AA Safaris & Tours
/5 – 12 Reviews
This Tour Is Offered By
AA Safaris & Tours
- Office In:
- 5-10 employees (Founded in 2008)
- Member Of:
- ATTA & AUTO
- Tour Types:
- Custom mid-range tours that can start every day
Trading as AA Safaris and Tours Ltd , the company started business officially in the year 2008 by a Lady ( Mrs H Tanah Gatale who had experience of working in Uganda's Tourism industry for 4 years. The company was started to provide ground handling services for tourist in East Africa. We organise safaris private and scheduled in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Our trips are organized on full board basis unless if you are advised otherwise.
AA Safaries & Tours saved my safari in Kenya
This is actually the 2nd time I used AA Safaries &Tours and write the review.
This time I wanted to visit Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya.
Unfortunately, from the beginning I contacted another company in Kenya - Kenya Walking Survivors Safaris, which appeared to be fraud. I paid them in July and on August 8th, I got a message that they cannot provide service and they stopped answer emails. There are now many reviews from cheated customes about KWSS on their page in Safaribookings. They stoled from many people. And I already bought airtickets and visum for the 6 of September. I was desperate, I lost money and was going to loose even more. So, just 3 weeks before departure I desperately contacted Sydah from AA Safaris & Tours. In February 2019 she arranged for me an exciting trip in Uganda. So I wrote directly to her and asked, if she can help me with safari in Kenya. And she did! In spite of shortage of time, high season and my request to try to do it as cheap as possible but still rather comfortable.
With the help of their partners in Kenya (Francis from Kenia Mara), they managed to book me on new safari, trying to keep price lower as I already lost much money. I was joining groups of other companies and it was different cars and drivers almost every day but it worked! It was amazing! They were taking so good care of me. I do not know, how they managed to coordinate which tourist go to which car, but they did it! :) They controlled the situation all the time. All drivers were excellent, special thanks to Martin, Daniel and Robert (they all belong to different companies).
I had a great time in Kenya! Safari in Masai Mara was absolutely incredible! It was really a whole day safari, we drived in about 7:00 in the morning and returned to the hotel around 6 pm. We saw all possible big animals just at a few meters distans, even closer sometimes. I made hundreds of great photos. Accomodation (Menyatta Camp just few minutes drive from Masai Mara entrance ) was rather modest but absolutely okey for its price class. At all places was clean, there were mosquito nets, staff was friendly. My last day in Nairobi also was filled with activities: I had a city tour, visit to Karen Blixen house and Giraffe Centrum.
Both Sydah and Francis answered at all my mails and sms almost immediately, even if I wrote early in the morning or late in the evening. I am grateful to AA Safaries & Tours Ltd and to Kenia Mara for the excellent safari which they organized for me practically in the last minute. They are responsible professionals!
Pearl of Africa Indeed - 4 Day Murchison Falls NP and a +1 to Mabamba Swamp
I had the absolute joy of reaching out to AA Safaris and Tours for a four day Murchison Falls NP and a Mabamba Swamp outing. Sydah was responsive to my request and questions, with about a delay of a day as I was writing from the USA. They were able to help me choose which park would be best for what I wanted to see and also accommodated me with my additional request to see Mabamba Swamp. Since I am a birdwatcher they suggested a combined guide/bird expert to which I agreed and was well worth it.
The guide Barnabas, was knowledgeable on birds and wildlife, culture, history, and just about every question I had. He was easygoing and enjoyable to talk to while on the long drives, his knowledge of birds and habitats was excellent although I spotted some birds that gave his brain some good exercise. His contacts and networks are extensive so he always gets the good information on where to get the best views/shots/spots, but also he listens to the needs/wishes of the traveler and accommodates. I am not a big "shopper" or touristy kind of person and he recognized this and skipped over so we can get to the things I love.
He is clearly a man who loves his country, and all the wildlife it holds, and looks positively to the future.
Now on to the good stuff:
Leaving my hotel early in the morning we high tailed it through Kampala and the country side to the boat launch. Picked up our local guide and boat driver and were off cruising the canals off this expansive freshwater swamp. Right away we were spotting birds left and right, the guide standing prominently on the bow scanning and pointing out birds while calling out their names. I was getting a complete work out bring my binoculars to my eyes and then switching to my camera. Throughout the local guide was in contact with the other guides who were all searching for the swamp's specialty, the Shoebill Stork. Only about nine of these live around in the swamp and the local guides keep tabs on them for the government. After two attempts down paths that these birds frequent, a guide spotted one off a far branch and we made our way to it. Along a stretch of floating vegetation stood a tall blue-gray bird with scraggly feathers and a beak that looks like a danish clog, slowly watching the waters for its favorite food the lungfish. After this pinnacle we motored back to the launch and headed back into town, it had already been a half of a day.
