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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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Serengeti-Ngorongoro Crater

Can anybody recommend a budget camping safari to Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater out of Arusha (this is not a must) we will be on our bikes and will need to leave them somewhere. We will be there around Sep. this year.
Also we are riding from Nairobi to Kampala to see the Mountain Gorillas and on thru Rwanda and back up to Arusha. If anybody has any advice on this
it would be appreciated too.

Thanks
Paul
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  #2  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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Hey Paul,

Mackay, wow, memories of Eimeo and Eungela.

In regards to camping, a common overlander place to stay is Masai campsite in Arusha, although it can be a little loud. We left our bikes and gear there while we went on safari to Ongorogoro.

There are many options to choose from in town, the usual buyer beware warnings apply, choosing a reputable company can improve your odds, for a general listing of price and length options check out any guide book like Lonely Planet. I think we just found a company in town and took a cheaper/shorter tour. It was fine although once you drove out in a slow moving truck it occupied a fair bit of time and the thrill of camping in the bush outside the park was pretty tame as we had been camping a fair bit already.

My general feeling was that the whole experience was geared toward a general tourist flying in and the package was part drive out, part overnight camping, part food, and part actual park visit. The first three we were getting enough of on our own so could do without but wanted to maximize time in the park, which truly was amazing. There is a small town quite near the park entrance and I remember thinking that we should have rode our bikes out and just arranged to go into park from there. I believe two riders of the posse heading south did that but I can't remember where they stayed.

Safe travels.
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  #3  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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No advice offered, but I'm very keen to learn about your mountain Gorilla experience...

As in: Where you went, how you organized, where you stayed and how much you paid...
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  #4  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Also we are riding from Nairobi to Kampala to see the Mountain Gorillas and on thru Rwanda and back up to Arusha. If anybody has any advice on this
it would be appreciated too
I rode that way recently. The roads are generally good, and the scenery is stunning.

The price for the gorrillas has recently gone up I believe, to a stunning $1000. There are rangers who are willing to take small groups (2-4 people) for significantly less, but it depends on whether you believe this is ethically correct or not. Obviously I don't condone it.

Just going into the Ranger's base in Bunyoni is the best way to book, that way you don't pay anyone but the organisation, and there are often last minute cancellations you can jump in on. (Or as I said, the rangers will sometimes take extra curricular jobs for less cash, but I didn't say that.)

The best place to stay for a trip into the Bwindi Impenetrable reserve is at Lake Bunyoni. There are several places there, but we liked Bunyoni Overland camp. Cheaper than the others, good bar, and nice camping spots.

Red Chilli is an Ok place to stay in Kampala too.

If you are riding from Nairobi, it is well worth stopping in near Nakuru to watch the flamingos. You can pay extortionate amounts to go into the park, but you can see the flamingoes from the road.

The border crossing must be one of the simplest in Africa.

Jinja is a fairly good place to stop in Uganda, we stopped at Nile River Explorers. Depending on your age and mentality, this is either a great stop, or a hell. The bar is cheap and stays open practically all hours of the day, it is boistorous and noisy, and full of young and excitable drunks. I like that. Others don't. If you stop there, there is the white water rafting, which is expensive but exciting.

One note on the road. About 20k away from the Kenyan border towards Jinja, the road goes crazy without warning. You crest a hill and the backside of it is just a mentally corrugated deathtrap. We hit it at 50kph and almost died on the rollercoaster tarmac.

Sorry for the sporadic and directionless info, I've just read it back and realised I've written it down exactly how I was thinking. Hope you can find something useful in there.

Birdy
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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Tom, Birdy,
Thanks for the info, Tom I will ride down to that little town and try and t something up there, all the trips I looked at involved alot of driving and when you have just ridden all that way you certainly don't feel the need to pay for the previlage. Birdy thanks for the info it has been entered in our journal. Did you go to Kigali as well and if so did you go on to Tanzania. We are also going to go to the Sth Luangwa National Park in Zambia, do you know anything about that.

Thanks
Paul

Tom next time I ride up to the Eimeo Pub I'll have a for you !
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
Can anybody recommend a budget camping safari to Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater out of Arusha (this is not a must) we will be on our bikes and will need to leave them somewhere. We will be there around Sep. this year.
Also we are riding from Nairobi to Kampala to see the Mountain Gorillas and on thru Rwanda and back up to Arusha. If anybody has any advice on this
it would be appreciated too.

