Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda Trip Notes

    • 4
    • YGAR
    • Total twin price tool tip
      USD $4,120
      CAD $4,385
      AUD $4,555
      EUR €3,167
      GBP £2,725
      NZD $5,400
      ZAR R41,460
      CHF FR3,905
      *
    • Total single price tool tip
      USD $5,740
      CAD $6,110
      AUD $6,345
      EUR €4,415
      GBP £3,795
      NZD $7,520
      ZAR R57,755
      CHF FR5,440
      *
    •  
       
       
       
       
    •  
       
       
       
       
    • Short Breaks - Independent Adventures, Wildlife
    • Comfort
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda .
Print Version
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2014
Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda
Trip code: YGAR-C
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Journey to refreshing Rwanda, a place where locals welcome visitors with smiles and the lush mountainous landscapes provide a home to some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas. Rwanda has bravely risen from a tragic past and stands proudly as a representation of Africa's irrepressible beauty. Be awe-struck by the profound power of the endangered mountain gorilla.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleSpending moneyEmergency funds
ThemesTippingVisas
MapDeparture taxIssues on your trip
ItineraryImportant notesWhat to take
Also available to purchaseGroup sizeHealth
We also recommendAccommodationSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMealsTravel insurance
Culture shock rating TransportResponsible Travel
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical preparationAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesArrival complicationsCarbon offset
Optional activitiesFinish point Feedback
Money ExchangeEmergency contact
From stealing magic moments with mountain-dwelling gorillas to experiencing heart-warming encounters with villagers, Rwanda will deliver experiences unlike any other. Volcanic mountains, dense forests, tranquil lakes and lively towns add a stunning backdrop to Rwanda’s real gems – the sincere, proud people and majestic, mysterious wildlife.
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Wildlife, Short Breaks - Independent Adventures
Map
Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda
Itinerary
Day 1 Kigali
On arrival at Kigali Airport you are met by our local representatives. You must arrive in Kigali before 2.30pm. If your flight does not arrive before 2.30pm, you need to arrive one day earlier and book one night's pre-tour accommodation as well as an arrival transfer (both at additional cost). Please make sure you've read the visa information for Rwanda on your pre-departure information before you depart as you're required to apply for your visa before arrival.
Our tour begins with a drive through the verdant rolling hills of Rwanda. Our accommodation is located in the Kinigi region, approximately 17km from Musanze town (formerly Ruhengeri). The lodge is nestled on the scenic lower slopes of Sabinyo Volcano - one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans.
The small Rwandan town of Ruhengeri is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Accommodation
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Ruhengeri/Gorilla Trek
This morning we have a very early start driving to the park headquarters where we are briefed on our gorilla trek by the guides of Parc National des Volcans.
This 13,000 hectare national park protects the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains and include a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes that straddle the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bamboo forest is interspersed with alpine moorland, grassland and marshland. In this park, there are ten different gorilla families
This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals.
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, as it may take anything between 40 minutes and four hours to reach our designated gorilla family. The trackers have already set out and located the gorilla family by the time we start our trek, so our actual time of walking can usually be predicted when we set off. We can get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
As lunch can only be taken upon return to the hotel, it is recommended that you bring a few snacks to keep you going throughout the morning. At the end of the day the comforts of the hotel beckon, along with a chance to reflect on what is sure to be a truly memorable day.
Included Activities
  • Mountain gorilla trek & permit
Optional Activities
  • Venge Village walk - USD20
Accommodation
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar (1 nt)
Day 3 Optional Trek/Kigali
Today is a day of various trekking options. You may choose to visit another gorilla family, see the rare golden monkey or take a hike up to the grave of Dian Fossey and the remains of the Old Karisoke Research Station. These options must be pre-booked and confirmed at time of purchase of the main tour, in order to ensure availability. Gorilla trekking permits in particular can be booked out many months in advance. For those who loved the book and/or movie 'Gorilla's in the Mist', the Dian Fossey Trek is a good option. Over the course of the morning you follow in Dian Fossey's footsteps on our way to her grave, as well as the graves belonging to many poached gorillas including famous Digit. You are guided around the area where Old Karisoke Research Station was set up by a park guide. Although very little of the station remains, the setting is incredible and one can imagine the incredible life that Dian Fossey led in these isolated mountains. For a more leisurely but equally unique experience, trekking in search of golden monkeys is highly recommended. In June 2003 the nationals parks department first allowed permits to walk the trails in search of these rare and engaging primates. This walk takes you to the edge of the forest and watching these unique monkeys play and interact is a mesmerising experience. Please note that the roads leading to both of the above treks are not in the best of conditions, so be prepared for rough and bumpy rides! We then travel back to Kigali late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Dinner tonight is at your own expense and can be enjoyed at one of the many good nearby restaurants.
In the afternoon we bid farewell to our hosts at the lodge and return back to Kigali (94 km, approx 3 hrs). We expect to arrive at our hotel in Kigali in the early evening.
Optional Activities
  • Diane Fossey Memorial - USD90
  • Golden monkeys Trek Permit - USD105
  • Mt Bisoke hiking (full day) - USD75
  • Nature walk Rwanda - USD55
  • Venge Village walk - USD20
Accommodation
Lemigo Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 4 Kigali
Rwanda's capital, Kigali, is a great place to explore on foot - from its market areas to the infamous Hotel Rwanda.
This morning we are taken on a city tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Museum which was opened in 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Whilst the genocide occurred as a result of a complex series of factors, it can only be seen as an absolute tragedy to Rwanda and its people. Time spent at the museum is sure to be emotionally moving, but it is an important way to understand the sheer courage and resilience of the people of this beautiful, tiny nation.
We are then transferred to Kigali International Airport, arriving there about midday. Any additional post-tour accommodation in Kigali or individual departure transfers are not included and must be pre-booked. Please note that your international departure flights from Kigali today should not be booked to depart before 2pm.
Included Activities
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • YGAR-C Complimentary arrival transfer (YGAR-C)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • East Africa Discovery (YGKD)
  • Kenya Lodge Safari (YGKE)
  • Tanzania Lodge Safari (YGKZ)
  • Zanzibar East Coast Beach Break (6 days) (YGAX-C)
  • Best of East Africa (YXOHC)
  • Gorillas, Chimps & Game Parks (YXOG)
  • Road to Zanzibar (YXOD)
  • Highlights of Kenya & Tanzania (YGKEC)
  • Uganda Gorilla Shortbreak (YGAG-B)
  • Road to Zanzibar (YXOD)
  • Zanzibar East Coast Beach Break (5 days) (YGAX-C)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Physical preparation
Gorrilla Tracking
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.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and 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 it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
Money Exchange
The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
CASH:
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN 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. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES:
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
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. 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.
RWANDA
The official currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF).
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. 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.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, 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.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
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, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping 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.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
FINISH TIME:
This trip finishes in Kigali on day 4. Please do not book any flights until after 2pm this afternoon.
AGE RESTRICTIONS:
The minimum age of clients on this trip is 16 years. Please note that teenagers aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
GORILLA PERMITS:
Gorilla Permits need to be bought in advance. In order to secure them, an additional non-refundable deposit of ( AUD1200, USD1200, EUR900, NZD1350, GBP750, CAD1200, ZAR10000, CHF1000 ) is needed to secure the permit at time of booking. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 65 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking.
Warning - This is a new trip for us!
While we have been operating in Africa for several years now and have had a team of researchers travelling in the area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is the first year of operating this trip. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong! We usually make this warning when we head to new destinations - and usually we find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones. But the warning is sincere, and if it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out. Any improvements to our itinerary are noted immediately on our website, so before booking and travelling please go to www.intrepidtravel.com and enter this trip code in the trip finder to check for any updates.
OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
Group size
Maximum of 6 travellers per group.
Accommodation
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar (2 nts), Lemigo Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Meals
3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
USD 40.00
Transport
Safari Vehicle
Group leader
On this trip you'll be accompanied by several different local guides and drivers, who are all specialists in their own area.
Alternate Joining point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
29 Aug 2014 (YGAR-C140829), 30 Aug 2014 (YGAR-C140830), 31 Aug 2014 (YGAR-C140831), 01 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140901), 02 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140902), 03 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140903), 04 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140904), 05 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140905), 06 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140906), 07 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140907), 08 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140908), 09 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140909), 10 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140910), 11 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140911), 12 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140912), 13 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140913), 14 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140914), 15 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140915), 16 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140916), 17 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140917), 18 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140918), 19 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140919), 20 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140920), 21 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140921), 22 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140922), 23 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140923), 24 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140924), 25 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140925), 26 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140926), 27 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140927), 28 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140928), 29 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140929), 30 Sep 2014 (YGAR-C140930), 01 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141001), 02 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141002), 03 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141003), 04 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141004), 05 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141005), 06 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141006), 07 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141007), 08 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141008), 09 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141009), 10 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141010), 11 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141011), 12 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141012), 13 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141013), 14 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141014), 15 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141015), 16 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141016), 17 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141017), 18 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141018), 19 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141019), 20 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141020), 21 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141021), 22 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141022), 23 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141023), 24 