Remarkable Rwanda & Gorillas of Uganda
from $5060
Duration: 9 Days
Rwanda is oft-missed destination that every human should visit. Not only will you learn about the devastating events that took place here, you'll also witness a beautiful country that's continuously striving to move forward. Combine this with an unforgettable adventure searching for the mountain gorillas of Uganda and you've got a trip that can sometimes be physically and emotionally challenging, but will be talked about for the rest of your life.
  • With gorilla permits included in the price of the trip, seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Uganda's steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.
  • Learn about Rwanda's devastating history with visits to different genocide museums and churches of significance
  • Visit Mikozi Village and become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar
  • Spend two nights in beautiful Gisenyi at a resort on the north shore of Lake Kivu. Here, spend free time hiking, taking a boat cruise, touring the town or simply walking the lakeside.
  • Enjoy an optional cycling tour around the twin lakes on the outskirts of Ruhengeri, passing through small towns and villages where you will have extended time interacting with the local community.
  • Kigali - City Tour
  • Kigali - Nyamata Memorial Site
  • Kigali - Ntarama Church
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial Centre
  • Gisenyi - Morning Town Visit
  • Kisoro - Village Visit
  • Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
  • Day 1 Location: Kigali
    Welcome to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda since it gained independence in 1962. Most associate Rwanda with the the horrific genocide that took place in 1994, but this is a country that has been striving to rebuild its economy for years and offers so much to the Intrepid traveller. And though the past won't, and shouldn't, be forgotten, the future of Rwanda's tourism is looking bright thanks to its welcoming people, an abundance of lakes and the beautiful Virunga Mountains. Your adventure begins by meeting your fellow travellers at 6 pm.
    Day 2 Location: Kigali
    After breakfast you'll proceed to Ntarama Church, approximately 30 km outside of Kigali. Today presents some confronting reminders of the country's past, and this church is now a chilling memorial to the 5000 people slaughtered inside during the 1994 genocide. Inside, shelves of skulls and piles of bone can be seen as well as the clothes of victims hanging from the walls and rafters. Afterwards, the group will travel to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, a former church where some 50,000 people were murdered. This site pays particular attention to the atrocities suffered by women during the genocide. We take some time out from the devastating history with a local lunch and an afternoon city tour, including a trip to the craft market. This evening your leader will take you to their favourite restaurant for an optional dinner.
    Day 3 Location: Gisenyi (Lake Kivu)
    This morning we visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which was opened in 2004 to mark the 10th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi people. It serves as both a museum, detailing the history and consequences of Rwanda's genocide, and a place for people to grieve for lost friends and family. The group will then head to Gisenyi (approx 3.5 hours), a town on the shore of the beautiful Lake Kivu. Enjoy a free afternoon at your waterfront hotel.
    Day 4 Location: Gisenyi (Lake Kivu)
    Enjoy a free day in Gisenyi on Lake Kivu's northern edge. Kivu is one of of Africa's Great Lakes – Rwanda's largest and Africa's sixth-largest – and is a natural border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Your leader can help you plan how to spend the day: perhaps take a boat cruise around the lake spotting birdlife and visiting some of the small islands, or maybe take a trip to Napoleon Island to go hiking and encounter birds and its large colony of fruit bats. Alternatively, spend the day getting to know Gisenyi and the colonial-era mansions and bars that sit by the lake.
    Day 5 Location: Kisoro
    Enjoy breakfast by Lake Kivu then transfer across the border to Kisoro (approx 2 hours plus the border crossing), a Ugandan town on the shore of Lake Mutanda. Kisoro, located near the Virguna Mountains, is the jumping-off point for several national parks and, of course, those in search of the country's mountain gorillas. In the afternoon you'll head to Mikozi Village to become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar before returning to Kisoro.
    Day 6 Location: Kisoro (Gorilla Trek)
    Join a local guide and trackers as you climb through the rugged, mountainous terrain of Bwindi National Park in search of mountain gorillas. A quick lock of eyes with these creatures is a truly primal moment and visits are strictly controlled to minimise disturbance. Make no mistake, tracking gorillas is no walk in the park – it's called Bwinidi Impenetrable National Park for a reason. It can be wet, muddy, strenuous and uncomfortable, but the indescribable elation at coming across a group of gorillas is worth the effort. Spend a mesmerising hour with the gorillas as they eat, sleep, groom and play as the male silverback watches over them, then return to the lodge for dinner and to reflect on this incredible experience.
    Day 7 Location: Ruhengeri
    Transfer this morning back to Rwanda and the town of Ruhengeri (approximately 1 hour plus the border crossing), still buzzing from your gorilla encounter. Settle into your hotel on arrival then have a free day to take the optional cycling tour to Rwanda's twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo. This area is characterised by steep green hills and magnificent views of the mountains surrounding the lakes. Here you can pedal through the stunning countryside, stopping in small towns and villages to spend some time interacting with the local community.
    Day 8 Location: Ruhengeri
    Today is free for you to choose from several optional activities after breakfast at the lodge. Perhaps you'd like to pursue your passion for primates and join a park ranger tracking golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. These monkeys are much quicker than gorillas and you'll see them swinging from branch to branch and scampering up trees. Alternatively, take a hike focused on the work of Dian Fossey, the groundbreaking gorilla researcher. It's an incredible experience, both physically and emotionally, and you'll trek through the jungle to her grave and the house in which she was mysteriously murdered in 1985. She's buried next to her favourite gorilla – Digit – as well as number of other mountain gorillas killed by pochers. In the evening, choose whether to attend an optional dinner with the rest of your group.
    Day 9 Location: Kigali
    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then head back to the hotel in Kigali (approx 2.5 hours). Here the trip comes to end and there are no other activities planned.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    14MAY2020
    Return Date:
    22MAY2020
    5060NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    11JUN2020
    Return Date:
    19JUN2020
    5110NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25JUN2020
    Return Date:
    03JUL2020
    4915NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    23JUL2020
    Return Date:
    31JUL2020
    5495NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20AUG2020
    Return Date:
    28AUG2020
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03SEP2020
    Return Date:
    11SEP2020
    5550NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10SEP2020
    Return Date:
    18SEP2020
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17SEP2020
    Return Date:
    25SEP2020
    5495NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    24SEP2020
    Return Date:
    02OCT2020
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    15OCT2020
    Return Date:
    23OCT2020
    5285NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    26 Feb 2020