Murchison Falls National Park:
Departing early in the morning we crossed through the notorious Kampala traffic, had a 30 minute delay due to car trouble but was finally on our way north. The first stop was at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where we picked up a guide and traveled into the large reserve which is completely fenced in. This is for the protection of the Rhinos to prevent poaching but also prevents predators from getting in making it relatively safe to get out of the car and hike around. A simple walk into the bush had us meet up with the two guards who are constantly following Rhinos escorting them and preventing hunting. The led us to a series of bushes about ten yards in front of us, the ranger pointed, I looked I didn't see anything in the shadow of the bushes. I looked again peering into the darkness under the trees. The darkness moved and became less dark almost like an earthy dark grey, the large hulk of a full sized Rhino filled the space below the vegetation, hiding from the midday sun. Below its snout a tiny lump stirred. A baby Rhino, cute as a button, stood up and ventured out to munch on some grasses. Even though it was cloudy we stood in the shade of some trees and watched the pair venture out to graze on the grasses. After a while the guide asked if I wanted to see more...um...yea. We walked back to the car and drove to a more open grassland and parked we got out and walked across the plain for quite some time. The sun was high and large puffy clouds drifted across the sky, large birds of prey soared in the thermals above us, and small birds called from tree tops across that vast expanse. We were heading to an earthen mound with boulders sticking out and around it. At its base were two female Rhinos with baby calves following them around as they grazed. Calm and familiar to humans they passed close by allowing for some great photo shots and memorable moments. We headed back to the car IDing birds along the way and then headed back north to Masindi and eventually the Red Chili Rest Camp were we stayed for the night. We ate a simple delicious dinner while sipping on cold beer and watched the sun set over a expansive view of the Nile River.
The next morning we departed heading to the top of the falls where the Nile River scrambles down the African Escarpment through a 7 meter gap in the rocks with roaring thunderous power. The site was hypnotizing, and the only reference to reality was a small sign stating "Dangerous, do not go beyond this point" beyond the sign the rocks gently sloped to the edge where the rushing torrent of water washed and surged by. We continued to the Bugungu Chimpanzee refuge where the forest is so thick it is best described as a jungle. The guide led me down paths that quickly ran into small "game" trails that wound themselves through the undergrowth. Every now and then he would call on the radio to other groups to see where the chimps were. We eventually caught up with a group on the side of a gently sloping hill with some downed trees that provided broad windows into the upper canopy. There nestled into the branching forks of the tree's trunk were large furry patches of black. The guide would check to see if you can see it well and then you would wait. At some point the top of the furry mass would rotate and a leathery face would turn and look out into another direction, the definition of the chimp then would become clear, head, torso, legs, arms. you would then notice its behavior lounging in the trees pulling at leaves and slowly munching away. An unseen signal from one in the group started a raucous call, and the chimps began to get restless, scratching themselves and coming down from the trees to travel across the ground. The guide informed us that was their signal that they wanted to move to a new area. I watched as they formed up into a group did some social grooming and headed off. In total we saw the following primates: Baboons, Chimpanzees, Velvet Monkey, Black and White Colibus Monkey, Patas Monkey. Meeting up with my driver we headed out and took the long way around as the ferry was out and we had over a 100km to go to get to our lodgings Ft. Murchison Lodges for the evening. This accommodation is set back from the banks of the river and provides a peaceful panorama view of Africa.
This was the morning where the roof top of the vehicle was extended allowing for a shady 360 degree view around the car and the surrounding landscape. We entered the park and all you see for miles in every direction was wildlife, the park was teaming with it. The scene set before you is long expanse of rolling plains dotted occasionally by acacia trees, towards the bottom of the slopes are creek beds that support a thicker density of trees. We traveled for miles along the dirt tracks that criss-cross the park, bouncing back and forth whenever I spotted something new I would jump up to get a better view and Barnabas would slow the car and call out the name of the animal or bird and explain its behavior, favorite food and any other fact about it. Animals that we saw were: Waterbok, Kob, Oribi, Jackson Heartbeast, Giraffe, Buffalo, Elephant, Warthog, Dwarf Mongoose, Monitor Lizard, Hippopotamus, Side Stripped Jackel, Nile Crocodile, Lions.
Around noon we pulled up to the ferry landing to climb aboard a skiff to take the three hour boat tour along the Nile River up to the bottom of the falls. Along the way the guide explains the river, the ecosystem and all the wildlife along it. Motoring along the edge of the river gave us great views of the Nile Crocodile, Hippos, Jackson Heart-Beast, Elephants, so many elephants, storks, egrets, herons and African Fish Eagles. The river turns to foam as you approach closer to the falls, and the sound of rushing water is coupled with a distant thunderous cacophony. The guide pilots the boat to a rock sitting in the middle of the river bumps up to a tire placed there and you can climb out for a better view, but don't fall in the river runs swiftly by this point and as the guide says you would be food for the crocs. Only sport fishing boats venture past this point in search of massive Nile Perch. We motored back down the river watching the shadows grow long and set foot back on solid ground. My guide had talked with the others waiting around the parking areas and they were sharing information, Lions had been spotted! We raced against the setting sun along the dirt tracks, we had been told earlier in the day they were spotted in an area that we had staked out to no avail. Now we had been given new information beyond the mornings area they were spotted resting in some thickets. We pulled up to a long grassy field that slopped downwards to our left, the grass made it difficult to spot anything. I scanned the tall grass, spotting antelope and warthogs, but no lions, the wind blew the grass stalks shivered and rolled. We heard the telltale crunch of tires on the dirt road and we were joined by three other vehicles one having a park ranger leading it, we were in the right place, she pointed to thickets off in the distance almost at the crest of a hill, all eyes swiveled, strained and watched. In the passing heat the bugs buzzed and the sun must have reached a certain height, because out there among the thickets, the matriarch lion stood up and stretched, walked a few paces relieved herself and signaled to the rest of the lions. One by one they stood up stretched and formed around each other, it was time to go out into the gathering darkness for a hunt. Barnabas drove back through the winding tracks as I stood and leaned against the viewing port, I snapped photos of the setting sun and watched as groups entered the park for a nocturnal wildlife viewing. To top it off we watched as Crowned Cranes the national bird of Uganda soared above us on their way to their evening roost.
