A gorilla trek in Rwanda is no regular safari

Difficult hike becomes worth it once in the presence of these wondrous creatures

Kate Scroggins, For Ottawa Citizen; Canwest News Service

Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008

We returned to the jeep, soaked and covered from head to toe in mud. I sank into my seat and breathed a sigh of mixed relief and exhaustion. I may not be a mountain climber, or even "one with nature," but for one day, it was worth it to pretend.


- When to go: I went in early June and temperatures were chilly. The best time is during the long dry season, from mid-June to September. But bring a raincoat anytime you go.

 Permits: Trekking permits are available from the ORTPN (Rwanda's department of tourism) office in Kigali, or book by e-mailing reservationrwandatourism.com. A permit costs $500 US. During the dry season, permits go very quickly; book a few weeks in advance.

- Transport: Trekkers are responsible for their own transport to and from Volcanoes National Park. Safari jeeps can fit up to six people and cost about $200 US for the day. ORTPN has a list of drivers.

- Itinerary: Tours start at 7 a.m. Trekkers are assigned a gorilla family and receive a short briefing. Groups travel by jeep to the base of the mountain, where the trek begins at 8:15 a.m. It can take from one to four hours to reach the gorillas, depending on where your family is located.

- What to wear: It's best to wear long pants and a jacket to avoid scratches and to protect against vicious stinging needles. Running shoes will cut it, but hiking boots are preferable.

- Shots: The government requires all visitors to get a yellow fever vaccination prior to travelling to Rwanda. Shots for malaria, typhoid, hepatitis A and B are also recommended.

- Documents: Canadians need a passport and proof of vaccinations to travel to Rwanda.

- Currency: Rwandan francs or U.S. dollars are preferred. Traveller's cheques are difficult to cash.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
Procurement Consultant
Gsm: +250-08470205
Home: +250-55104140
P.O. Box 3867
East Africa
Blog: http://www.cepgl.blogspot.com
Skype ID : Kayisa66

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