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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Ms M & Mr W from Spain

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

A wonderful holiday

Rwanda between 20 Aug 2010 and 30 Aug 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"We both really enjoyed the trip. It was wonderful to have the opportunity, in my case, of returning to Rwanda and seeing more of the country and its people - and of course, the beloved gorillas - a real privilege. My travel companion, Darrell, for whom it was the first time, had a wonderful time too, and I think, I hope (!), understood why I was so enamoured of the country.

Private guide in Rwanda

Patrick was always punctual, patient, calm, friendly and efficient. A very good driver especially on the bumpy stretches of road.
He always attended to our requests (postcards, money changing, a local market etc) He tried to negotiate suitable groups for us to join on the gorilla trekking - very much appreciated. He also saw to my "revisiting" (and showing Darrell) Virunga Lodge and Hotel des Milles Collines. I loved the way Patrick just walked into both places although we weren't guests there - I'd expected to see them only from the outside!

Patrick also did an excellent job in knowing how, when and where to give out Darrell's pens and notebooks to children (as you know, it can be chaos) and also in giving away clothes Darrell discarded at the end of the trip. It gave us great pleasure to see the happy faces.
Patrick always answered our questions but we thought maybe he could have been a little more spontaneously informative on the trip in general, as he was, in fact, on the tour of Kigali. However, it may be considered by himself and his office that he is mainly the driver and each place/activity has its guide."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Image alt

ORTPN Resthouse, Rwanda (this camp has since closed)

"A pleasant stay"

2 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2010
"Basic accommodation as expected. Bed comfortable but room and bathroom a bit run down (bedside carpet, lock on bathroom, one broken toilet). Not so clean and cosy as stated in Bradt guide - very dim lighting and a bit dirty under the beds and we had to ask for toilet paper. Darrell got an unintentional glimpse of the kitchen and that was not very clean at all. A few details like hooks for clothes in bathroom and bedroom would be welcome. Torch and flipflops essential for bathroom trips. Dining room cosy and bright and staff helpful and friendly. Comparing the general standard of the accommodation, the food was the best we had on the trip (except for the farewell lunch in Kigali perhaps!) - plentiful, simple but fine.
Garden small but pleasant with lovely birds and a visit from the vervet monkeys.
Location away from the forest (18kms?) and the beginning of most trails (Bradt info) and we didn't get into the forest, so not so happy with "activities". Being my second trip to Rwanda, I was looking forward to the new elements, especially Nyungwe Forest. Even in Primate Safaris itinerary it referred to "a hike into Nyungwe forest in search of colobus monkeys" with "various other primates and forest birds to be encountered on the way". We did do our colobus monkey activity and it was wonderful seeing them, so beautiful, in action, but we were taken to the group which is always in the forest patches in the tea plantation within walking distance of the Resthouse. They were indeed a bit further away than the tracker or the guide expected, but it seemed an easy option for the guide, the driver and for us. It was quite short so we had the rest of the day free with only the garden and the tea plantation. I thought maybe the next morning we could do something but the driver appeared in the evening and said we'd be leaving for Kibuye after breakfast, so no forest. It's difficult to suggest, when you don't know roads and distances. (I think you were in Rwanda recently, Tracy, so you'll probably know that that more upmarket lodge has been up and running for a while - our driver was staying in the staff quarters and showed us a leaflet).
From Kigali to Nyungwe is an 8 hour drive, but we had a nice stop in Butare with lunch and a visit to the museum, which was very interesting, though we were a bit tired after the flight and maybe anxious about our luggage and couldn't take it all in."
Good
Location
Average
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Moriah Hill Resort

Moriah Hill Resort

"Beautiful setting with beautiful sunsets"

