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“The gorillas were great!”

Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris
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Owner description: Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris Ltd, a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, is one of the few accredited Tour Operator by the Uganda Ministry of Trade and Tourism. We have been in operation since 2005. We delight in providing the most affordable luxury, mid-range and low budget safaris & tour packages to individuals and small groups/ families without any discrimination. Our major purpose is that as many as possible will visit and enjoy the unique beauty of Uganda and Rwanda with a professional and knowledgeable tour guide, through a fast, honest and professional booking service, at the best affordable price possible. We emphasize giving plenty of quality relevant information about Uganda and Rwanda both before and after the tour. Although we delight in earning a profit from our our work, this is not our main driver. We will be most glad when at the end of your visit you feel you want to stay longer than planned and we will be very sad when for any reason (both our own or other factors' making), you fail to make it for your safari in Uganda and Rwanda. So, talk to us today! We will most likely be of more help than you expect - be it gorilla tracking safaris, Rwanda wildlife and game viewing safaris, chimpanzee tracking, and bird-watching packaged tours, culture, white-water rafting, mountain climbing, name it.
Reviewed 6 June 2014

The experience/meeting with the gorillas was amazing!! The camp en food was good. Only the driver put us in a group with 3 old people and we told him that we like to hike..... So it was a very short and slow hike. The way back we got a packed lunch (to less) without break..... The lunchstop at the first day was very good. Unfortunately after the trip we heard nothing any more from the organisation.

Thank FlipFlopHH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gorillas-WildlifeRW, Manager at Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 9 June 2014

Thanks so much for reviewing us, by this we leave and have made great improvements. We really value your input. Glad also that you had a great trip, and really liked everything.
For gorilla groups, it's an arrangement in the hands of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and no one else outside UWA can determine a gorilla group especially if you book within only a few days like you did.
It was really great working with you in preparation for the tour, we know it was a hectic for you and us to put this all together in just a few days for you to go.
We are glad anyway that you chose us and you were generally pleased with the tour.
Thanks and thanks again!
Ivan and team.

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Write a ReviewReviews (224)
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"queen elizabeth national park"
in 14 reviews
"gorilla trek"
in 25 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 15 reviews
"day tour"
in 10 reviews
"gorilla permits"
in 7 reviews
"guide francis"
in 7 reviews
"land cruiser"
in 5 reviews
"budget accommodation"
in 6 reviews
"excellent driver"
in 4 reviews
"three days"
in 4 reviews
"murchison falls national park"
in 4 reviews
"bwindi impenetrable forest"
in 12 reviews
"food was great"
in 6 reviews
"these guys"
in 5 reviews
"uganda rwanda"
in 5 reviews
"long sleeve shirt"
in 3 reviews
"long drive"
in 3 reviews
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Reviewed 20 May 2014

My Experience with Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris was absolutely top notch. If you are reading reviews to determine whether or not this is a good company rest assured that it is. The short story of my experience with this company is that their primary concern was for my comfort, security and safety. What more could you ask for?

I booked my trip on fairly short notice and the owner (Ivan) offered the fastest, most to the point responses of any of the 3 complains that I had initially contacted for a similar trip. Ivan was willing to accommodate a multitude of pickup/drop-off scenarios, payment options and he was helpful in booking accommodations not associated directly with the tour itself. Furthermore, I had some problems with my Rwandan visa and Ivan had some very sound advice to offer. Try getting that from a big box operator.

The properties that I stayed at were the properties that were promised and they were all of the caliber/rating described by Ivan. These properties are seemingly well researched and often used by Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris.

The vehicle was clean, well maintained and capable of handling all the tasks it had to perform on the tour.

The guide (Wilson Bisaso) and his assistant (Farouk) were extremely competent. They were of a calm and polite demeanour with their entire focus on offering me a positive experience. The atmosphere while on tour with them was relaxed and friendly but true to their professional nature they never crossed the line between provider and client. A true professional attitude in every regard. They had no problem accommodating special requests as long as the request was feasible within the context of the overall itinerary and was a safe and legal pursuit. They went above and beyond in providing me with the most complete experience possible.

