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How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

Washington DC...
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How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

My husband and I are planning five consecutive days of trekking activities in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park and Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We are aiming to do:

Day 1 - Mt. Bisoke Hike (VNP)

Day 2 - Dian Fossey Hike to Karisoke (VNP)

Day 3 - Golden Monkeys Trek (VNP)

Day 4 - Gorilla Trek (BINP)

Day 5 - Gorilla Treak (BINP)

Is this overly ambitious? Are we going to be absolutely exhausted? Or is this reasonable? We are experienced hikers (previously climbed Kili etc.) in our late 20s/early 30s with above average fitness.

We will probably only get to experience that part of the world once, so we want to make it count and do as many things as possible. That being said, we also want what we do to be worthwhile. Are all of these activities worth the effort?

We are traveling the first week of October. How rainy is it by then? Will we have an excruciating amount of mud to contend with?

6 replies to this topic
Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

Honestly, I think this depends on you. Early October should still be comparatively dry, so I think you should expect some mud, but not an excruciating amount.

In terms of the hiking I'd say you should expect it to be like an averagely muddy forest track. You're essentially looking at one big day of hiking (day one- around 6 hours, portions very steep), then two shortish steepish hikes (2-3 hours maybe) then with your gorilla treks it really depends on how high-up a group you get allocated to.

If I were doing this I would definitely make sure that I had some very good boots as I think the last thing you'd want is to get blisters on days 1-3 making days 4-5 agonising.

I'm not sure what else you're doing on your trip, however, I would be tempted to try to include a bit more variety. One of the things that makes Rwanda so special is the people, so you could perhaps by visit some community projects or go to visit the gorilla doctors or do a cycling tour. It really is a very special country and there is so much more to offer beyond the mountains that I think seeing a little more could be more fun and give you so much more of a sense of Rwanda.

Alexandra- Extraordinary Africa

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2. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

I consider myself to be in above-average condition (mid-40s, routinely run 6+ miles a few times a week, cycle 40+, extensive weight training) and three days of trekking in a row was plenty for me. I definitely needed a rest day on day 4. We did golden monkeys then 2 days of gorillas. There's no way I could have done another day of either comfortably. The golden monkeys is comparatively easy unless it's muddy, which you have no way of knowing or controlling going into it. Part of it too is the altitude, so make sure you adjust before you climb.

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

On my trip to Uganda and Rwanda in April this year, I did 4 treks. The first two in Uganda where I would say neither was hard (but neither was easy). We then had a rest day when we drove to Rwanda. Where we then did two more treks - the second of which was easy.

I am healthy, but unfit. I think a massage after the first trek plus the rest day in the middle helped. But I could have done another :)

Washington DC...
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4. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

Thank you so much, everyone, for your helpful replies! Based upon the response, we've decided to play it safe by tacking on an extra day of our trip to provide a rest day in between the Uganda trekking and the Rwanda trekking. We've also switched the order of things so that we are doing the gorillas first, since they are the most important and we want to guarantee we'll have all the energy necessary to devote to those treks. If we happen to run out of steam, we'd much rather end up nixing one of the regular hikes at the end of the trip.

Our modified itinerary is below:

Day 1 - Arrive Late in Kigali / Stay in Kigali

Day 2 - Transfer to Uganda

Day 3 - Gorilla Trek in Bwindi (Rushaga) or Mgahinga

Day 4 - Gorilla Trek in Bwindi (Rushaga) or Mgahinga

Day 5 - Lake Buyonyi and/or Lake Mutanda / Transfer to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Day 6 - Dian Fossey Trek / Karisoke Exhibit at Dian Fossey Gorilla International

Day 7 - Mt. Bisoke

Day 8 - Golden Monkeys / Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village / Transfer to Kigali?

Day 9 - Transfer to Kigali? / Kigali City Tour / Transfer to Airport

Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts about the modified schedule? I'm particularly interested to hear if anyone has visited either Lake Buyonyi and/or Lake Mutanda, which you preferred, and whether you think they can both be done in one day? Also, is there anything else in the Karisoke area that you would consider a "must do" while passing through that area on our rest/transfer day? (I also realize that this might be best posted in the Uganda forum.)

Kampala, Uganda
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5. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

Dear Carissa A

The itinerary is very good and my addition request is the trekking places of Uganda, i suggest after transfer to Uganda do Buhoma or Ruhinja on day one trekk then second trek do Rushaga or Nkuringo so that you feel the real difference in the Gorilla families doing double trekking in one sector will not be all that good.

I am tour operator in Uganda and i always handle more cleints i advise them some even only come to me to book for them the Gorilla permits and do the trekking safari them selves we do all .

If your last trek is in Ruhinja then best to have relaxing time at Lake Buyonyi and if its in Rushaga then relax around Mutanda

On weather for Uganda October the rains are low and its not much muddy but being the forest you expect rain any time so i advise you come with rainy jackets for both you and the cameras, insect repeliers and others but all the lodges have mosquito nets even the mosquitoes are not their in the lodge. Please book in time for the Gorilla permits in Uganda are on high demand since they are sold in first come basis and only a maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit one family of the Gorillas hence eight Gorilla permits are sold daily per family and October is high season

I wish you the best in your planning

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6. Re: How Much Trekking Is Too Much?

I would advise that you consider trekking in Ruhija and then Relax in Bunyonyi and then go for the second Trek in Buhoma.

Since you are experienced hikers this should be good enough for you.

The weather in the first weeks October is unpredictable. Expect some mud though.

Otherwise I wish you all the best.

You can PM for more travel advice should you need more information.

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