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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by ERinSTL from Saint Louis

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

3

Excellent arrangements; fabulous guide

Rwanda between 28 Jun 2019 and 5 Jul 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"If I had a choice of something even better than “very satisfactory”, I’d pick it. Early back-and-forth with our Expert Africa agent (Amanda Bond) were very productive, and we got the perfect itinerary. All the arrangements were all excellent. Some very minor negative feedback about our stay at MGVL won’t change that.

Our guide, Sula, was extraordinary. From the pickup at KGL airport, through drop-off for departure, his friendly, low-key personality were just right. His local knowledge and his obvious love for what he does were very reassuring that our visit was safe and positive for us travelers and for the people and environments where we visited.

We had an airline glitch at the very end. RwandAir cancelled our 10am departure and put us on a flight out at 0010 the next morning. That was a serious disappointment, but obviously beyond the control of … really anyone, other than RwandAir, at whom I’m still miffed (though I expect I’ll get over it). Sula made sure we were comfortably delivered to the hotel that RwandAir booked for us before taking his leave."

Heaven Boutique Hotel

Heaven Boutique Hotel

"Heaven Boutique Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 29 Jun 2019
"Room was very small, but clean and comfortable. Staff were friendly and helpful. There are numerous amenities that we did not have time to use (gym, swimming pool). There are two restaurants conveniently on “campus”. To our taste, the “local cuisine” one was more reasonably priced and had a more interesting menu than the “fusion” one.

Heaven is in a mostly residential area, but very near a commercial district. Assured of safety, we took some walks during down time and found it an interesting way to expose ourselves to some of the culture.

A note: we needed to get some laundry done. The prices (US$1-2 per individual item) were prohibitive (not specific to Heaven – it’s true for virtually all hotel-provided laundry services). I asked if there were any laundromat-type stores where we could do our own wash, and there were none. But the manager offered to negotiate: he agreed to US$10 for the load, but I thought that was too low and ended up paying US$20."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Mountain Gorilla View Lodge review"

4 nights Arrived 30 Jun 2019
"Rooms are in separate cabins, some a fairly long walk from the central lodge. The rooms are quite spacious, with a separate sitting area next to a fireplace. The fireplace was the only source of heat, and the room was quite chilly by morning, when the fire had burned down hours earlier. The comforter was enough to keep us warm as we slept, however.

Electrical outlets are 220V, but have a universal configuration that accepts US two- and three-prong plugs. If you have voltage-compensating electronics, you can use them without an adapter.

All meals are offered as buffets. There is typically a very wide choice, and I never had a problem finding something to like. Quality is average: neither praise- nor complaint-worthy. Adjacent the dining area is another fireplace, surrounded with chairs, which is a nice pre-dinner gathering place for guests to share stories – and a beverage – from their days’ experiences.

Strongly suggest to your clients that they bring their own gaiters and gloves for monkey and gorilla treks. The gators in particular are almost a necessity, and the lodge “rents” pairs for US$5 each per day. We took gloves with us on our gorilla trek, but found them unnecessary.

One extreme negative that should be addressed by the lodge, but almost certainly will not be: I thought the shower was a death trap. It is apparently formed of poured concrete and painted with a shiny enamel paint. The slope to the drain is steep and the surfaces extremely slippery when wet (which is all the time during a shower). I fell immediately upon setting foot into the shower area. The area is bordered by a line of fist-size rocks set into the concrete. If I had landed on one of those, I fully expect that I would have been severely injured. As it was, I only experienced a moderately painful contusion on my forearm. I count myself very lucky."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
City & Genocide Memorial Tour

City & Genocide Memorial Tour

"City & Genocide Memorial Tour review"

30 Jun 2019 • All-day excursion

Sula, our excellent driver/guide, started out with a driving tour of some of the important areas of the city, and finished at Kigali Genocide Memorial. We took longer than expected going through the very affecting exhibits, but Sula was perfectly OK waiting as long as we needed. The KGL was a very worthwhile stop. Learning more about the genocide makes the current peaceful condition that much more amazing.

We expected lunch at Hotel Mille Collines (the original “Hotel Rwanda”) and were a bit disappointed to be redirected to a different hotel. Lunch was lunch, but the fame of Mille Collines was an attraction that we were looking forward to. I understand the reason for the change, but Mille Collines should not have been promised in the itinerary.
Good
Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden Monkey Trekking

"Golden Monkey Trekking review"

2 Jul 2019 • Morning excursion

We were lucky to hit the golden monkeys on a day when they weren’t too far away. We had about an hour – still a trek – of walking each way. It always seems longer returning because you don’t have the anticipation to spur you on.

Our hour with the golden monkeys was extremely enjoyable. The essentially ignored our presence, so we had some pretty close encounters. One monkey ran across my path and nearly stepped on my feet. Their behaviors climbing in the trees, balancing on branches, pulling leaves to eat, is fascinating, and so nearly human!

Hiring a porter is definitely worthwhile. Even if you believe you won’t need one, it’s good for the economy. The good it does is far in excess of the modest cost.
Excellent
Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla Trekking Safari

"Our gorilla trek"

3 Jul 2019 • Morning excursion

Nothing short of wonderful. For a second day in a row (previously with golden monkeys), we hit the jackpot for short trek. The troop of gorillas was literally on the National Park boundary. There was plentiful mud, though. Be aware of that likelihood, even if you plan your visit for the dry season, as we did.

The gorilla encounters were nothing short of amazing. Mothers and babies in poses that couldn’t be more human. Juveniles playing, swinging on vines, engaging in dominance practice, could be a school playground with a bit of extra foliage. The silverback keeping an eye on things with a stern, watchful glare – that was my fifth-grade teacher during recess. The 7-meter offset was only marginally enforced. Juvenile gorillas, unaware of that rule, approach closely, and grabbed the pants leg of a fellow trekker.

Having read reviews on various travel boards, we decided to book two gorilla treks back to back (on Day 3 and Day 4 of our stay at Volcanoes National Park). But after the first trek, as rewarding as it was, the idea of getting up at 4:30 again and trekking through the mud again caused us to reluctantly skip the second trek. Financially, it was a significant mistake in our planning. (We’re both in our 70s, though fit; maybe younger trekkers would not be deterred from a second go.)
Excellent
Heaven Boutique Hotel

Heaven Boutique Hotel

"Heaven Boutique Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 4 Jul 2019
"I’ve already reviewed Heaven Boutique Hotel. [Ed: see below]

It probably appears twice because we stayed there both to begin and to end our time in Rwanda. No need to re-review it, though."
Excellent
Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla Trekking Safari

"Gorilla Trekking Safari review"

4 Jul 2019 • Morning excursion

I’ve already reviewed our gorilla trek. We did not go on our second trek, so there’s nothing to review.
Excellent

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