August 23 – 29, 2013
While we chose the accommodations and planned our itinerary ourselves, we used the locally based Amahoro Tours to book the Rwandan part of our trip, including lodging in both Kigali and the national park, the driver and all the permits for the golden monkey and gorilla treks as well as the hike up Mt Bisoke. Everything was delivered as promised and without issue. The agents also deserve praise for prompt replies to emails and friendliness.
Gorilla permits are very expensive – $750 each for a one hour visit – and very restricted in terms of number of permits issued. Thus it is recommended to reserve early for busy times of the year such as June to mid-September during the summer dry season.
My only issue with the travel agents at Amahoro was some misinformation concerning the gorilla permits. The permits needed to be paid for in advance, meaning we paid in full in January for an August trip. We were told they would email us a copy of the permits as soon as they were issued. However over a two month period they kept promising the permits would be issued “next week” or “soon” before they finally admitted that the permits were not actually issued until much closer to the actual date of the visit, in our case that meant sometime at the end of July or early August.
To verify our reservation they emailed me a copy of the deposit slip with our names non-existent or misspelled. Not a comforting feeling considering the price of the permits, but everything worked out and we had no problems on the trip. If they had been more direct about how it worked in the first place I wouldn’t have fretted.