Marilyn’s trip report

Marilyn Parsk writes: 

We recently spent 6 days in Rwanda and information I had gleaned from posts on this website were helpful to me so I thought I’d share our experiences. I will preface this by saying we are a 60′ish couple who now like to travel comfortably, but not necessarily expensively. My key advice would go to those who want to see the gorillas. Paying the high prices that even the local companies want to charge you is totally unnecessary and you can arrange it yourself for a fraction of the cost with the same services. I got our permits by contacting the sources suggested in the book and wiring the money ahead to reserve the date. Upon arriving in Kigali by air I stopped at the main office en route into town and picked up the permits. I had arranged for a car and guide with Amaharo tours. While they are based in Musanze we began and ended our time with them in Kigali. While they kept trying to sell me a whole package I insisted I only wanted a driver and 4 wheel vehicle for 4 days. I paid $100/day for both, with gas and park entry fees paid by me directly. After going to Musanze (where I had made arrangements through email to stay at Muhabura Hotel, clean and adequate) and seeing the gorillas we then drove to Butare (staying at the Credo Hotel, again clean and adequate) and on to Nyungwe National Park. There we stayed in the Gisakura Guesthouse, our only place with limited electricity and the bathroom outside and down the walkway. While rustic, the food was good and the staff pleasant.Again, I had made email reservations ahead and since the place filled up I was glad to have the booking because the only alternative in the area is a 4 star hotel. When I had picked up the gorilla permits in Kigali they had said I could easily arrange chimpanzee permits when I got to Nyungwe but unfortunately they were all taken so I should have insisted on doing it in Kigali. Apparently permits reserved one place are not always communicated to the end site, though, so the whole system is imperfect.

Rwanda is a beautiful country to drive around . Our 6 days were perfect for getting a feel of Kigali, seeing the gorillas (a bucket list experinece) and enjoying Nyungwe. Since we were going on to Tanzania for safari we did not do the other animals at Akagera.

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