For all four safaris now, I've realized that once you've booked (which in my case was in June!) it is truly all over but the waiting. There's nothing you can do to bide your time. Now that I have all the gear and the camera and know how it all works, all I can do to make the time go by is read trip reports on Safaritalk and wonder how my safari will go.
We had our pre-departure call with our Rwanda safari planner this week. It was pretty cut and dry. She's very organized and knows what we need to know. Plus I've found a good bunch of folks on Safaritalk who have done this, so not a lot of questions left.
After different answers from different people, I tried again and was able to successfully submit my Rwandan visa application. I'd been instructed by the Rwandan government that US citizens just get it on arrival, but other US travelers had gotten it online. I'd just like to have it in hand when I land, to cut down on the nonsense that needs to be done after 20 hours in transit.
I found a lightweight backpack for the gorilla trekking. It's small enough that it shouldn't take up much space in my luggage. I've figured out snacks to bring and have started wearing my hiking boots on my commute to work to break them in. My trainer also has me doing lots of strength work for my legs and I'm running hills and the step mill regularly to get used to that. Truly, I am scraping bottom for things to do "to get ready"!
I'll organize the cash I'm bringing to account for the tips I'll have to give and money to hire porters and whatnot this weekend. And I'll likely practice pack just to prove to myself that I can go carry-on again!
This past weekend I watched both Hotel Rwanda and Gorillas in the Mist to get myself up to speed on those stories again. I did have a "oh shit" moment though when I saw the guides using machetes to hack through vegetation to get through to the gorillas. Yes, that'll be me. Yes, I'm doing that. Gulp.
I'm not wholly focused on Rwanda, although that's been the most mental overhead for me this time. I am of course quite anxious to get back to my beloved Mara and see the cats and elephants at Sheldricks again. But that's the last part of the trip and I can't wish it away so soon! Oh how I want to relax like I did last year again!
Nearly there. Just some more waiting to get through.