Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Senior travel and product specialist
"The heart-stopping moment you experience when you come face to face with a gorilla is one of the most unforgettable wildlife experiences to be had anywhere in the world."
Rwanda

Rwanda Reviews

'Hi Craig

The trip was very good.  We were really fortunate with the weather and had a dry morning for the gorillas, and the group were only 10 minutes in from the edge of the forest so was really easy for me.  The group were magical and very funny and we were so close.

The afternoon for the views was not quite so good as it rained, but it was OK.

The trip to the monkeys was also dry and the guides were really excellent both times in looking after me.

The cultural village was really funny.  We laughed all afternoon – as we did much of the trip.

Gisenyi was much as expected, with little to do, made worse owing to genocide week.  Although we couldn’t have gone another week it would be good to bear this in mind for other clients as everything shuts at lunch time all week.

However, Moussa arranged a lake trip which included the coffee plantation and that was wonderful.  The cost was $100 each, same as a lake tour, but we ended up giving locals a lift which made the trip more interesting and had a wonderful tour of the coffee plantation.  John and his staff were excellent and in no hurry to end the tour.  We ended up being out for 6 hrs, and again lots of laughs.

Moussa was excellent and took the 4x4 into all sorts of placed to reduce my walking.  He found us fabric in a local market and a really good craft shop.  Shopping was really difficult owing to the trips being mornings and the shops closed in the afternoon.

Had lots of fun.  The Gorilla mountain view lodge was 5* and the service above and beyond – our every need was anticipated.

Thank you for a lovely trip.  

Kind regards

Tricia'

Ms Swift and Ms George
May 12, 2016
'Dear Fiona,
 
Further to our telephone conversation please find attached some comments that I hope you may be able to use in your reviews.
 
Flame Tree Village is one of the 3B Group of Hotels. Our accommodation was listed as a double room which in actuality is a villa with an open plan lounge with balcony, dining room and kitchen accessed from the entrance. Downstairs is a very large bedroom with doors leading to a small private garden, also a large en-suite bathroom with a large corner bath and separate shower stall. Great service from the friendly staff and a good meal made us appreciate that Rwanda really welcomes visitors.
 
Our arrival at Nyungwe Forest Lodge was after sunset and to see it with thunder and lightning crashing around the surrounding mountains was spectacular. The lodge itself is very luxurious with a large comfortable lounge, bar area and restaurant. Each area has access to outside seating and dining tables if required. The Lodge lounge is the best place to access the free wi-fi and relax before another excellent dinner and very good and comfortable night’s sleep.
If only we had had time to relax and appreciate all of the Nyungwe Forest Lodge’s facilities – maybe next time.
 
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge was the second of the 3B Group of Hotels in which we stayed. The lodge benefits from having very extensive grounds offering impressive views from the open areas and well maintained planted areas. The cottages are of a good size and very comfortable. Seating outside allows you to appreciate the great variety of birds that use the gardens. Inside the fireplace will be tended and a fire lit on cooler evenings.
All meals offered were buffet style with some of the meat dishes being finished on a BBQ. Possibly one of the reasons for this style of meal is that the lodge suffered a number of short power failures none of which affected our enjoyment of the location and facilities.
The services offered by the lodge included cleaning your hiking boots on your return from any activity and hot water bottles in your bed on cooler nights. The lounge and reception area is very comfortable and provides access to free wi-fi.
 
Activities
When we had read the itinerary and saw that our first activity was a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi we found it rather discomforting but the brief film and visual presentation through the museum provides a really moving display of the recent history of Rwanda. The centre also symbolises the starting point for the integrated nation and future development of the country.
 
The drive to Nyungwe Forest included a stop at the King’s Palace Museum including an opportunity to see the Ankole cattle, such amazing horns. After a good lunch in a fairly large restaurant in Butare we drove to the National Museum and were given a guided tour. We were then lead outside to where the Intore Dancers gave an energetic performance for just five visitors, outstanding.
 
Chimpanzee tracking is very strenuous requiring a lot of energy. The terrain is such that you will be generally either ascending or descending slopes where there is no actual path. When you can find them the view can be quite restricted as the chimpanzees live generally in the canopy.
 
The Uwinka visitor centre has a map displaying the various walks they cover and the time required for each. The Canopy walk is part of a 2.1km hike and requires a descent of 204 metres at the start which, of course, requires an ascent of 204 metres to complete the hike. The actual canopy walk was constructed in 2010 by the Green Heart NGO with support from USAID. The amount of flex in the walk means that a firm grip is required on the narrow metal plates. The views can be spectacular if the weather is clear and sunny but regretfully not for our visit.
 