The tour had a well designed pace that allowed for a lot of activities as well as some down time when needed.

In conclusion I can say that Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris is one of the top tour operators that I have ever death with and I fully recommend giving them the chance to manage your gorilla trekking and/or wildlife viewing experience. No tour operator can guarantee the weather, the availability of wildlife, whether you'll get along with your guide as well as I did but to go back to my opening statement the one thing that is for certain is that Ivan takes the safety and security of his guests very seriously. How much is that worth? I received excellent value for my money with this company and my only regret is that I didn't stay longer.

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3  Thank SSSUCHAN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2014

My boyfriend and I did on line booking for 7 day safari. Communication with agency (Ivan) was fast and very clear. Only thing that happened was that after we paid whole amount nobody confirmed transaction, so we become little bit nerves because it was a lot of money and then at the end we called them, then they confirmed payment and pick up time. We started on 31th March and ended on 6th April 2014.

Since it was low season we were only one on safari. Our driver was Faruk and without him our trip wouldn't be the same. He was very communicative, funny and with a lot of knowledge about areas that we were visiting.
We took budget accommodation. In Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (Kibale National Park) we got room with tree bed. It was nice and clean. Scenery round guesthouse is absolutely majestic.
In Kazinga Channel View Resort (Queen Elizabeth National Park) we were only guests. Accommodation was at interesting location, just by channel surrounded by bushes and wild animals. It is not very old but it is not new. Some parts are not finished and others were falling apart. Our room was big with only bed inside with no other furniture, colour and concrete was peeling off the walls. Bathroom was nice and clean, brand new.
In Buhoma Community Restcamp (Bwindi National Park) we were staying in tent with double bed and bathroom behind tent. Nice terrace with great view.
In every accommodation food was great and all the people that we met we really nice and attentive.
As far as Gorilla Wild Life Safari organization everything was as they stated in their offer. We didn't have any extra expenses except drinks like sodas or beers. They provided water for all seven days and we had all three meals every day.

Good price and good service.

1  Thank milksnake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2014

We have conducted a six day safari with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris Ltd. end of February 2014. Our tour included a roundtrip from Kampla to Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elisabeth NP. Additional to the standard program suggested by Gorillas and Wildlife Safari we included in our tour a sunset walk in a NP and chimpanzee tracking. I can highly recommend both activities if time / budget allows. Especially as given the long travel time from Kampala to the south of Uganda it is great to get out of the safari jeep from time to time.
Ivan, the owner of the company, was very helpful in organizing our tour. Wiring a considerable amount of money to a company (for permits and hotel reservations), which I did not knew at that time, operating in a country I have not been to, was a bid scary. However, Ivan was very helpful in giving us comfort in the company. He organized the tour perfectly and the tour price was very competitive.
Our tour guide, Wilson, was not only very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna but also extremely knowledgeable about the Uganda society and the life of the common people. He was very communicative throughout our tour and eager to show us as much different wildlife as possible. Thanks to his effort we also saw the tree climbing lions in the Queen Elisabeth NP.
Seeing champs in the Kyambura gorge was special but the highlight of our tour was of course to see the mountain gorillas. An absolute fascinating and exceptional life time experience!
Having conducted a couple of safaris in South and West Africa with other tour providers, I can really highly recommend Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Benedikt K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 April 2014

I know that this page is listed in the Uganda forum and my experience was in Rwanda, but I still wanted to write a review for Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris so that no one else has to go through what I went through.

The only reason I am giving this a "poor" rating instead of "terrible" rating is because I think that Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris deserves the benefit of the doubt. My impression is that they were a fairly new company when I booked with them and still hadn't worked out the kinks. Based on recent reviews, it seems that they have improved and I am glad to see it. Also, my horrible experience had less to do with the company and more to do with the driver (who they subcontracted for my tour).

However, there were a few problems during the booking process as well. I corresponded with Ivan, who was very responsive and polite, but he had trouble securing a permit from the Rwanda Development Board. I had to email him several times to request a copy of the permit (as I had been extremely nervous about wiring $750 for the permit to a company with very few reviews at the time) and didn't receive it until nearly a month after payment and less than a week before my tour. Also, when I finally did receive a copy of the permit, Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris had made a mistake and given them the wrong tour date, so the RDB had to issue a new one. Thankfully Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris owned up to their mistake and immediately paid the $100+ fee to change the date themselves.

I booked a 2 day/1 night gorilla trekking tour in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). Fred, the driver, arrived 2.5 hours late without apology or explanation. Ivan and I called Fred repeatedly during those 2.5 hours but could not reach him. Ivan had even begun the process of finding another driver when Fred finally showed up. Because he was so late, we ended up having to drive at night in the dark on bumpy roads - something that Ivan and everyone I met in Uganda had advised against. Fred also had not picked up the permit before picking me up so we had to go to Kigali airport and sit through extra traffic to pick up the permit. It was extremely unprofessional.

The van he picked me up in was in terrible shape. Both the speedometer and fuel gauge were broken so we could not see how fast we were going or how much fuel was left. The oil and brake pad warning lights were on throughout the drive. Fred is from Uganda, where they normally drive on the left side of the road, so even though we were in Rwanda where they drive on the right, he kept driving in the middle of the road. It wasn't that he was confused or forgot; each time a car was headed in our direction, he would shift back to the right side of the road. He just preferred driving on the left/in the middle, which was extremely dangerous as we were driving on unlit roads after dark.

I ended up arriving at the hotel at 11:30 pm. Dinner was supposed to be included in the price of the tour, but because we were arriving so late and the hotel's restaurant was likely closed (Fred didn't have the phone number of the hotel so he couldn't call to check), we stopped for dinner at 10:30 pm and I had to pay for it myself. During dinner, he was incredibly rude to the servers and kept rushing them - even going in to the kitchen to demand that the food come out more quickly. It was not their fault that we were late! When we finally arrived at the hotel at 11:30 pm, the staff were all sleeping and reception was closed, so Fred had to honk the horn repeatedly (very rude to sleeping guests) and search for someone to get the keys to my room. If he had been more prepared with a phone number, he could have called the hotel to notify them of our arrival time.

The worst part occurred the next morning at the national park. During our drive, I had told Fred that I wanted to see a specific gorilla group (Susa) that was recommended by a friend of mine and also because it would involve a more challenging hike. However, when the rangers convened all of the tour guides to discuss the different trekking options, he completely disregarded my wishes and assigned me to the shortest trek because he didn't want to wait for me! This is a once in a lifetime experience and the most expensive one-day activity I have ever paid for. I expected to at least see the gorillas I came to see.

When I asked him if I would be seeing the Susa group and how long the hike would be, he tried to evade my questions and just said that it was the best option for me since we had to drive to Kigali in the afternoon. So I asked the rangers directly and switched myself to the Susa group. Per usual, Fred did not offer an apology or even bother to pretend that there was a misunderstanding.

So to summarize, if you book with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris - please make sure that Fred is not assigned to be your driver. I am glad to see that the vast majority of reviews have been positive since my trip (November 2013) and it seems that the company organizes good tours in Uganda. So as long as you avoid Fred, I think it is safe to book through them.

Good luck and I hope you have a better experience than I did!
JC

13  Thank JWC_73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gorillas-WildlifeRW, Manager at Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2014

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this very helpful review to us. Please accept our sincere apologies for this poor experience you endured because of our staff's making. Of course a lot has changed since you visited. To ensure our quality of service is uniform in Rwanda and Uganda, an operations office was opened in Kigali and we do operate the tours by ourselves - no franchising any more! No more delays on permits, or anything. You should hear more from our recent clients in Rwanda.
What Fred did was simply unacceptable and we too felt so bad on our side as you endured for a long period waiting.
Immediately after the tour, Fred reported to our offices to give an account of everything about the tour. His reasons were totally unacceptable and as management we could not take any of his excuses. We gave a strong warning but later on took a tougher measure of stopping him. We have since removed Fred from our list of tour guides/ drivers and no client of ours will be hosted by Fred.

We will continue striving to provide the most affordable and quality tour services to as many as intending, without discrimination in anyway. Some of our staff often do things that let our purpose down, but as a company we are determined to give this our best!

Thank you again!
Ivan

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