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141024), 25 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141025), 26 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141026), 27 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141027), 28 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141028), 29 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141029), 30 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141030), 31 Oct 2014 (YGAR-C141031), 01 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141101), 02 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141102), 03 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141103), 04 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141104), 05 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141105), 06 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141106), 07 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141107), 08 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141108), 09 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141109), 10 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141110), 11 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141111), 12 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141112), 13 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141113), 14 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141114), 15 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141115), 16 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141116), 17 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141117), 18 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141118), 19 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141119), 20 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141120), 21 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141121), 22 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141122), 23 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141123), 24 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141124), 25 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141125), 26 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141126), 27 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141127), 28 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141128), 29 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141129), 30 Nov 2014 (YGAR-C141130), 01 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141201), 02 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141202), 03 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141203), 04 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141204), 05 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141205), 06 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141206), 07 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141207), 08 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141208), 09 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141209), 10 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141210), 11 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141211), 12 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141212), 13 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141213), 14 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141214), 15 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141215), 16 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141216), 17 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141217), 18 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141218), 19 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141219), 20 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141220), 21 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141221), 22 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141222), 23 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141223), 24 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141224), 25 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141225), 26 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141226), 27 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141227), 28 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141228), 29 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141229), 30 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141230), 31 Dec 2014 (YGAR-C141231)
Ruhengeri
Ruhengeri
RWANDA
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, again following the Joining Instructions in these trip notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point
Lemigo Hotel
Kimihurura
Kigali
Kigali
RWANDA
Phone: 250 280 300 003
Emergency contact
In the case of an on ground issue or problem Intrepid's Kenya Office can be reached on their 24 hour number +254 733 523 813
In case of genuine crisis or emergency (ONLY), you can reach our local operator on: +254-736-213-383.
For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
RWANDA:
Visas are required by all nationalities and need to be obtained in advance. You can apply for this visa online at www.migration.gov.rw.
You'll need to apply for an Entry Visa on their website (Services tab, Visa) which should take approx 2-5 days to come through. You must print this Entry Facility out to present at the border.
If you are asked to provide an address in Rwanda on your visa form, please use the address below -
Centre Pastoral Notre Dame De Fatima
Avenue de la Nutrition
Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Supporting Documents may also be required - the embassy will contact you if they require these.
The visa costs approx US$60 payable on the border with the exception of USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden, Singapore, nationals where the visa is free of charge.
Note: Rwanda is constantly updating its visa information; therefore we recommended that you check the website carefully for the latest up to date information www.migration.gov.rw
Issues on your trip
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.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. 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.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
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.
Health
All Intrepid 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, Intrepid reserves 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. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
YELLOW FEVER:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. 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 contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have 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. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
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. 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 group 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 group 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:
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.
PETTY THEFT AND 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 alone at night and encourage you to walk together 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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS:
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
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.
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 trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 355.00 kgs per pax.
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.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.