeys, @@Atravelynn. Callixte, who was our for the monkeys and day 1 of the gorillas, said that he really enjoyed our golden monkey experience because they came down from the trees pretty quickly and spread out into clearings which meant we could all enjoy them at ground level. If you look at Kim's photos, she has entirely different monkeys with different backgrounds because we split up taking photos that day. I underestimated how much fun they'd be to watch. They're active like mischievous little kids but also so photogenic with that halo of golden fur and the sweet little faces!

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Tulips

I'm so excited to read this. I'm off to Rwanda and Uganda with a stop in Kenya later this year

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mtanenbaum

Your pictures are amazing! I'm planning on Uganda for after Xmas this year and will plan to do a gorilla trek and also the chimps! I loved reading your report.

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jeremie

You have remarkable pictures. Thank you so much for sharing this TR! :)

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Kitsafari

@@amybatt please tell Kim she's an inspiration to me, who isn't fit, never been fit since age 21, and will never be fit. So it she survive 3 treks, then I have to take heart that I can too. although i think i'd have to take 2 porters so if my back ever gives, or my legs turn into jelly, they can carry me up or down.

 

Wonderful pictures of their very expressive and so human faces (although the non-tree huggers will shudder at this anthropomorphic comment!)

 

so hopefully one day...

 

Your Sony camera delivered! coincidentally, my husband was recommending to me this particular model as an upgrade from my Lumix FZ200. I'm a complete idiot with cameras and my Lumix is fixed at auto, so I'm not sure if upgrading will work but my poor Lumix is aging so I do have to look for an alternative. Did you have a thread on the camera in ST?

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optig

@@Kitsafari you'll manage gorilla trekking because I was amazed at how well you handled walking at Gonorezhou National Park. As you know I think that your'e a gutsy,brave lady-in fact a real trooper. Thanks to you I'm finally learning how to use my Lumix FZ200. If you buy an alternative I'll get the same one because I know that you have the same problems with technology as I do.

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amybatt

@@Kitsafari, I agree with optig, I think you've done some pretty substantial trips of your own that you could handle gorilla trekking. Kim would be the first to tell you that too! ;-)

 

I did hijack this thread with some discussion on the Sony. Ultimately it was the feedback I got there that pushed me to the Sony. I'm SOOOO glad I upgraded. My only regret is it is bigger/heavier/more advanced than I need for any other travel or purpose, so it's really only going to get used on safari. Which isn't a problem, I'm not through with safari yet! I'm thrilled with how good the Sony is, it was a significant improvement over my Nikon. I'd just take a class or two on how to use it. I shot in Aperture priority for a lot of the time and learned how to do the white balance adjustment. Never full-on manual mode. I don't have a photographer's sense of judgement but I think the photos make me look a lot better than I am!

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optig

I have to stress, based upon my own unfortunate experience while chimp trekking in Kibale National Park in Uganda I urge everyone who goes walking, to please wear waterproof hiking boots which offer ankle support. I didn't do this and twisted my ankle which was very painful. I managed to keep going with a twisted ankle and did see the chimp; I also went gorilla trekking with a bad ankle. However, I learned my lesson the hard way and I never go walking anymore with boots which offer solid ankle support. This is particularly true, when going chimp or gorilla trekking.

Edited by optig

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Tulips

@amybatt  I'm also staying at the Lemigo and am hoping to have an experience more like your first stay there than your second.

 

I'm at the Gorilla Mountain View Lodge and your description has me worried!  Would rather sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag than a mouldy mattress!

 

It sounds like you did not get an East African Visa even though you were going to Rwanda and Kenya.  Is that correct?

 

also, did you find the walking stick helped?  Trying to decide if it would be worth purchasing poles.

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amybatt

Hi @Tulips! If you can, I"d request a room at the Lemigo at the front of the hotel.  We were at the back, in what felt like a back building connected to the front one, if that makes sense.

 

I did not get the E. African visa since doing the math at the time it was cheaper to do just the two.  And by now I'm sure you know not to bother to get the Rwandan one ahead of time, just not worth the hassle.  For me the jury is still out on the Kenyan one, since there was no one but us landing on our flight from Kigali to Nairobi for me to fairly compare the experiences to when I landed coming from Amsterdam.

