Trek Talk - ElderTreks Blog


ElderTreks New Office


ElderTreks is on the move! We are heading to our new offices at 23 Clinton St, Toronto, ON M6J 2N9 as of October 31, 2016.

Please update your information and if you need to mail us anything (we love cards!), please use our new mailing address. Our phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.

We look forward to helping you travel the world from our new offices. If you are ever in the area, please stop by and say hi!

We look forward to organizing the best in small group travel for adventure travelers 50+ in our new home!



Amanda Dunning - October 31, 2016

We wanted to share some exciting news from Uganda! Three infant mountain gorillas were born there this year!

Gorilla Mother with Babies

Approximately 480 mountain gorillas, more than half the world's population of this critically endangered creature (a subspecies of the eastern gorilla), reside in the dense forests of southwestern Uganda, and that number has grown with the recent birth of three infants since mid-August. Adventurous visitors tracking the habituated Habinyanja gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park spotted the newest arrival in late September.

Uganda has 12 habituated mountain gorilla families (11 in Bwindi and one in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), and the opportunity to track them in their natural habitat tops the bucket lists of wildlife enthusiasts and intrepid travelers worldwide. Researchers began the Habinyanja family's two-year habituation process in 1997, spending time with them daily until they became at ease around humans. The other two infants belong to the Bushaho and Bikyirigi families, which are currently undergoing habituation and cannot yet be tracked by visitors. Read more from the official press release here

Mother Gorilla with baby

If you can’t wait to visit these majestic creatures, come and join us on our Uganda & Rwanda experience.

Uganda offers much more than gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. In Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can view lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, topis and hartebeests, not to mention over 1,000 different bird species including the impressive grey crowned crane, the national bird of Uganda. Continuing to Ishasha, we have a rare opportunity to see the tree-climbing lions perched in the fig trees. Both Uganda & Rwanda are home to some of the friendliest people in all of Africa who can’t wait to share their home, wildlife, and culture with you! Join us today! Or read more about what trekking with the gorillas is really like here.



- October 27, 2016

Top 5 Must-Have Travel Accessories for Adventure Travelers

Adventure travelers are a different breed. They take pride in unique, active and exhilarating experiences, and with that comes the need for gear that can keep up with them. With years of experience traveling the world, most adventurers come up with their go-to travel products that they never leave home without. Here are some of ElderTreks’ favorite travel accessories for adventure travelers.

Hiking Boots

It doesn’t matter the brand or if they are shorter or higher up the ankle – hiking boots are a must-have for any adventure traveler who likes to get off the beaten path and tread into the mud! As any adventurer would know, make sure to break in your boots before you put them to the test on the road. We're a big fan of the Merrell brand, but you can't go wrong with a comfortable, waterproof hiking boot. Don't skimp out on footwear - it's an item that can make or break your experience. You want good quality, comfort, and longevity from your shoes so if you're going to splurge somewhere - this would be the place!

We recommend: Merrell Hiking Boots

Merell Hiking Boot

Action Camera

Although adventure travelers love to live in the now and not spend all of their time behind the lens, cameras are a must to capture some of the unique landscapes and cultures that they come across. Imagine not having a camera while meeting the holy men in Varanasi or seeing the classic cars whizz by in Havana. It would be a shame not to have those moments and memories collected. Cameras have greatly improved over the years and although large DSLRs are great, even smaller video cameras are catching up. GoPros and smaller point and clicks or iPhones take memorable photos that have great quality. They're fun for those water experiences as well, like swimming with beluga whales or white water rafting.

We recommend: GoPro Camera HERO + LCD Video Recording Camera

Go Pro Hero Camera

Worldwide Adapter

As you travel to many countries, it becomes impractical to have an adapter for every single place you visit. Worldwide adapters are especially handy if you're visiting multiple countries on one trip. Just don’t forget that converters are for electrical items that require voltage conversions – so don’t forget to pack those if you have a hair dryer or something similar (not really feasible for jungle treks or camping trips in Patagonia, but you know what we mean!). Most electronics (cell phones, cameras, etc.) are dual voltage so you shouldn’t have any trouble plugging them in (just always check the label first). The new adapters now have USB ports as well which is always handy!

We recommend: OREI M8 Worldwide Adapter

Luggage Scale

If you are traveling in small planes, boats, and/or tuk-tuks, packing light is the key to any successful adventure travelers’ journey. Having a luggage scale is handy to make sure that your luggage is at the right weight. It helps you avoid paying those enormous charges at the airport (and from madly unpacking at the airport check-in counter – been there, done that!). The digital scales today even come equipped with thermometers and are pretty accurate when it comes to weights.

We recommend: Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale

Etekcity Luggage Scale

Money Belt

Money belts are tried and tested and most travelers have used it, and it typically gets a very touristy rap. With thieves improving their game nowadays it's crucial to protect your information with RFID protection. There are money belts out there now that block people from stealing your credit card’s information. You’ll still look silly, of course, but at least your information will be safe.

We recommend: Travel Passport Credit Protector 

RFID Money Belt


These are just a few of the many travel accessories that are out there. What are your favorites?



Amanda Dunning - October 14, 2016

How to prepare for your small group tour

So you’ve booked your first small group tour. You’re probably pretty excited, but don’t know where to start to prepare. At first glance, planning and preparing for your tour might seem overwhelming. To make it more manageable, we’ve broken it down into steps for you to follow as you prep for your upcoming small group tour!

