Our Top Client’s Reviews

What a life-changing experience in Rwanda And Uganda

Ahsante, Billy! We are finally home after such wonderful adventures in your beautiful continent! We planned the trip to see all the wildlife, but we were blessed to also meet very kind, welcoming people especially in Tanzania and Uganda. It was truly an amazing trip and we are very appreciative of all the hard work you do in planning an itinerary that provides so many great things to see, but also provides accommodations that were extremely comfortable, clean and safe. The staff at all the hotels were all so very kind and helpful.

Thanks for recommending Five to Five Hotel, it was lovely and had a nice restaurant and excellent views of the city! Great friendly service too!

Five Volcanoes was beautiful. We loved the big fireplace inside and the small charcoal fires near the tables to add a bit of warmth. The young men who helped put on our gaitors and then removed them and our hiking shoes to clean them, and gave us a foot massage too was so unexpected, but such a nice surprise. The hot water didn’t work in our room and once they realized that wasn’t working, they promptly changed us to another room. I felt guilty, as I realize hot showers are not even a possibility for many people living in that area.

Ichumbi in Kisoro was very nice, and their chef was THE BEST one the whole trip. His food was just delicious and we kept saying he could be a chef at one of New York City’s finest restaurants if he wanted to! Patrick, our waiter there, was so very kind and so respectful, and tried so hard to be of the best service. This hotel is so nice, and yet it had only two rooms in use our first night, and only us the second night. Somehow it has to be promoted more to get more people to enjoy what it has to offer and to enjoy the Mgahinga Gorillas!

Ichumbi near Bwindi was also very nice, a lot more busy as Bwindi is more popular, but it was a lovely hotel. Its location so close to the Bwindi gate was very convenient and provided for a much easier climb to see the gorillas than in Mgahinga.

Engazi was awesome. We loved it, loved the view of Queen Elizabeth National Park, even saw elephants in the distance from our porch. There were 150 steps down to our cabin and guests should be told that ahead of time. It was no problem for us, but we have a friend who would not have been able to handle all those steps. The people there offered to launder some of our clothes and that was very helpful so we had clean clothes for our last part of our trip in Zanzibar.

Emmanuel was a great driver. We appreciated him taking us to see the Kigali Genocide Museum, so heart wrenching, and the Kandt House Museum and he did drive us around Kigali, but didn’t have a lot of information to share about the city on the tour. He really knew exactly what to do when crossing the border, even getting us to go to the front of the line, which I felt very bad about, I didn’t want any

special privileges. He was kind and answered many of our questions as best he could. His English was limited and we couldn’t always understand him or him us, but we managed fine. He was a good driver too, navigating all the ruts, potholes, and bumps as best he could. The road from Kisoro to Bwindi was in such bad shape, I felt so bad that he had to drive that way there and the same way back the next day. If Uganda could ever pave that road, its scenery was spectacular and would be so much better! We always felt very safe and comfortable with Emmanuel as our driver and guide! We also enjoyed our last stop at a women owned coffee company shop our last day. He was great!

In comparing our Tanzania tour with our Uganda one, we always ate lunch and dinner with our driver in Tanzania. We asked Emmanuel several times to join us, but he kept saying it wasn’t right, and that he only ate two meals per day. He did finally join us for lunch on our last day.

The Gorillas… Thanks to YOU for suggesting Mgahinga as I didn’t even know about that option. The road to the trailhead from Kisoro was very rough, and the trail up from the parking area to the national park was quite challenging with the many rocks and boulders you have to climb up. We were very appreciative of the porters who were constantly helping us, giving us a hand to help pull us up. We also were very appreciative of the hiking sticks! The 75 minutes extra walking in the park to find the gorillas was more managable, especially with the porters’ help. They even inspected our shoes and socks after we walked through an ant trail. Once we reached the gorilla family, they were right out in the open, very visible, very easy to watch and photograph. Seeing three silverbacks, one infant, and all the others swinging and tumbling and eating was so incredible. The infant even walked right up to Dave and grabbed his pants! We liked that this park was uncrowded and only our group was going from the starting point there. So the rough climb up Mt. Muhabura was very worth it!

Bwindi’s experience was also very special, but different. About 80 people were at the starting point, before being broken up into smaller groups for different walks to see different families. Emmanuel had already signed us up for one of the easier walks. After the challenging climb the day before, we appreciated his choice! This time we only walked up a gradual trail about 15 minutes, before we turned into the grass and started making our way down the very slippery, grassy slope, crossing at the bottom and going up the other side to get near the gorilla family. Again, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without porters and our hiking sticks! The gorillas here were not as out in the open as the Mgahinga group, and at first, we were only seeing them through the foliage of the trees, but eventually many did sit out in the open more and we did get many great pictures. Even one of the trackers said we were very lucky to be able to see them so visibly that day.

Between the two countries, I did feel Rwanda’s Five Volcanoes was better prepared for the gorilla treks as they provided many hiking poles and the gaitors which we did use for our Golden Monkey trek. Uganda’s lodges didn’t have those. The National Park gates did have hiking sticks, but at Bwindi, there were only a few, so our leader actually went off trail and chopped a few branches at the beginning of our hike to make more hiking sticks for people who needed them. Gaitors would have been helpful

climbing down the wet, grassy slopes and walking through wet, muddy streams in Bwindi. We did appreciate the garden gloves Emmanuel provided. We had brought some as they were on your packing list, but I never even got mine out.

I can’t think of any more suggestions, other than to cut down on the amount of food served at each meal. Lunches don’t have to include all those courses, a simple salad or sandwich would have been sufficient. The dinners had huge portions, I felt wasteful not eating it all, but it was just too much. Maybe offer the guests the choice of a smaller portion.

The extra activities were all great. We really enjoyed the relaxing canoe ride on Lake Mutahnda with our guide there, he was very good. I think his name was Innocent. The Batwa village guide was Constantine and he was very knowledgable and spoke very good English and really provided so much important information. The Kazinga Channel boat ride was also great, got to see so much wildlife, and Lloyce, our guide on the boat was very knowledgable too and spoke great English. Moses was our guide for the Safari drives, and he managed to spot a tree climbing lion for us, a Giant Forest Hog, several lions, and more. He was good too!

So as you can see, we were very happy with our experience. We would certainly encourage people to consider taking the same trip but we would warn them about the terrible road conditions and multiple speed bumps. My back was sure getting a heavy dose of African Massage on those roads! Thank you so much again for helping us plan a great week in Rwanda and Uganda. We will submit a great review for you on Trip Advisor! Just tell me if I should do it for Rwanda Gorilla Trek or Active African Vacations? Since we actually didn’t do a Rwanda Gorilla Trek, that makes more sense, but I want to make sure you get recognition for planning this and I did find you online through Rwanda Gorilla Trek.