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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms. K from Laramie

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

4

Rwanda and Kenya August 2019 Trip

Rwanda and 1 other country between 5 Aug 2019 and 13 Aug 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"The trip as a whole was AWESOME!! The trip by far exceeded our expectations and was so so so so much fun!! Olivia spent countless hours talking to me on the phone and answering non-stop questions over email to make sure this trip was tailored exactly to our preferences. From the moment we stepped foot off the plane in Rwanda, to the moment we flew out of Nairobi, my family had an absolutely phenomenal time. Each aspect of the trip fit my family like a glove, and was a once in a lifetime experience. The entire trip, including transfers and activities were flawless and my family and I never had to worry about what was next. A guide or staff member always made sure we were where we needed to be, and that we were well taken care of.

Olivia recommended Kigali Serena and Encounter Mara, and Encounter Mara was the best time! Expert also booked all of our transfers for us and the guides were personable, knowledgeable, professional, and a blast! This was such an excellent trip and there is not a single thing about the trip that we didn't love!!

The only negatives we had about our trip was some layover schedules, but that was booked through a different US agency, so everything Expert did was great!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

THANK YOU to Olivia for booking this trip with us! She is absolutely wonderful and did such an amazing job! The only suggestions on how you could improve would be pushing more people towards Encounter Mara because it was so amazing :)

There is nothing we think you could have done to improve, great job!"

Kigali Serena Hotel

Kigali Serena Hotel

"Excellent stay at Serena Hotel"

1 night Arrived 5 Aug 2019
"Fantastic hotel! We were not expecting much for our two night stay at Kigali Serena Hotel, and what we received far exceeded the luxury hotels in the US!

The service was amazing, the food was great, and the rooms were wonderful! The amenities and luxury for the price was fantastic! If we are ever in Rwanda again, we would not stay anywhere else but Kigali Serena!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Luxury stay at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 6 Aug 2019
"Mountain Gorilla View Lodge was fantastic. Reading previous reviews on other websites Gorilla View was rated as "simple," however, I would say that this was a luxury lodge and WONDERFUL! If anyone is in the area they should absolutely stay here. You get a luxury stay for half the price of other places! The lodge was also only 10 minutes from the starting point for both the golden monkey and the mountain gorilla meeting area.

Every night employees would walk you back to your lodge to ensure you arrived safely. They would also set a fire for you every night, and on top of that, each night a hot water bottle was in the bed to keep you warm! The lodge was set back into the trees and had a very secluded, authentic feel. The communal area with wifi and a fire was great for meeting other travelers and was very cozy.

Great stay at a great place!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
City & Genocide Memorial Tour

City & Genocide Memorial Tour

"Great Trip"

6 Aug 2019 • All-day excursion

The city tour was great. It was neat to see the entire city and the landscape.

The Genocide Memorial Tour is an absolute must if you are in Kigali. We spent almost 3 hours in the Memorial, and could have easily spent 3 more hours. Although it is heart-wrenching, I think it is absolutely important to experience this and honor those who lost their lives.
Excellent
Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden Monkey Trekking

"Golden Monkey Trekking review"

7 Aug 2019 • Morning excursion

The Golden Monkey Trek was very fun.

The monkeys ended up coming out of the forest, so we saw them very quickly. Although at first we were disappointed we didn't see them in the forest, it ended up being great! We were able to get amazing pictures with the monkeys, and the hour with them flew by. The hike was more of a "hard walk" so is very easily doable.

The walk also had amazing scenery and backdrops with the volcanoes, and we were able to see various landscapes and the villages nearby.

So glad we did this!
Canoeing in Rwanda

Canoeing in Rwanda

"Canoeing in Rwanda review"

7 Aug 2019 • Afternoon excursion

This was an unexpected BLAST! The guide, Elra was hilarious and so knowledgeable. My mom is scared of moving water and you would have never known because the guide made her so comfortable. My dad and I were in a canoe by ourselves and had so much fun! Although we were obviously novices at canoeing and spent most of our time running into each side of the bank repeatedly, I don't think we ever stopped laughing!

The exercise and adventure was so much fun, and seeing a different view of the area and villages was great. The guides were so fantastic and knowledgeable of all the birds and history of Rwanda.

This was a last minute add on and was SO much fun!! I don't think my family stopped smiling or talking about this for hours.
Excellent
Kigali Serena Hotel

Kigali Serena Hotel

"Kigali Serena Hotel review"

1 night Arrived 8 Aug 2019
"See previous Kigali Serena Hotel page for review [Ed: see below]"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Gorilla Trekking Safari

Gorilla Trekking Safari

"WONDERFUL Gorilla Trekking Safari review"

8 Aug 2019 • Morning excursion

TRIP OF A LIFETIME! This was such an amazing experience! My family visited the Igisha group and it was ABSOLUTELY wonderful! The family just became the largest group the week we were there, with 34 members. During the hour we were able to spend with the mountain gorillas we saw around 20 of them. The drive was one of the longer drives, but the views were stunning and gave us a great opportunity to see the countryside and the villages far out of the cities.