Step 1: Do Your Research

Your Tour Leader will be guiding you throughout the tour, providing informative details on everything you do and see in the destination. It’s always good to have a basis for understanding before you arrive. Doing some background research on the place, people. culture, language will help you feel more comfortable in a foreign destination and allow you to ask insightful questions to your Tour Leader.

Step 2: Exercise

Your multi-day tour will be tiring both physically and mentally. It’s important to keep yourself active in preparation for your trip. Start walking more if you aren’t already, and climbing steps if you aren’t as comfortable doing that. The more you move, the easier it will be on the trip. Re-read the Activity Level on your trip so you understand how much and how far you will have to walk or hike and what you will experience on the road.

Step 3: Read Your Pre-Trip Documents

Pre-trip documents are sent out for a reason! They include all of the most helpful tips and information that you need. Pretty much any question you have, they can answer. They become sort of like a checklist for you as you are preparing. The final documents are sent out approximately 30 days before the trip and include things like your hotel list, packing info, and much more.

Step 4: Ask Questions

If you do have questions that aren’t answered by your pre-trip documents, write them down and give our team members at ElderTreks a call or send us an email. That way you can rest assured you are all set and ready to go! Our team will help take care of you from start to finish.

Step 5: Prep Your Loved Ones at Home

Make sure to leave a copy of the itinerary and hotel list with your loved ones at home. You should also establish a way to contact you while you’re in destination whether it's by cell phone, email or Skype. This way they will know how to contact you and can follow along with your trip. You might also want to inform them that it may be difficult for you to send updates if you’re in a country that has poor wi-fi (Iran, Cuba, the middle of the jungle, etc).

Step 6: Pack & get your meds together

Follow your packing list and get everything together. Make sure you don’t overpack, because it’s never fun to bring with you to the airport (even though you won’t be carrying your bags around much while on tour) and sometimes larger bags won’t be allowed on small local transportation if it's too heavy or too big. Don’t forget to pack and label your medications and ensure that you have enough with you. If you are going to an area of the world where medications might be difficult to come by, bring extra or bring certain ones with you that you might not normally. Speaking of medications, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. 

Step 7: Reconfirm & Check-In

Before you head out for your international flight, make sure to reconfirm your flights and check-in. Checking in for your flights saves you time and money (usually prepaying for your checked bag is a few dollars less). Always bring your emergency phone number list just in case of difficulty reaching your airport transfer. Printing off documents or having them in a place on your phone or tablet is a good way to ensure you have everything you need. You will also want to bring your proof of travel insurance and make sure you have any other necessary paperwork (proof of immunization, etc.) based on what your Country Director and trip documents has told you.

Step 8: Get excited about your trip!

The above point does go without saying, but it’s an important part of getting ready for your small group tour. The more excited you are, the keener you will be on reading the documents, buying and/or packing your gear and preparing your loved ones at home. That excitement should hopefully lead you to and continue on during your tour experience, and you can bring the excitement back with you when you return home.


What else do you do to prepare for your small group tour? Check out one of our most popular tours, our tour to Cuba!

Amanda Dunning - October 11, 2016

Adventure travel is about traveling in small groups on active itineraries, often in remote, exotic locations. To help you decide is adventure travel is right for you, consider the following criteria:

is Adventure Travel Right for You


If this sounds like your idea of travel, then we think you'll love our adventures. Check them out! If you have any further questions about adventure travel, please call us!


Amanda Dunning - October 05, 2016

Polar Bear and Cub by Simon Gee

Polar Bear & Cub by Simon Gee

Polar bears are some of the world’s most intriguing creatures. They seem so cute, fluffy and cuddly, but they're some of nature’s most fearful predators. They are skilled hunters and can smell food up to 30km away! They have no shortage of fear because they have no enemies in the wild. 

One of the best places in the world to see polar bears is Churchill, Manitoba. Located a short flight (or a long train ride) from Winnipeg, Churchill is a remote Northern Canadian town famous for the polar bears that inhabit the surroundings (and often, the town too).

In Churchill you can explore the Eskimo Museum, go dogsledding and walk around and check out the small northern town. You might even be able to see the northern lights while you're there. All of that is great - but you came to see the polar bears! Head out to see them in a converted school bus with giant wheels - a Tundra Buggy! The bears will come right up (but luckily, out of reach of you) so you will get many close encounters with these majestic beings. The Tundra Buggies usually have a viewing platform at the back where you can get incredible shots of bears playing and exploring the snowy tundra. The photos are sure to make your friends and family jealous!

The best time of year to see Polar Bears in the wild in Churchill is October and November. The reason being, the bears are headed to their seal hunting grounds after their summers, and are waiting for the ice to freeze over Hudson’s Bay. It's chilly up north, but well worth the extra layers for the opportunity to see so many polar bears.

Here are some photos to show you more about the experience in the Polar Bear Capital of the World! Photos don’t do the experience justice, but check them out:

Eskimo Museum Churchill Doug Ross

Eskimo Museum, Churchill. Photo by Doug Ross.

Northern Lights Churchill Bob Debets

Northern Lights. Photo by Bob Debets.

Tundra Buggy Churchill Karl Heinz-Raach

Tundra Buggy & a Polar Bear. Photo by Karl Heinz-Raach.

Photo from inside Tundra Buggy Churchill

Easy to take amazing pictures from a Tundra Buggy

Tundra Buggy Jim Baldwin

Close enough for you? Photo by Jim Baldwin.

Tundra Buggy and Polar Bears - Robert R Taylor

Photo by Robert R Taylor.

Are Polar Bears on your wildlife must see list? Consider taking ElderTreks’ Polar Bears of Churchill tour. 

- October 04, 2016

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