    Trip title

    Remarkable Rwanda & Gorillas of Uganda

    Trip code

    YGSU

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Rwanda is oft-missed destination that every human should visit. Not only will you learn about the devastating events that took place here, you'll also witness a beautiful country that's continuously striving to move forward. Combine this with an unforgettable adventure searching for the mountain gorillas of Uganda and you've got a trip that can sometimes be physically and emotionally challenging, but will be talked about for the rest of your life.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Wildlife

    Transport

    4WD vehicles

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    You'll need to be fit enough to trek to the location of your family of mountain gorillas. This may involve up to 5 hours of walking up and down hills, in hot and humid conditions and through tropical (and at times thick) foliage. There may be mud underfoot which will make the trekking slippery. You'll be expected to carry your own personal needs for this trek including water and a rain jacket as well as your camera equipment. For the remainder of the safari, you do not need any real fitness besides the ability to get in and out of the safari vehicles. The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day. Please also note that the roads, particularly in Kenya, are in quite poor condition and you may experience a fair amount of bouncing around.

    Joining point

    Beausejour Hotel

    Airport Road

    Kigali

    Kigali

    RWANDA

    Phone: +250 252580760

    Finish point

    Beausejour Hotel

    Airport Road

    Kigali

    Kigali

    RWANDA

    Phone: +250 252580760

    Important information

    1.This trip requires a higher non-refundable deposit (AUD1000, USD1000, EUR800, NZD1250, GBP650, CAD1000, ZAR8000, CHF900) in order to secure the included gorilla permit. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 45 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking. 2. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip, subject to availability. 3. This trip finishes upon arrival in Kigali on Day 9. Please do not book any flights until after 3pm in the afternoon.

    Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

    BILHARZIA Bilharzia is a parasitical disease which is usually spread by swimming in contaminated water. It can be assumed that the infection is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in almost all water sources, but most especially in shallow reedy waters in the vicinity of villages. Although the adult parasites do not themselves cause a great deal of harm, after about 4-6 weeks they start to lay eggs, which triggers an intense but usually ineffective immune response, the symptoms of which can include fever, cough, abdominal pain, and an itchy skin complaint known as safari itch. After a while the symptoms settle down and the patient is left with a sense of feeling tired all the time.

