1. Order your coffee, beer, lunch, dinner, etc. well before you actually want it. We’re on Africa time here.
2. Brush up on your high school French. Many people speak English here but a little French goes a long way.
3. Learn a few words of Kinyarwanda. For example, bite (bih-teh) means hello.
4. Hit the Stairmaster before you come. I’m not exaggerating too much when I say I haven’t seen a flat spot in the entire country. My guide Alex claims there is open savannah in the East.
5. Bring some sturdy hiking boots. Trekking chimps and gorillas and general hiking can be very slick and slippery.
6. Keep cameras, passports and other valuables in a zip lock bag to avoid damage from moisture.
7. Bring your raincoat. Even in the dry season, showers can make things uncomfortable if you don’t have one.
8. Bring your cell phone: Cell coverage is really excellent here if you have the right bandwidth (Check with your service provider). If you have a crackberry like me, then bring it and you’ll be able to email and surf the net (for a price). And that’s good because very few hotels have internet. (See pic – at this nice hotel I was excited to see the internet room but inside there were no computers!)
9. Don’t bring your cell phone. Yes, I did write #8 but I also remember traveling in Africa before there was much cell service and being out of touch made the adventure even greater.
10. Gorilla trek as many times as possible-every $500 permit is worth every penny.