The next day we wound our way back down to Kampala stopping when we spotted a bird given history lessons of the areas we drove through. At the end I was dropped off at the hotel for the evening and I departed early the following morning. All and all it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I was lucky to have.
- Two Caveats:
1) In speaking with the coordinator I had given specific dates about when I wanted to go but was surprised when I looked over the itinerary in more detail to find the dates shifted by a day. This was based on guide availability, which was fine but a flag or heads up by the office drawing attention to it would have been nice.
2) While driving through the city traffic of Kampala our vehicle started to smoke. A quick inspection saw that the Timing or Serpentine Belt had snapped and the vehicle was overheating. A new car was brought within a half hour and we were off on our way, however I felt a small bit of maintenance or pre-trip checks would have discovered the need to replace the belt preventing this small mishap.
Good service provided by AA Safaris and Tour setting up a tour that was slightly customized to my preferences. Great Guide in Barnabas who knew birds, wildlife, and local networking connections.
Mabamba Swamp, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Bugungu Forest Chimpanzees, Top of the Falls, Bottom of the falls via Nile River boat tour, Murchison Falls NP Safari that saw lions, Jackles, Giraffes, Hippopotamus, Elephants, Jackson Heartbeast, a range of antelopes, Shoebill Stork, Vultures, eagles, and numerous other birds, and amazing natural wonders and vistas.
Cons: ferry at Nile River Crossing was out of commission forcing a long round about way to the northern section of the area. Car troubles in Kampala, slight miscommunication about start dates.
Once in a lifetime experience
Chris our driver and now friend, showed us a once in a lifetime experience. Extremely good driver.
Bucket list worthy and an absolute must for visiting Uganda and Rwanda!
First class-we had delays and nothing was an issue
AA Safaries & Tours provided excellent service, I managed to see all what I wanted in just 5 days
Sydah was extremely helpfull and patient in long email communication with me. I was well prepared and knew exactly what I want to see, but I had practically only 5 days in Uganda. My programm was intensive but in spite of long distances I managed to visit schimps in Kibale forest, I saw differents species of monkeys during Bigodi swamp walk. I hade unforgetable gorilla trekking in Bwindi. I did community walk in Bwindi and got aqcuainted with local people and their traditions. I saw liones relaxing on trees in Queen Elisabeth NP, as well as many other animals there. My driver and guide Barnabas was great! He is so professional, carefull, helpfull. Many thanks to him!
All hotells was chosen by Sydah and they were really very good, I could not wish better. Everything was so good that is feels almost unreal but it was true. I am very happy with my travel to Uganda and hope to make a new trip with the same company in near future.
Other Safaris & Tours6 – Offered by AA Safaris & Tours
4-Day Murchison Falls National Park Uganda Safari
$890 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tourBudgetLodge
You Visit: Kampala (Start), Murchison Falls NP, Kampala (End)
3-Day Cheap Gorilla Tracking Safari
$1,270 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tourBudgetLodge
You Visit: Kampala (Start), Bwindi NP (Gorillas), Kampala (End)
7-Day Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Tracking Safari
$2,530 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tour
Mid-rangeLodge & Guest House
You Visit: Kampala (Start), Kibale NP (Chimps), Queen Elizabeth NP, Bwindi NP (Gorillas), Kampala (End)
4-Day Gorillas and Golden Monkeys Rwanda Safari
$2,355 pp (USD)
Rwanda: Private tour
You Visit: Kigali (Start), Volcanoes NP (Gorillas), Kigali (End)
10-Day Best of Rwanda Safari
$3,885 pp (USD)
Rwanda: Private tour
Mid-rangeLodge & Hotel
You Visit: Kigali (Start), Akagera NP, Nyungwe Forest NP (Chimps), Volcanoes NP (Gorillas), Rubavu (City), Kigali Airport (End)
1-Day Gorilla Safari Rwanda
$1,800 pp (USD)
Rwanda: Day tourPrivate tour
You Visit: Kigali (Start), Volcanoes NP (Gorillas), Kigali (End)