Thanks
Paul
Can't help with the gorillas which at a $1000.00 a pop have just moved from my things to do list to my wish list, but if you go for a firm operating out of Arusha for the Serengeti bit of you trip, go for the biggest and best that you can afford. For most of us it is a once in a lifetime experience so don't scrimp on it before it too moves out of the reach of the workers and pensioners. Ride safe.
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  #7  
Old 12 Jan 2010
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Gorillas

That increase to $1000 to see the Gorillas is in deed "A Nasty Development"
But, I figure I will whinge to everybody about the price for a couple of weeks and then forget about it, but will remember for the rest of my life the experience with the Gorillas. We are doing a trip to the Masai Mara as well, and the Serengetti and the Crater, also in Zambia we are going to Sth. Luwangua, Botswana we are doing a Mokoro Trip which I can not believe the price of. Namibia we go to Etosha. So unfortunately the cost adds up so we have to do it as cheaply as reasonable. I lived in Sth. Africa (My wife is from there) so have been to Kruger and a few others before. But my Travelling companions are going to have a new experience.

Thanks
Paul
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Old 12 Jan 2010
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according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority website, it is still 500$ / gorilla tracking permit.

Tarrifs


In my experience gorilla viewing without permit is stupid. First of all most habituated groups are continuously monitored by rangers (trackers) and/or (pig skinned) scientists/researchers. Unhabituated groups you will not find - dream on.
So whoever is selling you such a trip, must be having very up to date inside information about who is where and when.
I highly doubt that the conmen at Bunyonyi have that.

Secondly, even when having a permit and despite all information the UWA rangers have, there is a possibility that the gorilla groups prove too difficult to find. Tracking based on unofficial information: good luck.

And to base yourself for a Bwindi tour in Bunyonyi is impossible. It's 4 hours away from Bwindi by 4X4...(dry condidions)

It seems Birdy just has no clue at all.
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Old 12 Jan 2010
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I did consider an honest mistake and meaning to say:"$1 000 per couple" by Birdie. It used to be $350 per person.

So where would you recommend staying?
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Old 13 Jan 2010
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There's a very cool backpacker lodge on the eastern outskirts of Arusha (whose name eludes me at the moment). They'll rent you tents if they run out of room on thier dorms and chalets.

Base yourself in Ruhengiri, Rwanda for the Gorillas and then hire a local 4x4 to take you (and up to 8 pax) along to see the Gorillas - they're amazing.
Mark's Web Albums if you want some insights

The gorilla treks start early in the moring (6-7sh ) from the ranger station and you'll be likely to get back to you hotel around midday. Our local guide arranged the permits on the day. I was travelling solo but met others to form a group of 8. Permits in 07 were US$350 each and another US$50 for the 4X4 guy - I'd do it again in a hearbeat. In over 70 countries visited the gorillas were one of the most awe inspiring things I've done.
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Old 13 Jan 2010
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oh, and one last thing. Say G'day to Ainslie (my girlfriend's father) up there in Mackay - he's the old dude with a walking stick and Ulysses jacket that rides a K1100 with a sidecar :-)
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  #12  
Old 13 Jan 2010
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Photos

Mark, your photos are great, if you know of any "must see" on the way from
Cairo - Capetown let me know.

Thanks
Paul

and Birdy looks like your in the Shit ! (LOL )
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Old 19 Jan 2010
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Quote:
In my experience gorilla viewing without permit is stupid. First of all most habituated groups are continuously monitored by rangers (trackers) and/or (pig skinned) scientists/researchers. Unhabituated groups you will not find - dream on.
So whoever is selling you such a trip, must be having very up to date inside information about who is where and when.
I highly doubt that the conmen at Bunyonyi have that.

Secondly, even when having a permit and despite all information the UWA rangers have, there is a possibility that the gorilla groups prove too difficult to find. Tracking based on unofficial information: good luck.
Apologies for attempting to help. When we did this in September it worked for us.

I had been told that the permits have since jumped up to $1000, sorry if my info was incorrect.


Quote:
And to base yourself for a Bwindi tour in Bunyonyi is impossible. It's 4 hours away from Bwindi by 4X4...(dry condidions)
It didn't seem too impossible when we did it a few months ago. It took less than two hours to get there, in a regular car, in the wet.

Birdy
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