    Visas

    PASSPORT As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. EAST AFRICA TOURIST VISA The East Africa Tourist Visa allows for travel between Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda with the same multiple entry visa. The East Africa Tourist Visa is a multiple entry visa and is valid for 90 days. The visa costs USD100 and is the best option for passengers travelling to all 3 of the countries. For those arriving in into Kenya first, the only option to gain this visa, is on arrival at the Nairobi airport. At the airport you will need to complete the regular Kenya visa form and clarify you want to pay the extra USD$50 for the East African visa. Please ensure they provide you with all 3 visas. This can only be paid in USD, EUR or GBP cash. * This is the best option for travellers wanting to do a day excursion to Kisoro, Uganda into Rwanda * If beginning your trip in Rwanda, you can apply through the Rwanda Online Visa Application System. Under "Type of Visa" select "East Africa Tourist Visa." If you're visiting Kenya and Uganda only, and arriving into Kenya via Nairobi Airport and crossing into Uganda by land, we recommend an E-visa for Kenya, and a visa on arrival for Uganda (paid in cash), as these are the most efficient options. See below for further details. RWANDA: Visas are required for entry into Rwanda by all nationalities. Some nationalities are eligible for visa on arrival. The visa costs approximately USD30. For nationalities that need to be obtain a visa online in advance. The visa application process can be found at www.migration.gov.rw. The visa takes approximately 2-5 days to process. You must have a copy of this visa with you to present upon arrival. Supporting documentation may also be required - the embassy will contact you if they require these. If you are asked to provide a contact in Rwanda, on your visa form or on arrival, please use the hotel details below: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel Ruhengeri, Rwanda +250 739 373 971 UGANDA: Arriving by Land (visa on arrival): If arriving into Uganda by land it is best to either obtain a visa on arrival and pay in cash, or, obtain the East Africa visa on arrival at Nairobi airport. This is due to the Ugandan land borders not having the appropriate facilities to process the E-Visa which can result in very long delays. The cost only arrival is USD$50 cash only. (Please note, Uganda only accepts USD bills dated 2006 or newer and in excellent condition). E-Visa if Arriving by Air: The E-Visa can be obtained at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/. You will be required to upload a clear copy of your current passport, Yellow Fever vaccination certificate and a passport photo. You can choose to pay for your E-visa on arrival or online. If paying on arrival, on completion of the online application you will receive a barcoded email notification that you can print take with with you to Uganda. If you choose to pay on arrival you must present the barcoded email at the entry point. The cost is USD$50 cash only. (Please note, Uganda only accepts USD bills dated 2006 or newer and in excellent condition). BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP: Exit Rwanda - Cyanika (Day 5) Enter Uganda - Cyanika Exit Uganda - Cyanika (Day 7) Enter Rwanda - Cyanika

    Why we love it

    With gorilla permits included in the price of the trip, seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Uganda's steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.

    Learn about Rwanda's devastating history with visits to different genocide museums and churches of significance

    Visit Mikozi Village and become acquainted with the Ugandan countryside. Visit the local markets, speak with a traditional Ugandan healer and enjoy a drink or two at the local bar

    Spend two nights in beautiful Gisenyi at a resort on the north shore of Lake Kivu. Here, spend free time hiking, taking a boat cruise, touring the town or simply walking the lakeside.

    Enjoy an optional cycling tour around the twin lakes on the outskirts of Ruhengeri, passing through small towns and villages where you will have extended time interacting with the local community.

    Is this trip right for you

    Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid. But the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. A top tip is to pack some gardening gloves to assist in any up-hill climbs.

    Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. YELLOW FEVER: A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting. DRINKING WATER As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

    Food and dietary requirements

    Hotels and your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances, however your diet may be limited more than you are used to. Please notify your sales consultant at the time of booking of any dietary requirements plus your group leader in your group meeting at the start of the trip.

    Money matters

    When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document). Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency. MEALS NOT INCLUDED For lunches not included, a budget of USD10 to USD15 per meal will be more than sufficient. For dinners not included, your leader will normally recommend options and restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main. These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget or are happy to try local food, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries. TIPPING Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you are happy with the services provided, a tip is an appropriate way to thank them. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Usually the equivalent of around USD7 to USD14 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. TIPPING GUIDE To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground. - Your crew (including leaders, drivers and cooks where applicable) – The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD2 to USD4 per staff member, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. - Local guides – Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest around USD2 per person, per day for local guides. - Basic restaurants – When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate. TIPPING KITTY Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew. EMERGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved. CREDIT CARDS, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE: Credit cards are generally accepted in tourist shops and some restaurants across Africa. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Foreign currency is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates. With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country. PLEASE NOTE: Many businesses and banks in Africa, especially East Africa, do not accept US dollar notes older than 2006. If you are bringing USD, we strongly recommend large bills in good condition, 2006 series onwards only. Any old or damaged notes may not be accepted. COMMISSIONS Unfortunately, commissions in exchange for recommending particular shops or restaurants are an ingrained part of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye, we’ve tried to legitimise the practise with a centralised fund. Moneys are collected from recommended and fully vetted suppliers and funnelled back into our business. This keeps the trip cost low (for us and for you) and makes sure you only get the best experiences. If you’re unhappy with any places your leader recommends, or feel the quality of the trip is being compromised in any way, please let us know in your feedback.