Once the trek started, the adventure continued. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, the trackers were excellent and skilled, and the porters were incredibly helpful. Although I did not hire a porter, one stayed very close to me on the way down as the path was extremely slippery, and any time anyone needed an extra boost through the tight bamboo forest, a porter was right there to help!

The anticipation during the hike was an experience all on its own, and once we got close to the gorillas and heard them, the trip was 100% worth it, even without yet seeing the gorillas. The hour with these beautiful creatures flew by, and we could have spent the entire day with them! We watched the mountain gorillas eat, and were lucky enough for them to move into a clearing where we could watch the juveniles play and the adults nap the afternoon away. I don't think words can even begin to describe how amazing this experience was, and was worth every. single. penny.

SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCE!!!!!
Excellent
Encounter Mara

Encounter Mara

"FANTASTIC stay at Encounter Mara"

4 nights Arrived 9 Aug 2019
"SIMPLY WONDERFUL STAY! I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly amazing this stay was. I don't know what other camps are like, but I don't think it's possible to have more luxury, a more serene stay , or a better atmosphere then we received at Encounter. Our stay here was SO INCREDIBLE that I have to break it down into sections:

THE GUIDE: Our guide Francis was OUTSTANDING!! If anyone visits here they should request Francis. First off, he was hilarious! Second, he was so incredibly knowledgeable and did such a great job on sightings. Francis also truly cares about the animals, and ensured that we got great sightings, but also that we weren't crowding the animals or doing anything that would stress them out. It was so nice to see someone who cared about not just his job of driving us, but also making sure the animals were comfortable. We had such a great time with Francis and were actually truly sad to leave because we enjoyed getting to know him and experiencing the Mara through his eyes.

THE CAMP: The camp is rated as "simple luxury," but if this was "simple" then I don't know what greater luxury is, because this was AMAZING! The tents themselves had fantastic views out into the plains and were secluded giving a sense of privacy and being actually out in the Mara. The tents felt like luxury hotel rooms in terms of comfort, but without the "hotel" feeling. The different tents including the "tea" tent, the meals tent, the outdoor toilet, and the wifi tent are all set up in a way that gives you AMAZING views but also spread out enough that you can walk along the pathway and just take in the scenery. The viewing deck is absolutely amazing, and the plethora and variety of animals that we saw from just relaxing on this deck was so great. My family and I seriously never wanted to leave and I was actually sad driving away from Encounter.

THE FOOD: The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD! There are breakfast picnics out in the Mara, lunches with the staff, tea and cake with the staff, and 3 course meals with the entire camp. I have celiac's and am used to not having great options on foods. Encounter Mara changed all my expectations!! The staff prepared separate cakes for me for tea time, prepared separate biscuits for me for dinner, created AMAZING desserts that I could eat, and each meal was so much better than I would ever get at a 5 star restaurant in the States. I never wanted to stop eating, and never stopped being astonished at how AMAZING the food was. The food alone was worth the stay. To top it all off, when we were on our last morning drive, Sammi came out and met us with a "to-go" lunch for my family to enjoy while were were waiting at the airport for our trip home!!

THE STAFF: Last, but certainly not least, the staff at Encounter is PHENOMENAL!!!!!! THE BEST!! A special shout out to Sammi, Ezina, Edwin, and Lama (hopefully my spelling is right). The entire staff knew everyone's name from the moment we entered the camp. After our first order of drinks the staff also had our drink preferences memorized for the entire stay. The staff was always checking on us, chatting with us, and generally entertaining us. Every conversation we had with the staff my family and I were cracking up with laughter because they are so funny! Sammi and Edwin also spent so much time educating us on the conservancy and answering our continuous questions! During the campfire and after dinner I never wanted to turn in for the net because we had such a FANTASTIC time talking Sammi and Ezina and just spending time with them. The staff was always around to answer questions, to chat with you in the viewing deck, and to make sure we got safely to our tents each night. The morning wake up "knock" with coffee and cookies also didn't hurt! I wish I could go on and on, but if anyone ever has a chance to stay here, DO IT! My family has already talked about returning because we had such an amazing time.

Sammi and Ezina should be so proud of the camp they are running, and anyone visiting the Mara needs to book their stay with Encounter Mara ASAP!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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