2 nights Arrived 23 Aug 2010
"A very bumpy drive to Kibuye (three and a half hours) but some stops and beautiful views of the lake - we were travelling up the side of it.
Moriah Hill Resort - a good international type standard 4 star (?) hotel. Comfortable, spacious room and bathroom - very clean with good lighting.
Wonderful terrace overlooking the lake. Very quiet with few guests. Very pleasant dining area again on a terrace overlooking the lake. Staff very attentive.
Food disappointing considering the general standard of the hotel. Breakfast, buffet with omelettes made on the spot, was the best. We had a good lunch the day there was a congress and a lot of people and it was a buffet. The rest of the time the food seemed overcooked or reheated.
No activities included in the Primate Safaris itinerary but we had some very nice unexpected experiences. After lunch on the first day, we decided to go in search of a post office (Darrell is a postcard fiend and, believe it or not, in Kigali post office they had had no stamps!) The driver offered to come and drive us into town but we preferred to walk. We found the post office but it was closed. A young man outside asked if he could help. We explained about stamps. He was the post office clerk and was on his way home. He opened up the post office and dealt with the multitude of stamps! We were so impressed by his kindness. Please look at the comment about the Kibuye post office in the Bradt guide, page 164!The next day we returned with more cards and told the young man about what it said about his p. office in our widely read guidebook and he was so so happy. So glad we told him. It was all a sort of highlight.
After the post office we decided to do the circular walk - page 162 Bradt guide. It's longer than you think and we thought we'd got lost but eventually made the hotel for lunch.
Boat trips from the hotel are expensive. We were lucky as, when we were walking to the post office (second day), we were "touted" by a young man in a Barcelona football shirt. He was so polite with perfect English and a very disarming honest smile. He offered us a very reasonable price for a trip to Napoleon Island and the bat colony. He picked us up in the boat at the hotel. He was working for the owner and another young boy was driving the boat. He chatted all the time and was so informative about the Island, the bats, the lake and other things about himself, even the genocide, which had touched his family. The hundreds of fruit bats were impressive. Cassim and the boat boy took their time to show us another couple of nearby islands and to give us the best view of "Napoleon's hat". A lovely afternoon and definitely a highlight.
The driver came in the evening to say we'd leave for Musanze (Ruhengeri) after breakfast and I got a hint in something he said that Gisenyi might be out, although in the itinerary, it was Kibuye (Karongi)Musanze via Gisenyi, where we would have lunch. But in the same paragraph it said lunch in Kigali or at the lodge?! The next morning I asked "so we're not going to Gisenyi...?" He had obviously already decided it was direct to Musanze, "advising" us against continuing up the lake to Gisenyi as it would be the same bumpy drive as the day before and would take I don't remember how much longer. I was a bit disappointed about not seeing Gisenyi and had also hoped to see the Rosamund Carr orphanage.(However, now I see the orphanage is now 36 kms from Gisenyi). I feel, in all fairness, the driver, although quietly assertive, would have gone via Gisenyi if I'd requested it. But I knew it would mean more hard driving for the driver and felt maybe Darrell had had enough of the rough road, too, and I myself felt maybe I needed to save my own energy for the hikes to come, and above all, being British (!!), didn't push it.
Before we left we asked the driver to take us to the Genocide memorial and church, which we'd passed the day before when we thought we were lost, and of course, he did."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

"Lovely located base for wonderful tracking"

4 nights Arrived 25 Aug 2010
""Excellent" because of the tracking activities. I'd say "good" for the lodge itself. Room and bathroom extremely spacious and clean with comfortable bed and nice furniture. Limited times with electricity but normal in many lodges. Nice, and perhaps necessary, idea of log fire in rooms at night and a hot water bottle in the bed. The problem was that sometimes they forgot to light the fire or it was left to go our later and hot water bottles sometimes leaked. After hearing tales in the dining room of rebellious hot water bottles, one checked one's own carefully every night. Extensive grounds and lovely setting. Could be clearer indications, for example, to get to the dining room at night as we got lost when we first arrived. A very helpful young worker came up to help us, but there was no common language, so, in spite of our wonderful eating mime, he kept looking at our keys and pointing us back towards our rooms!
The food again, considering the standard of the lodge, was not great. The breakfast with its buffet and freshly made omelettes again fine.
Food was overcooked or made earlier and reheated.
The activities of tracking, as expected, were wonderful. The golden monkeys, as you probably know, is an "easy" hike. The first gorilla trek was quite hard because of the climb and the distance but the pace was not fast and the second one was easy because the gorilla group was near and the pace set by the people was slow. Our driver was good in that he negotiated the groups we were in with the guides etc. as I'd told him I was a bit fearful of being in a group of young fit people etc. Apart from the huge emotion of seeing the gorillas again, we again had a very memorable unexpected experience. For the second trek, our driver suddenly pulled us out of a group and, accompanied by the man in charge there, we were put into a group of Rwandans! The lady there introduced herself as Rose, the Speaker in the Rwandan Parliament. She was so friendly and unassuming. Little by little we discovered the other people included her daughter, a young man who was head of protocol in Parliament, and the head of security. There's always an armed soldier accompanying the trek in case of buffalo but this time there were three! She explained that Rwandans don't understand the interest foreigners have in animals. She didn't explain why she was there as she and her daughter didn't seem that interested in the gorillas and were in fact quite noisy. Anyway, it was interesting talking to her and she invited us to her hotel for lunch - we went straight from the trek all dusty and dishevelled but we were in a room just with her, her daughter and the head of protocol and was able to get some interesting information. She'd been a lawyer for women's rights. On the way back from the trek, in her honour we were taken to a village where they had a king's palace and compound and they put on a show with Intore dancers. Darrell was dressed up as king, and because Rose declined to be queen, I was dressed up as queen. All this was another highlight.
Seeing some less professional Intore dancers at the lodge was nice, especially knowing they were from the local village.
We went to lakes Burera and Ruhondo and I was able to revisit Virunga Lodge (where I'd stayed in 2006), now gone very upmarket and having lost some of the earthy touch, especially the bag showers and the eco loos which you threw ash into instead of flushing! There it was very nice, too, as our driver arranged for us to give local children the pens and notebooks Darrell had taken (he just called down into the valley where the village was and the children were up in no time).Seeing their faces on getting the stuff was great.
In Kigali, we had a tour of the town including the main avenues, new residential areas, a handicraft market, we spent some time in the Genocide Memorial, and we wanted to have a look at the Hotel des Milles Collines, where the story of the film "Hotel Rwanda" took place and where I'd had lunch on my last visit. It's also been refurbished.

Food seemed overcooked or just reheated. Drinks, even water, expensive, as were the postcards, shop etc, but we were given a small bottle of water free every day in our rooms."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average

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