We were assigned to an easy access group of Gorillas, the Hirwa group. Our trip started with a 15 minute drive to the start point of the walk, followed by a kilometre walk to the park wall. Once inside the park we followed our guides up and up for about an hour until the trackers reported that the group had gone down to the river bed over 25m below our current position. Our guides then proceeded to hack a path to traverse the very steep slope down to the river bed. Leaving our bags with the porters at this point and climbing up the river bed we quickly got our first sight of a gorilla. This was immediately followed by spotting many others around us in the vegetation on each side of the river bed. While the other six visitors climbed out of the river bed in search of more gorillas we stayed and enjoyed the company of those nearest us but with views of the rest of the group.
 
Travel
Kenya Airways on-line check in 30 hour before take-off was particularly useful and the allocated seats were so good that I did not need to try to change our seating. It has been quite a few years since we have used Terminal 4 at Heathrow and we were surprised to find so few flights using this facility making our wait with no crowds comfortable.
The onward connection at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport went very smoothly and after being bussed to the plane it was very gratifying to watch our baggage being loaded onto the same plane.
Kigali immigration was efficient with photos and thumb prints being recorded followed by a slight delay waiting for the baggage at the carousel.  To then see the card for “Rainbow Tours” being held by our driver, Moses, reinforced the view that we were embarking on an exciting tour beyond our expectations.
Moses is an excellent guide and driver with whom we were always comfortable. Our journey times may have been slightly longer than shown on our itinerary but were appreciated when viewing the number accidents and hazards observed on the roads.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge very kindly supplied us with packed lunches for our long drive to Mountain Gorilla View Lodge in Musanze near Volcanoes National Park.  It would probably have been preferred to have stopped at an hotel or restaurant somewhere in or near Kibuye where a Western standard toilet break could be taken.
 
Once again Dianne and I wish to thank you and Derek for organising our fabulous trip'.
Mr and Mrs Passmore
March 18, 2016

'Joel was probably the best guide I have ever had on a holiday. He was well informed, helpful - absolutely the best. I would recommend him widely. He gets 4 stars from all of us. 

Cormoran Lodge: We absolutely loved this polace and wanted to stay forever.  Breakfast at Kivu Serena was excellent but we would have liked to have stayed somewhere smaller or with more atmosphere. It could have been anywhere in the world.

Gorilla Mountain View Lodge: excellent in all respects. The best meals we had anywhere.'

Hindle party
January 4, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent.

Gorilla Mountain View Lodge: excellent comfort, service, location, meals and facilities.

Wildebeest Camp: Excellent comfort and location. Good service, meals and facilities. Barking dogs and noisy toads kept me awake! Perfect otherwise.

Amboseli Porini Camp: Excellent in all respects.

Rwandan driver-guide Mussa and hotel staff second-to-none. Nothing was too muc bother and everything was undertaken with  smile. Went beyond the call of duty - lovely people, amazing country and amazing Gorillas!

Masai guides, Tony the camp manager at Porini and everyone fantastic hosts. Smiling and hospitable & fantastic wildife spotters. An amazing experience.'

Freer-Smith
December 7, 2015

'The Nomad Lodge (Lamai) is very well run. Beautiful, fantastic, really really good. The couple who manage it is lovely. The Nairobi hotel near the airport  (Ole Sereni) was very good. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge at PNV is very good. Loved the Gorillas!

We really enjoyed Arusha Coffee Lodge. Greystoke Mahale was great. We loved the pet Pelican! Lamai Serengeti was worth paying for. Top drawer!. I've always wanted to see the migration and we saw a BIG one - a major crossing - some ten thousand Wildebeest crossing, with Crocs taking some of them. Standard of the accommodations and hospitality was fantastic. We will go back!'

Brown and Porter party
December 1, 2015

'Service from tour operator: Excellent. Holiday satisfaction: Excellent. Gorilla Mountain View Lodge: good. Flame Tree Village (Kigali): good. The local guide/driver Andrew was excellent as he has good knowledge of what to see to have things done'

Andrews
July 2, 2015

Chameleon Tours were excellent, even suggesting a place to have a meal before waiting at the airport. Air Kenya were very efficient. Our guide Moses from Magic Safaris had an excellent understanding of what tourists want – we couldn’t fault him at all. The best guide we have had over eight safaris!

M. Warrior
February 20, 2015

Our guide was dedicated to us. Very helpful, flexible, polite and really cared for us – a great ambassador for Rwanda!

