What to bring with you
- Money for your personal expenses: USD
- Good walking shoes, rain gear, gloves (nettle stings), T-shirts, some long-sleeve shirts, sweaters for the cool evenings
- Sun protection gear and cream
- Mosquito repellent
- Video and photo cameras. 200/300 mm telephoto lenses are very useful. Reserve batteries or battery charger (mains and/or 12 V car adaptors), normal and some high speed (800 â€“ 1,000 ASA) films
- Small rucksack
- International vaccination card
Less than 15 years are NOT permitted to visit gorillas & no child rate applies
- warm clothes including a fleece or light wool sweater
- padded sleeveless waistcoat with deep pockets for valuables, film, papers etc
- lightweight wool socks
- long-sleeved shirt
- strong waterproof walking boots, gaiters useful
- sturdy trousers
- sunglasses & high factor sun screen
- a sun hat with a small brim
- breathable lightweight rain poncho/parka & rain hat
- small backpack to carry water
- gloves recommended for those with sensitive skin or allergy to nettles
International telephone communication is good from Kigali, Kampala, Dar as Salaam and most big towns. European & American mobile phones with a roaming agreement work in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Congo.
Internet facilities are available at most hotels in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Congo.
- Please advise any special dietary requirements in advance. Local specialties: chicken & fish.
- 230/240 volts at 50 Hz. 2-pin (round) sockets in Rwanda and Congo, English type - square 3-pin - in Uganda and Tanzania. Some guest houses do not have 24-hour power, but arrangements for recharging batteries can usually be made.
- A standard trek is a strenuous hike of between 1-4 hours each way (2-3 hours most usually) tracking in thick forest at heights up to 3,000m traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines can be tough, arduous and wet. Visitors must be fit, in good health and properly equipped.
- Gorilla Permits:
- Gorilla visit permits cost US$ 500 for Foreigners, US$ 250 for Foreign Residents inclusive of 25 for park entry fee
and 20,000 RWF for Rwandese.
- Gorilla Permits are non-refundable except for medical reasons and a medical certificate has to be provided. Gorilla viewing can be denied at short notice because of national park or border closures, security changes or gorillas going out of range. In such circumstances refunds are at the discretion of the authority and are not within the companyâ€™s control. Obtaining a gorilla permit therefore is not a guarantee of seeing a Gorilla.
All travelers to Rwanda, Congo and Uganda must carry their Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. In Tanzania this is no longer required.
Any personal medication required should be carried in hand luggage. Warning: gorillas are susceptible to most human diseases and if you are knowingly carrying a contagious disease (especially flu) DO NOT attempt to trek.
It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns.
Hospitals are located in all major towns.
Malaria and Yellow Fever:
Much of the region lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. Visitors should seek current medical advice before travelling.
- RWANDA and CONGO
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travelers over 1 year of age.
Malaria: Malaria riskâ€”predominantly due to P. falciparumâ€”exists throughout the year in the whole country. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine reported.
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from endemic areas.
Malaria: Malaria riskâ€”predominantly due to P. falciparumâ€”exists throughout the year in the whole country including the main towns of Fort Portal, Jinja, Kampala, Mbale and parts of Kigali. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxineâ€“pyrimethamine reported.
US Dollar Currency is always welcome and easily exchangeable.
In order to get a good exchange rate ensure that notes are (year) 2000 and/or more recent and only in denominations of $50 and $100 notes.
Smaller denominations of year 2000 and/or more recent will get you a â€œcheaperâ€ rate (5 - 10% less).
Older denominations: Year 1998 and 1999 will get you a â€œcheaperâ€ rate.
Euro, if accepted, is most often exchanged into local currencies at the rate of 1 Euro = 1 USD.
It is best to change your Euro into US dollars cash in Europe. It will cost you a bit. But you will enter the parks.
Forget wanting to change your Euro into USD in banks.
Local currencies are:
Any excess local currency is not usually exchangeable overseas, nor can it be converted back into foreign currency in Rwanda. In Tanzania you should keep your exchange receipts in order to be able to convert back into forex.
USD Travelers Cheques (the safety)
the dear safety has its price. You will not get a good exchange rate.
Except in Kigali, Dar as Salaam and Kampala where they might be accepted with a lot of difficulties in banks, forget them.
Do they exist?
Credit Cards (the other safety)
More or less the same situation as with travelerâ€™s check.
Only accepted in big hotels, at the park headquarters, in some banks for local currency withdrawal - all with a commission.
Airport departure tax
This should be included in the ticket price from Nairobi, Kigali and Dar as Salaam on most international flights
From Kigali to Tanzania on Coastal Aviation Airport Tax is not included in the ticket price and is payable on check-in.
- Park Fees:
In these countries payment of the park fees is in US currency, cash only.
Travelerâ€™s checks are not accepted at the park gates.
Travelerâ€™s checks might be accepted at the park headquarters in Kampala and Kigali for the purchase of gorilla permits with a commission
- Road Transport:
- In Rwanda the roads are generally very good, with paved roads from Kigali to most major cities and towns.
The condition of these roads was until recently very poor, with numerous pot-holes and vehicles often driving on the dirt verges since these were deemed smoother than the road itself. A recent government programme of upgrading and resurfacing means that most major routes are now in good condition. The major urban arteries of Kigali, as well as the high streets in Ruhengeri, Kibuye and Gisenyi are dual carriageways, but all national long distance roads are single carriageway. There are no motorways in Rwanda.
From Kigali it is just 90 mins drive to the Virunga Massif, known as the â€˜Volcanoes of the Moonâ€™, which hosts the Volcano National Park.
To Nyungwe Forest itâ€™s a four hour drive on good roads with a recommended stopover for lunch and a museum visit in Butare Town.
- The roads in Uganda are comparable to many in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the main roads are metalled though the condition of them can deteriorate in patches. And some become extremely pot holed. Many of the minor roads and side roads are made of hard packed earth (murum) and when graded are quite quick and reasonable. However they will deteriorate in heavy rains and wash boarding frequently occurs. The best way to deal with the wash boarding is not to slow down, but to find a speed sympathetic to the road surface and effectively skip from ridge to ridge. Untarred roads, if wet, may be impassable in the mountainous regions of the south-west. Commercial drivers of buses and trucks compound the danger, as do pedestrians, livestock, cyclists, dogs, and the odd police roadblock. Plan on 60km/hr as a typical rate of travel (speed will vary, though!). The best advices are drive cautiously and stay totally alert.
When planning a journey it is best not to ask how far it is but to ask how long it will take. Local drivers normally have a good idea of how long journeys will take.
- Rwanda is two hours ahead of GMT
- Uganda is three hours ahead of GMT
- Tanzania is three hours ahead of GMT