    What to take

    We recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Walking/trekking shoes for your trek to see the mountain gorillas - Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is not recommended. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Insect repellent. RECOMMENDED: - Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening game activities when it can be cool. - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1 litre capacity. Our vehicle have large tanks of treated water for refills. - Camera with good zoom OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate - A good book, a journal or smart phone with music (and a power bank) - Binoculars LUGGAGE LIMIT: Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. As your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe to store the bulk of your money & passport. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a power bank. CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR WOMEN: In many parts of Africa women travelers should dress modestly as there is a wide range of cultural differences. Wear skirts or shorts that reach just above the knee and tops that cover shoulders at a minimum. If visiting coastal areas wear a cover-up when you step off the beaches.

    GORILLA TREK: Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. You will need a comfortable pair of waterproof hiking boots. Some of the foliage in the forest has sharp spikes and can be prickly. A typical gardening glove with a hard surface on the palm will make it easier to grab onto trees and bushes as you pull yourself up the hillside. It's also a good idea to pack a pair of long socks so that you can tuck your trousers into them and avoid any ants or insects getting to your ankles. Your rain jacket for the trek should be a neutral or dark colour as bright coloured clothes are not permitted in the park.

    PLASTIC BAG BANS ACROSS AFRICA While Namibia holds people liable to a fine of N$500 or imprisonment for entering Game Parks with a plastic bag, Botswana has announced a countrywide ban on plastic bags to come into effect on 1 November 2018. The ban will make the importing, trading and commercial use of plastic bags a criminal offence. Exceptions will be made for plastics that are essential for health and hygiene. With these announcements, Botswana and Namibia join other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Eritrea that have banned plastic bags. South Africa imposed a levy on plastic bags in 2004 but they have not yet been banned. Many countries are strictly enforcing this and have been searching luggage at border points. Camping stores are good for obtaining waterproof reusable bags, for dirty laundry etc, prior to departure.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below: For transfers and accommodation issues, Intrepid's Kenya Office can be reached on their 24 hour number +254 733 523 813 Intrepid's local Operator: +254733523813

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported in Kenya include: The Thin Green Line Foundation (TGLF) advocates for the safety, fair treatment, and protection of Rangers across the world. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/the-thin-green-line-foundation East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) promotes the conservation and wise use of the environment and natural resources in East Africa. The Intrepid Foundation directly supports EAWLS anti-poaching programs that protect wildlife in the Masai Mara ecosystem. These anti-poaching projects rely heavily on Rangers to patrol areas where wildlife exists and all donations will go towards funding the purchase of equipment the Rangers need to carry on protecting the amazing wildlife found in the Masai Mara. www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/east-african-wildlife-society/ Eden Reforestation Projects works with local people to identify lands devastated by deforestation – both legally and illegally – that the community wants to restore. Deforestation often offers income in the short-term, but the people bordering these areas soon face the consequences, from increased risk of landslides to a loss of habitat for wildlife. By investing in communities’ reforestation efforts of their own land, Eden Projects empowers local people to decent employment and ensures their commitment to protecting the forests for generations to come. The project is also committed to prioritising skill-building and employment for women and single parents. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/eden-reforestation-projects

    Transport notes

    The group will be split into 2 six seater 4WD vehicles. While the drivers are qualified guides and will have expert local knowledge, your Intrepid leader will swap between the vehicles to ensure their knowledge is also shared.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. ROAD CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA: Roads in Africa are often in very poor condition, which makes it hard on our vehicles. Our vehicles are serviced regularly and are generally in good condition, but breakdowns can and do happen. Sometimes the going on this trip is quite tough, the distances covered fairly large and some of the roads and tracks are not exactly smooth or free from dust, but the rewards are exceptional. The travelling times indicated in our Essential Trip Information is just a rough guide and is dependent on various factors that may be outside our control, such as road conditions, weather and time spent at borders. DRIVE TIMES: The travel times listed in the day to day itinerary are a guide only. Please be aware that delays may occur and please be patient - it's all part of the experience afterall! Additionally, the travel times do not include time spent on game drives as these can vary with each departure. ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

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