B Cannon
November 2, 2013
Review items: Rwanda    

First class, great host!

B Cannon
November 2, 2013

Chez Lando a perfect location for early airport departure, a good choice.


 

John and Caroline Close
February 1, 2012
Review items: Chez Lando    

Thanks so much for organising such a fabulous trip – we saw and experienced all that we had hoped for and a bit more. The two local tour companies, in Rwanda and Madagascar were magnificent. Most went according to plan and the guides and drivers were exemplary. I would like to make special mention of Aimable (our guide) in Rwanda. He is a thoroughly nice man, extremely knowledgeable and very accommodating.

Similarly our guides and driver made our trip to Mantadia National Park in Madagascar forever memorable. Marc and Charles, guide and driver respectively, are such good company and we laughed our way around. Maurice, the local guide there, really did know his stuff.
 

K & S Humphries
July 1, 2011
Review items: Rwanda    

Thanks so much for organising such a fabulous trip – we saw and experienced all that we had hoped for and a bit more. Your two local tour companies in Rwanda and Madagascar were magnificent. Most went according to plan and the guides and drivers were exemplary. I would like to make special mention of Aimable (our guide) in Rwanda. He is a thoroughly nice man, extremely knowledgeable and very accommodating.



Similarly our guides and driver made our trip to Mantadia National Park in Madagascar forever memorable. Marc and Charles, guide and driver respectively, are such good company and we laughed our way around. Maurice, the local guide there, really did know his stuff.

K & S Humphries
July 1, 2011
Review items: Rwanda    

Transfers were excellent, we were visiting central Africa after all!

O Cronin
June 29, 2011
Review items: Rwanda    

Rooms only ok, ants on the bedside lockers, no air conditioning, but we were understanding of our location so we expected some discomfort.

O Cronin
June 29, 2011

Both nice hotels, clean facilities and rooms

O Cronin
June 29, 2011

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is an excellent location [close to Volcanoes national park], with good service, meals and facilities.

A Prophet
February 28, 2011

Everything went very well. We thoroughly enjoyed the country, the people, [our guide] and especially the gorillas. The itinerary that Chania helped me put together worked perfectly and totally met both our wishes and our expectations. Seeing the gorillas is an experience without compare and was made even better by the flawless travel experience heading up to it. Thank you.

P Conway
August 31, 2010
Review items: Rwanda    

Rwanda (is) outstandingly beautiful. (We) would like to go back. [We had] an excellent guide. Virunga Lodge stunning.

I James
August 30, 2010
Review items: Rwanda    

Virunga Lodge is outstanding, even though slightly distant from Gorilla Park HQ. Would have liked to stay a day longer.

James
August 30, 2010
Review items: Virunga Lodge    

In July this year we were fortunate enough to be able to visit Rwanda and be guided by Musa. It was very relaxed and benefited from being able to tailor our itinerary to fit as much in as possible. Musa was helpful, charming and good company. What can I say about the Gorillas? Amazing!!

Seana & Ian Whitfield
August 11, 2010
Review items: Rwanda    

A simple hotel, clean, comfortable. Very much appreciated.

S Whitfield
July 30, 2010

Very nice accommodation with comfortable rooms in attractive garden.

S Whitfield
July 30, 2010
Review items: Chez Lando    

We are just back this morning from Rwanda. Just to say without delay that the trip was a huge success, totally meeting all our expectations, with no hiccups whatsoever. Lovely country, lovely people, driver Mussa excellent company and the gorillas - well, what is the right superlative!

P & L Conway
June 21, 2010
Review items: Rwanda    

This holiday exceeded all expectations. The gorilla and chimpanzee treks were brilliant but we were so impressed with the Rwandan people and the beautiful countryside/ scenery. Our guide, Musa was friendly, knowledgeable and had great sense of humour.

J Eltringham
June 4, 2009
Review items: Rwanda    

Gorillas Nest Lodge has a great location. We had no hot water for the duration of our stay, and the standard was a little more basic than we had become accustomed to with Kivu Sun, but you would expect that in the middle of a national park. Still very pleasant.

A England
November 17, 2005

We had an unimaginably wonderful time in Rwanda - Africa's best kept secret, tragic as it is. We are very lucky to be able to afford it.

Everything ran like clockwork, not least because we had a very caring guide in the shape of Aimable Hakizamungu although, amusingly, daughter Claire was able to show him a couple of gems of places to eat in Butare (which is off the main tourist trail) as she had been a student there for a month.

Thank you for your part in making it the great holiday it was.

Hugh Pelly
Review items: Rwanda    
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