Gorillas & the Great Migration: Rwanda & Tanzania
Before You Go
Travel will be by small charter aircraft as well as jeeps and game-drive vehicles. Participants should be aware that the game drives are often over bumpy surfaces and can sometimes be long and strenuous. Most of the nights spent on safari will be in tented accommodations. These tents are en suite and are designed to the highest standards and are quite comfortable, with hot and cold water and showers in the adjoining bathroom area. Many have separate lounge and bar areas that often overlook waterways, which add to the excitement and ambiance of being on safari. It should be noted, however, that there are no fences around the camps, and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
Activity Level & Accommodations
For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. Participants should be aware that the safari drives can sometimes be long and over bumpy surfaces which can be quite strenuous. In addition, for our gorilla viewing experiences, distances and difficulty of the hike will vary depending on the location of the gorillas. Our accommodations are en suite and are designed to the highest standards and are quite comfortable, with hot and cold water and shower outlets in the adjoining bathroom area. Participants will find the tents spacious with plenty of headroom. All of the safari lodges we visit have separate lounge and bar areas. It should be noted, however, that there are no fences around the camps, and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 1.206.285.4000, or 220.127.116.111 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival into Kilimanjaro, Tanzania so that we may inform our Expedition Leader.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates and for those who have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, Machweo Retreat.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flight to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and return flight home from Kigali, Rwanda please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm.
Even though some international flights have lenient baggage limitations, due to restrictions on charter (or bush) flights within this program, baggage is restricted to one soft-sided bag per person and one carry-on not to exceed 33 pounds (15kg) of total weight.
We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit.
PLEASE NOTE: Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
The following are average high/low temperatures in August and September for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda||83º||60º|
|Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda||75º||52º|
Please be advised that the information above is not an exact forecast and unpredictable weather changes may occur at any time. Also, consider your internal thermostat and the wind chill while traveling in the open-air vehicles we use.
As of April 2017, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||2,235 Tanzania shilling (TZS)|
|$1 US dollar (USD)||823 Rwanda franc (RWF)|
Most of your expenses have been prepaid; therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations of US dollars. Major credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) may be used at our camps, however, it will not be possible to get cash advances off any credit or debit cards at lodges or camps, so you will need to have some cash available if you wish to make smaller purchases.
You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.
All electricity runs at 230V in Tanzania, with three-prong outlets of the Type G variety. However, as there is insufficient electricity available at the permanent tented camps to power appliances, we ask that you either not take them on safari or bring along batteries. Fortunately, there will be facilities for recharging batteries at the camps. At these locations, you will need to bring a UK, square, three prong adapter and converter if your equipment is not compatible with 220V electricity. In Rwanda, the standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. You will need to bring a power plug adaptor for type C and J power sockets.
Please Note: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Kilimanjaro and Kigali/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended for travelers and Chloroquine-resistant P.falciparum has been reported. Malaria is widespread and exists throughout the year in both countries.
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Rwanda and Tanzania if arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever and for travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please refer to the CDC’s website for a list of yellow fever infected and endemic countries.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
Insect bites can be a problem, and we urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect repellent and bite relief products.
Protect yourself against the heat and the strong sun. Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Bottled water will be available throughout the day during the course of the safari. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
To help you in the event that you must be reached during our expedition, you will be provided with a complete list of our local offices, group hotels, and camp contact information with your final departure documents. Please bear in mind that communication can be very difficult at times. Safari camps do not offer telephone, fax, e-mail, or radio service, except in emergencies.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00am on the North American west coast:
|7:00am||Seattle, WA (PDT)|
|10:00am||New York, NY (EDT)|
Professional cooks prepare the food on all safaris. All safari camps also feature a fully stocked bar. All beverages are included on game drives as well as complimentary beer and house wines at lunch and dinner. Additional beverages are not included in the cost of the program.
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal taste and adjust accordingly.
All of our camps have laundry service available, excluding undergarments. Dry cleaning is not available. Please remember to have any laundry done one day ahead so it will be returned in time for our group checkout.
Rugged, lightweight, comfortable, and casual clothing that can be layered is most suitable. Bring light materials (denim is discouraged). A warm jacket will be needed for the mornings and evenings.
Come prepared for warm weather and strong sun. Bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear. Wear hats and use sun block, as we will be out for extended periods of time.
Dress in the safari camps and in the lodges is casual and informal. You will not have a need for formal clothes, such as a jacket and tie, on safari.
Your clothes for safari should be in neutral, muted colors such as tan, khaki, and bush green. Navy blue and black can attract insects, and bright colors, like white, orange, and red should be avoided, as they alert wildlife to our presence and can cause them to shy away. Camouflage-patterned clothing is not allowed as it is associated with the military. Remember, your hat should also be neutral-colored.
For protection against insect bites, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are useful as well. Also, bring along insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET. You may also consider permethrin spray, which can be applied directly to your clothing before departure and lasts up to three washings, or clothing with insect-repellent already bonded to the fabric, such as Buzz Off clothing.
You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation on this program. It must be valid for at least six (6) months after your return home, through March 8, 2018. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. Please be sure you have at least two blank pages available in your passport for entry/exit stamps. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained.
Due to heightened security, each participant is required to send us a color copy of their passport information page with their Personal Information Form. We also suggest that you carry a copy of your passport when you travel.
Visas are required for entry into both Tanzania and Rwanda. Visas can be obtained on arrival at both the Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania ($100 USD) and at the Kigali International Airport in Rwanda ($30 USD). Please note that both visas must be paid in cash and for entry into Tanzania this must be paid with USD notes of $50 or $100.
If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the expedition, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
Please be aware that this safari may take you into close contact with wild animals. Attacks by wild animals are extremely rare to travelers, but no safari into the African wilderness can guarantee that this will not occur. Please note that the camps are not fenced and animals do wander through the camps at all times. Neither Zegrahm Expeditions, nor any principal or employee, nor any agent or agency, can be held responsible for any injury or accident on the safari.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to choose items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.