HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Recreation » Travel (Group) » Early planning stage of f...

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:04 PM

Early planning stage of future trip to Africa (2021 or 2022)

Hello all!

I am saving up for a trip to Africa and hoping to see Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and as many of the Big 5 as possible.

There are SO MANY tour group companies out there! Anyone have any experience to share with any?

Has anyone planned their own trip without a tour company?

I am not good at "roughing it," so I would like to go with comfortable to borderline luxury options. I understand that accommodation levels are quite varied from country to country. I won't be that ugly American who doesn't appreciate the richness of the culture and environment because my eggs weren't cooked properly. I just have issues with sleeping well while traveling (back problems, for one thing) so I'm OK with paying more for a higher level of comfort. I have to save up for this trip, so I will budget as necessary.

I have read that a gorilla trek permit runs $1500, but I didn't see info on whether you get multiple days to attempt to find gorillas if you buy the permit yourself, whereas some tour companies do promise that, so that is one reason I am unsure about trying to plan the trip myself.

Any advice would be much appreciated

10 replies, 282 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to Lisa0825 (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:10 PM

1. There is one trip that goes down the east coast of africa to South Africa

with stops along the way where important hominid bones have been found and lectures at each stop. That would be my dream trip along with helping the economies of the locals. But I'd never be able to go due to ptsd. And it is expensive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to applegrove (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:17 PM

2. Interesting! Do you know the name of it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:31 PM

3. Nope. Saw it advertised about 10 years ago. I'll look. I'm sure the dynamics

have changed a great deal in terms of tours in the last ten years.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lisa0825 (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:42 PM

4. After you have your travel schedule figured out,

notify the State Department of your whereabouts, dates, names of hotels etc.

If anything were to happen, they will know that Americans are there. They can come and scoop you up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to secondwind (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 09:31 PM

7. Thank you! I will keep that in mind! :-) nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lisa0825 (Original post)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 12:30 AM

5. I camped and roughed it with a tour group but you really should go with a groupplan if you are

planning on going to East Africa parks to see animals like the gorillas no matter what level of comfort you can afford imo .
There are many cultural nuances and also natural danger that locals can help you with if you go through a group even if it is a private arranged trek they do for you
I usually dislike tour groups and planned itineraries but this is one place I think it is needed and arranged completely before leaving if itís your first time
I would not plan with out a group but there are so many types you will find one for your pace and interests Plus when you go to the cities you can see things on your own or meet up with other local side tours if you want more independence away from a group safari
The group can be leisurely and open with time but some guidance from place to place is an asset
Also if you are interested in East African people, the culture knowledge and introductions are gained through established group contacts better
Learn some Swahili for that area . Tribal languages are all different but Swahili is a common language
There are only so many gorilla groups to see so that is why there are only so many people allowed
This takes a long time to happen and we did have to hike so I donít know about your back or there can be other options perhaps with less intensity not sure .
We sort of blended to the side like you are hanging around them but not in their group . Pretend to be foraging just like them looking down not directly viewing them like at a zoo so again I donít know about your back issues or if there are other forms of viewing and interacting or if itís even like that now as I went over 20 years ago when I was very young. Do go and it can be as simple as one day
https://www.explorerwandatours.com/rwanda-tours/1-day-rwanda-gorilla-tour.html
Or a 1/2 week or more with multi treks out
https://www.explorerwandatours.com/rwanda-tours/4-days-gorilla-trekking-safari.html
FYI I did not use this tour group just a sample of what you can do
Itís not so much that levels of accommodations vary from country to country there as much as vary from tour group to tour group .
We camped in our own tents or stayed in African motels (for mostly Africans visiting to stay)
and it would not be for everybody but I would not change it looking back
You can see on the links even just on the gorilla tours different levels are offered and as I said mine was very low budget and definitely roughing it everywhere so I wonít recommend that to you but I think Abercrombie and Kent is one that does super luxury small group,while still really out there in the wild open and there arr plenty of tour groups at all levels
Also look into museum sponsored tours or scientific societies in your area -they are higher-priced offering more comfort but still a serious knowledgeable group to travel with
And beware there are many sketchy tour groups and dumbass travelers
Look for ones that go where you want and do what you want in accomidations you want and with what kind of fellow travelers it seems to cater to. Some offer comments from past participants to get an idea . It took me about 2 years, maybe more, to research and arm chair travel but I made good choices in the end
Take time to plan and make decisions on this travel experience and get a medical for whatever is needed . Enjoy !!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunasun (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 09:35 PM

8. Originally, I planned to book through a group...

but then I read a couple things online about planning on your own. They said that when you buy the trek permit for the gorillas, the park provides a guide (I think they group a certain # of people together as a group?), so when you book with a tour, they just add cost to the activity without much added value.

But I am just gathering info now, since it will be a year or 2, so I will definitely keep both options in mind, and hold onto the advice you offered as well. That is why I ask around, to make sure I get input from various perspectives.

Thank you!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #8)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 09:45 PM

10. Oh, and regarding hiking....

The back issues I have really only bother me if I am standing still for a long time or sleeping on a bad mattress. I went to a huge music festival last weekend, walked 3 miles round trip to it, and put in another 3 miles being there all day. The only time I was in pain was when I had to stand and wait for long periods of time. When I went to Cuba, we stayed in 3 different hotels as we visited multiple cities, and one hotel had a terrible mattress. It was really hard, so I could not get comfortable on my side or on my back. I was really hurting the next day. The other days, I was fine. So I feel pretty confident that I will do OK as long as I can make sure I get good accomodations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lisa0825 (Original post)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 04:20 AM

6. I'm leaving for 5+ weeks in Africa at the end of the month.

I will be in 6 different countries, but not Rwanda. I am 71 years old and will be traveling with Vantage. I spent all of yesterday driving to Oklahoma City to get yellow fever vaccination. It is required to be admitted into certain areas of Africa. You should look at the CDC's website for other recommended vaccinations, like typhoid.

I will be in 7 different wildlife parks. We will have guides and guards and 'safe' water and meals. I think traveling on one's own in Africa would be unwise unless you have expert knowledge of the wildlife and how to deal with confrontations.

What worries me most are snakes. There are a ton of deadly ones in Africa out of, like, 72 varieties!

P.S. I have travelled with Vantage before since they are one of the few tour agents that waive single supplements. Meaning I pay the same rate as couples. If you decide to use them, let me know as I can earn a discount for recommending them!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #6)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 09:37 PM

9. OMG! That is good to know about single supplements!!!

Last edited Thu Oct 10, 2019, 10:16 PM - Edit history (1)

Please let me know how your trip goes! I will definitely keep your post in mind and let you know if I decide to book with them.

Thanks!

edited to add: I had Typhoid and a couple others before my Cuba trip. I was on immune suppressants at the time, so I could not get Yellow Fever since it is a live attenuated virus. But thankfully, I was able to come off the meds recently, and as soon as I was able to, I got the Yellow Fever vaccine, so even if I end up back on the immune suppressants, I'll already have my immunity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread