12 independent reviews for Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday
Reviews for Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday
Mairead Maguire review 15 Jul 2022
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?Spending an hour with (most of the members of) a gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Be aware of long drives. Check out the distances yourself and take into account unpaved roads. 50km can take 2 hours to drive!!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes. Benefited local people by putting money into the local economy.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Once in a lifetime, wonderful experience.
Kathleen Revell review 1 Feb 2019
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?We couldn't possibly choose one but highlights include gorilla trekking at Bwindi, seeing the giraffes go by as we walked in Lake Mburo NP, the tree climbing lions at Ishasha, the small boat trip down the Nileand the cultural evening at the Ndere Centre.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Go with an open mind. This is Africa and there is poverty, the roads are poor and journeys long but that is all forgotten when you reach your destination to a warm welcome and the excitement of another great experience.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Definitely - the stay at Buhoma Haven Lodge directly benefitted the local community who own it, the evening at Ndere Cultural Centre supports the young performers and most lodges obtained at least some of their power from solar energy. The owners of Isunga Lodge were also sharing their water supply with their neighbour. Safari trips in the national parks support the work of Uganda Wildlife and encourage the local community to see the benefits of preserving these spaces and their animal populations.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Excellent value and a wonderful experience.
David Pihach review 21 Dec 2018
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?Most memorable for me was the Gorilla Habitation, the Chimpanzee Habitation and the 1 hour Gorilla visitation. A close second is just the scenery going to and from Biwindi Park. The vibrancy of the green reminded us so much of the emerald green of Ireland. The colour green combined with the mountain scenery was breathtaking. We always thought the scenery between Zagreb to Sarajevo was our favourite drive... but what we just saw on our tour through the southern mountains surpassed this.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?If you are planning to do either the Gorilla or Chimpanzee Habitation..one needs to be in good health and good physical well being. These excursions are not for the meek or overweight. Also, if one does the Gorilla Habitation there is no need to do the 1 hour visit. You could save $600 USD. Knowing what to tip in advance would be important... ie… what to give guides... are they to be tipped?... hotel staff? Expectation? Giving the traveller a guide to tipping would avoid embarrassing situations.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Very much so... we were so taken by our visit to a local school and knowing that children go hungry through the school day provided us the initiative to provide funds for the upcoming school year in that all children will not go hungry. If successful, we will continue the program each year as long as we can. Providing this gift annually will be our Christmas gifts to ourselves knowing we are helping this school community.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?This was a 5 star ***** holiday thanks to the tour operator... the imput of Wycliffe and our tour guide and driver, Vincent. All our lodges were five star...our meals were 5 star... the safaris were 5 star... the people in Uganda are so accommodating. We are already thinking of maybe combining Ethiopia, Rwanda the northern Uganda as this current trip focused entirely on southern Uganda. We would recommend Uganda to any potential traveller.
leave 14 days
Tandy Beard review 28 Aug 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?I just returned from an incredibly moving 10 day trip to see the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, and I found so much more than gorillas! The people, the land, the food and yes, the majestic endangered Mountain Gorillas. I decided to go with our tour operator because the owner, Wycliffe, is a native of Uganda and he supports business owned by the people of Uganda. After communicating my main goals to Wycliffe, I just let him do his thing and he did it beautifully. We were greeted, at 4:00 am, by our bright-eyed guide Bosco. Not having traveled much in recent years I was somewhat nervous and Bosco instantly put me at ease. He had our plan and he executed it gracefully even when I was confused. Our accommodations were great, services were wonderful and my only complaint is that they fed us way too much good food! Wycliffe managed to slide a chimpanzee habitation experience into our agenda and wow, I'm glad he did. After 4 hours with the chimps, I felt complete in my experience with them. It allowed for witnessing many aspects of their lives and since much of their time can be spent in the trees I was glad to have more time so that I got to hang with them on the ground too. The next day we were off to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to see the gorillas. We had 2 days of trekking and one day of habitation. The trekking experience allowed us to spend about one hour with the gorilla family once we found them. One hour may not seem like much but the experience feels like such a gift that much to my surprise I was content to withdraw at the end of the experience. We trekked 2 different families in 2 different locations and each experience was so unique that I couldn't say one was better. Much to my surprise the gorillas did not seem bothered by us at all. They seemed relaxed and did what they do much of the day..... ate, groomed, grunted & the babies were hysterical in their play. We witnessed the strength of the family bond when we observed an old Silverback (no longer the dominant male) sitting a distance away from the group with a younger male who had challenged the dominant Silverback the day before and was injured. To witness such a level of tenderness in these massive creatures was touching and reminded me how much we can learn when we open our awareness to the totality of nature. So often we only focus on the excitement of the chase or the kill but those same creatures can demonstrate incredible levels of love, bonding and tenderness. Our final experience was that of "habitation" in which you actually go with the trackers to find the gorillas and once you find them you are with them for 4 hours. The actual tracking gave me tremendous respect for what these trackers do on a daily basis! Habitation occurs with a group of gorillas they are preparing to be trekked.....so, they want to expose the group to a variety of people. This gorilla family had 11 babies and we were blessed to see 5 of those babies. Probably my favorite moment was when the massive Silverback got tired of the baby playing on him & he took its tiny little arm into his giant mouth and gently bit down to let the little guy know he'd had enough. As with most parental boundaries, it worked for about 5 minutes! Hopefully, I can post that video. Well, I guess it's obvious that this was my trip of a lifetime and I thank the tour operator for making it happen! Thank you Wycliffe, Bosco & Vincent.....you guys ROCK! One of the greatest gifts of this trip was getting to know Bosco and our open conversations about his country & life in general. I hope that this review encourages you to take the leap to visit all that Uganda has to offer and knowing that your money is going to support the continuation of mountain gorilla protection and the people of Uganda.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Use our tour operator.....do the chimpanzee habituation it's worth the time and do at least 2 days of gorilla tracking & habituation if possible.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes, our tour operator was dedicated to supporting business owned by Ugandans. They also strongly encourage you to take porters with you on your tracking excursions as the porters are local people that only get the opportunity to do this work 1 day out of each month because there are so many people in need of work so they must rotate. And a large percentage of the fees for tracking permits goes directly to supporting the conservation of the Mountain Gorillas & Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Totally over the top success!!!
Julie Cooper review 19 Feb 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?Gorilla tracking in Bwindi! A once in a lifetime experience.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Sit back and enjoy! The only issue we noted was the quality of hotels in Kampala was not as good as the safari lodges at the parks so you might want to check on your options with the company. Pack light and enjoy!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Absolutely and it was wonderful knowing that our fees for the national parks were going toward conservation and the surrounding communities in a tangible way.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Fantastic, planning was simple and our guide, Vincent, was knowledgable, fun and extremely reliable. Uganda offers the best of Africa and we had so much fun exploring. Highly recommended!
Zoe Cole review 18 Sep 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?The gorillas tracking was incredible. I wish we could have stayed longer with them, and or be able to do another trek.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Pack with varied weather from hot humid, to cold and wet.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes. I feel that the locals liked the eco tourism.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?8. The holiday was amazing. Our accommodation and food was a very standard. My only wish would have been we had lots of days where we were in the car travelling and it would be lovely to have had an activity. However I realise perhaps that would have added extra costs where our budget would not allow.
Cesare Maraglio review 10 Jun 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?The gorilla trekking in Bwindi
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?To study a convenient and detailed itinerary, in order to optimize the available time, given the long distances, the hours in the car on bumpy roads, the limited number of comfortable establishments...
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Good. I had limited time and it certainly wasn't a relaxing vacation, but I was focused on the gorillas and I knew what I was going into. Thumbs up for Mr. Wycliffe and his agency, who made my journey easier, very professional and customer care oriented. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for your feedback. we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your trip with us. We will continue to look after our clients, and have a greater positive contribution to the communities and wider environment. As you saw from our lodge partners .
Patricia Broadfoot review 6 Feb 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?We went to Uganda primarily to see the gorillas and we certainly were not disappointed. It is indeed the life-changing experience it is said to be. One is left wondering how human beings can be so casual with the natural environment that puts such wonderful animals at such risk. It was also a delight to meet the people in Uganda who were almost invariably very charming and happy.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Make sure you read up in advance about what Uganda has to offer so that your trip is tailored to your particular interests,
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes to all of the above. Tourism is being run in Uganda in a very constructive and responsible way with expert rangers and guides. The use of solar power is now widespread and a great contribution to reducing environmental impact.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?It was one of our best holidays ever and brilliantly organised to help us get the most out of our visit.
Read the operator's response here:
Great to hear and see these positive comments. I am going to reach out and thank the clients.
Ed Sheftel review 17 Jan 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?There were many - The stay at Emin Pasha - and the second best cappuchino I have ever had (been to 80 countries). Seeing all the animals co - exisiting in Murchinson Falls. The leopard - wow! The sounds of the forest while at Murchison River lodge. The walk back to our "house" at Murch River lodge (our favorite) along a lantern lit path under a sky full of stars. The air going thru my hair while standing in the jeep - taking pictures without a "worry in the world" - my woman by my side. The elephants crossing the road in Isasha. The lions coming down from the tree in Isasha - as the sun was setting. Eating watermelon on the side of the road while a buffalo looked on and a wort hog tried to regain his shade that we were occupying. Our first sight of the gorillas in a heavy rain - after a 41/2 hour hike. The baby gorillas as they looked and clutched their mommas. The beer on our deck at Bahoma - after a day in the jungle with the gorillas. Riding bikes in Lake Mburo - amongst the zebras and then climbing the boulders for an incredible view. Hearing my lady say - it was the best time of her life.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Request Hamid Insist on Emin Pasha from the travel company to kick things off - and stay clear of Parro Lodge (the most expensive) but our least favourite by far!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes - we stayed, spent money with and enjoyed the locals as much as possible.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Out of 10 .......a 10 Thanks Wycliffe !!!!!!!
Clive Porter review 11 Jul 2016
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?There were several: spending 10 hours with the chimps in Kibale forest was enthralling, although they are not always as playful as you might expect, they can be quite wild and even violent; the two days tracking and meeting mountain gorillas at close quarters was enchanting, they are much more docile - at least if they are not disturbed by you ; the Nile whitewater rafting was unforgettable - this is big water (although not the longest or most technical of grade 5) and you will inevitably be tipped into a grade 5 rapid at some point; and at Rwakobo Rock we had our first cycle safari which was brilliant and allowed us to follow a herd of eland through the bush. There were many opportunities for other activities: a night walk at Kibale; an unusual and relaxing boat safari on the Kazinga channel; don't miss the chance to take your own dugout canoe out on Lake Bunyoni. However the holiday was unforgettable for the fabulous landscape which is an uninterrupted green patchwork of exotic plants and crops, Uganda is certainly the Pearl of Africa.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?If you are accustomed to tailor made trips in the underdeveloped world, you will be fine but don't expect extensive trip dossiers, free document wallets and trek bags or even a comprehensive website of trip notes and tips. The holiday provider is a UK based, Ugandan run company focusing on volunteering trips and tailor made safaris and you will have to do some of the running yourself. However the owner, Wycliffe, will listen to you and delivered to us probably the best trip we have experienced across all continents. Our accommodation was generally boutique/ecolodge and the quality of these was excellent; there was always a wonderful welcome and great service. Two of our stays fell below this standard but we had anticipated this. It is difficult to pick out the best from the others but I would predict that no-one will be disappointed with a visit to Chimpanzee Guest House, Jungle Lodge, Bird Nest Lodge, Rwakobo Rock or Wildwaters Lodge. Buhoma Haven would be my favorite pick because of the location, the wonderful service and the fabulous huge rooms and the bath with a view....and it is owned by and profits the community. We traveled in June, the shoulder season and the start of the dry season. This proved excellent because any rain was an infrequent shower and we were the only guests in three of the lodges (which had only 3-8 rooms). It can be cool at night in the mountains so warm clothing is required. When tracking gorillas and chimps, it is rain forest, so take waterproof trousers as well as tops in all seasons. Gaiters are advisable as safari ants are everywhere, if not stick your trousers in your socks. The benign climate means that insects and pests are rare and although we took anti-malarials we did not encounter mosquitos anywhere. Entebbe airport is probably the most efficient that I have passed through and visas are easily obtained on arrival. However although not travelling from a yellow fever zone, we were asked to show our certificates before entry. Travel in Uganda was relatively easy - although many of the roads are laterite and after rain they are like ice so care, patience and a Landcruiser are needed. The high level drives through the mountains are precipitous but thrillingly memorable.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?We have always tried to tailor make our trips to leave as green a footprint as possible. However even using Responsible Travel, I often feel some of the operators pay lip service to the impact of their activities on the environment and community. Often we do not get enough time to meet with the community or visit projects and we are not convinced that hotels and "local" contractors are supporting the local economy as much as we would like. However on this trip the holiday provider provided us with excellent guides and accommodation that were largely Ugandan owned, in one case community owned and they could all demonstrate how they were benefiting the community. We visited some of Sandfield's projects at Mityana and also took the Village Walk run by the community at Buhoma.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Having traveled several times in Africa as well as many times in Asia and South/Central America, without a doubt this trip exceeded our expectations more than any and Uganda proved to be our favorite destination in Africa. The guide chosen by Wycliffe, Hamid, is simply the best driver/guide we have used anywhere (and that includes a Wanderlust Guide of the Year!) - he worked tirelessly to get the best for us, anticipated our every need, was an excellent safe driver and managed to combine this with superb spotting ( including the tree-climbing lion in Ishasha) and great knowledge. The Ugandans are incredibly friendly and there is a greater feeling of security than elsewhere in Africa. The mountains are beautiful and the climate is like a perfect English summer. If you want the Big 5 then go the Serengeti first but if you want to find the real pearl of Africa, visit Uganda.
