Beyond Expectations 10-day gorilla tour in Rwanda and Uganda. The gorilla safaris tours provided a wonderful, personalized tour of Rwanda and Uganda. Jackie selected accommodations that were locally owned and operated which was important to me. Gorilla Safaris Tours was the only adventure tour company to advertise the ability to cross borders and tour in both Rwanda and Uganda. This made efficient travel possible given our limited vacation time.
My cousin and I started in Kigali, Rwanda, and traveled to Volcanoes National Park, then entered Uganda, visiting Bwindi Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kibale Forest National Park, and flying out through Entebbe, Uganda. There was no time spent backtracking and driving back to Kigali, which left more time for viewing wildlife and other activities.
Jackie has contacts and friends throughout both countries, and we took full advantage of this. Some highlights for me were to stay in Muhavura Hotel, which was Dian Fossey’s “Home away from home” and hiking to her grave site with local college students, majoring in tourism. They were so energetic, polite, and fun even while we all struggled through the mud.
Our porters, Dany and Jean Claude, and our guide, Odela, were invaluable. We were lucky to see a gorilla along this hike which is not common! We then went onto Uganda and did gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi National Park. We stayed a Rushaga Gorilla Lodge in a beautiful location. I had the most incredible stay here, and of course, an incredible day of gorilla trekking.
Rushaga Gorilla Lodge is beautiful, very clean, and incredible staff who will get you anything you need. The food is delicious and after a day of gorilla trekking, they even have massage therapists on staff who are excellent.
They have two pools, a beautiful bar and outside seating area, and even pack you a lunch for your day of trekking or the day you leave. They truly have thought of everything. Our rangers, Patrick and Eleisha, were knowledgeable and professional along with our porters Gloria, Abel, Innocent and Ronald. The gorillas were amazing and even visited a cave where they had not been seen to utilize before.
We then hiked from Nkuringo to Buhoma through Bwindi National Park. Our guide, Mandela, was also knowledgeable. On this hike, in addition to the black and white colobus, red colobus, L’Hoest’s, and vervet monkeys, we saw a chimpanzee, which Mandela said was the 1st time one had been seen. They usually run from humans. We stayed at the beautiful Haven Lodge in Buhoma, which is community owned!
From here we traveled to Queen Elizabeth National Park where, in addition to the common sightings of cob, water buck, topi, warthog, hippo and elephant, we saw 2 milky eagle owls, 2 hyenas lounging in a watering hole, a lioness hunting cob and a leopard, who posed just for us! We stayed at the Buffalo Safari Lodge. When we walked into our room, we said “WOW”! We also went on the boat tour in the channel between Lake Edward and Lake George.
Emma, was our guide and has a degree in wildlife and natural resources. He did a phenomenal job! We saw many, many hippos, crocodiles and elephants as well as several bird species. From there we traveled to Kibale Forest National Park and stayed at the Rwenzori View Guest House. This place had “family-style” meals which offered us a chance to get to know other travelers.
We did the chimpanzee habituation experience and enjoyed that very much. Our guide was, Edison, who had worked for the National Park Service for 22 years. Emma then arranged for a tour of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is a local, conservation area spearheaded, developed and managed by the community. This won an award from UNESCO Wetlands Sustainable Tourism Project as the best community sustainable tourism project! Katie was our guide and was wonderful. The monkeys in the area are somewhat habituated, so we saw red colobus, black and white colobus, red-tailed, and vervet monkeys.
We also saw many bird species. On our last day, we toured the Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves near Fort Portal. Ignatious “Iggi” was our knowledgeable guide with over 7 years of experience. We also hike to the 3 Explosion Crater Lakes where we climbed to the highest peak and had a 360-degree view of the area. Absolutely beautiful! From there, we drove the last few hours to Entebbe, where we enjoyed Burundi drummers on the beach of Lake Victoria, before flying out.
Jackie, owner of Gorilla Safaris Tours, can be trusted with providing you with a personalized tour, is professional and has a contagious smile! I would highly recommend Gorilla Safaris Tours.