 

YES!  Use the walking sticks they have at the head of the trails.  I wouldn't buy poles.  You can take one or two if you want.  They're kind of cute, all with gorilla heads, and they're thick and sturdy.  The rangers bring more than enough for everyone.  I used it as a third appendage of sorts, when things got tough and I needed either another foothold, some where else to push off of or as another point of balance.  I used one for all three treks (golden monkeys included).

 

How long until you go??

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Tulips

Thanks @amybatt.  I'll see if the Lemigo can accomodate a room request.

 

Its going to cost $130 to do the East African vs. three visas as I'm adding Uganda to the mix.  Totally makes sense in your case.

 

Great to know they provide the poles.  One less thing to spend money on.

 

Are you broken into groups for the monkeys also?

 

60 days, but, I'm not really counting!  LOL!

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amybatt

@Tulips yes that does make more sense for you to get the E. African visa.

 

There was just one big group of us for the monkeys, about 20 of us.  I don't think there was more than one group that went out for the monkeys.  The larger group was fine though because there were so many monkeys and they were so spread out over a more accessible area.  We were more free to roam on our own a bit and approach the monkeys (likely less of a security concern that they'd kill us if we approached them like with the gorillas!)

 

It'll go by quick, or I'll hope that it will for you!  This is the home stretch!  I got a bunch of hiking gear on sale at REI last year at this time, so if you need anything it might be worth checking out. 

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monalisa

Oh how I wish I could have done the gorilla trek!! This is amazeballs!!!!! Your photos really pop and I *almost* feel like I'm there with them too :)

What a real privilege to get to hang out with them.

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Tulips

@amybatt on my last safari, I rolled my clothes in large ziplock bags to save space.    But, I think these are banned in Rwanda, is that correct?

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amybatt

@tulips I used the ziplock bags too. No one checked. I think they mean more the grocery store bags that get let loose in the environment! At least that's what I told myself....

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Tulips

@amybatt I hope so as I find the zip locks better than packing cubes.

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Tulips

Hi @amybatt, I see the Lipault is on sale for quite a good deal.  I wonder, does it have a harder back where the handle is?

I have this bag and is soft all around, but hard on the bottom.  I took it to Africa last year and had no problems, but was flying Airlink small jets rather than cessnas.  Don't want to buy another bag if I don't have to.

 

https://www.jet-setter.ca/collections/eagle-creek/products/no-matter-what-28-rolling-flatbed-duffel?variant=4392988228

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Tulips

Now that I've asked, I see the Lipault are all sold out.  I don't think they are making that kind anymore because all I see available now are ones with the wheels stuck out.  I guess that's why they were on for such a good price.

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amybatt

HI @Tulips It isn't hard where the handle is, but for the "rails" you feel in there from the collapsible handle. That's really what I like about it, is that it's soft side all over but for that and where the wheels attach.  Bummer that it's sold out.  I told some folks on Fodors about it too and I know the Lipault ladies here advertised it quite well as that's how I found out about it.  I like it so much better than my big wheel-less duffle.

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CaroleE

@amybatt

What a fantastic trip report! Has everything - background info, great photos (the Sony really worked out well), info about flora (often ognored), humour and Jack Hanna.

Is the first time George Michael has made it into a TR? I was wondering how he would fit into the story :)

So pleased all the treks went well, the golden monkeys look great.
Think they need to introduce boot cleaning in Uganda......still have nightmares about getting mine clean atter 2 sets of chimps and then gorillas!

Really useful TR not only for the info (porters!!) but also the sheer sense of achievement and wonderment you get after seeing the gorillas. Should be a must read for those considering such a trip.

Am now off to find the Kenya bit, I honestly cannot remember if I have read it yet.

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amybatt

@CaroleE thanks for reading along!  It's funny because I remember back in Feb we were both still so sad about George's passing that it felt good to be together as children of the 80s and listen to him and sing him on drives or hikes or whatever.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the TR.  It was fun to write.  I so wish I could go again!

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