Simon Seaton review 29 Mar 2016
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?The main highlight of our trip to Uganda had to be seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It's an experience hard to describe ... exciting, magical and definitely unforgettable. But the holiday provider had put together a trip for us with many other memorable activities. Tracking chimpanzees, visiting the source of the Nile and the spectacular Murchison Falls, crossing the equator, going on game drives and bush walks in a number of the National Parks ... Murchinson Falls NP, Lake Mburo NP and Queen Elizabeth NP where, amongst other things, we attempted to find the tree climbing lions. Our guide for the trip, Hamid, was extremely knowledgeable as well as being very friendly and, from him, we learnt much about the country as well as the wildlife. Nothing was too much trouble and he took amazing care to ensure that we had an amazing trip. Our heartfelt thanks to him, to Vincent, the operators country manger who met us at the airport and initially introduced us to Uganda, and to Wycliffe the companies CEO who arranged our trip from the UK. One of the most notable part of our holiday, though, was the help and support provided by Responsible Travel ... most notably Rosy Everitt ...when our initial trip organiser became insolvent just a few weeks prior to our departure. Re-arranging a holiday in just three weeks when dates have been fixed and flights have already been booked is no easy task and Responsible Travel and the holiday provider "pulled out all the stops" to ensure that we did make it to Uganda and that we saw the gorillas. We can't speak highly enough of Responsible Travel and how Rosy ensured that we were able to "get away". We'll certainly be using the company again to arrange our next trip.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Speak with Rosy and her team at Responsible travel before booking any trip ... they have a great wealth of knowledge. Do invest in a good camera with a decent telephoto lens ... wildlife doesn't always "come close". Don't expect all the roads to be tarred ... many of the dirt roads will leave you feeling that you've been on a roller coaster ride!!! But it's all great fun and part of the experience. It's also worth adding in some cultural aspects to your tour e.g. archeological remains. We didn't have time but it would have been interesting to have done so.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?We were aware, before we went, that the holiday provider had a "Responsible Tourism" philosophy and that 10% of the profits from our trip were reinvested in Ugandan community projects. However, it wasn't until we were in Uganda that Hamid, our guide, provided us with a much more detailed picture as to what the money was used for and the projects that were undertaken with it. The most recent one being the provision of medical facilities in Butebi. They also only booked us into lodges/guest houses that operated policies designed to reduce environmental impacts so a "tick in the box" there. Our trekking fees and National Park entry fees also supported conservation though, it has to be said, how much went towards conservation and how much into governmental and other pockets is debatable.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?Visiting and interacting with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat was an unforgettable experience ... as was touring Uganda and meeting the people who were friendly and welcoming. Five stars to Responsible Travel and to the holiday provider.
Nick Miller review 14 Sep 2016
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?The gorilla trek was 2 and a half hours of tough trekking the majority of which was up a very steep hill so not for those who aren't at least reasonably fit and able, however the sight of the first gorilla washed all the tiredness away. The rangers were great clearing the plants to enable amazingly clear views and shots of the gorillas including three youngsters at play near their magnificent silverback dad. The hour spent with them was one of the best hours of my life capped off by the moment the silverback walked between my daughter and I brushing past my daughter as he did.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?Do not expect luxury during your nights in Kampala but this was more than made up for by the great accommodation at the parks? Do not expect service levels to be the same as those you would expect in Europe/the states as they have not developed this yet. Many of the staff are from the local community and have little service training but it is good they are involved. If you want to see rhino at the rhino sanctuary go after 4pm en-route to Murchison falls, otherwise they are likely to be sleeping. Spend time with the local community especially the orphan charity in Bwindi, who give a great dancing performance, as it helps develop your connection and understanding. Do not take offence by the hard sale approach, enjoy the experience and just give if you want.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?Yes the fact that many of the staff were locals and accommodation was owned by the local communities I feel it definitely helped the local communities and that tourists such as will help motivate the locals to preserve the environment and wildlife.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?The holiday provider organised a series of wonderful experiences for which we are very grateful with the only downside being the Kampala accommodation, but I would rather have that than compromise the great accommodation and experiences provided at the parks. It is a holiday I will never forget and definitely rates as one of my best ever.
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