I just got back from a 3-day gorilla trek with Crystal Safaris and the answer is yes, go with Crystal Safaris! Barbara, who is the owner and also who we communicated with via emails, was always responsive via emails and incredibly helpful when we got there! She had let us know in advance that the Gorilla Safari Lodge was fully booked so she had booked us next door at the Icumbi Gorilla Lodge. Not ... Read moreonly had she pre-checked the room for us, she came during our stay to make sure everything was okay! On top of that, the airline had lost my luggage (perfect timing) and I had trouble contacting the baggage department, so she had made calls to get a hold of someone for me. She spent quite a bit of time on the phone for me and I will always be appreciative of that as that is not something she needed to do.
Our guide was Hannington and when he came to pick us up in Rwanda, I thought he was just driving us to the lodge in Uganda. But we realized he was going to be our guide for the next 3 days - what a nice surprise! It's comforting to know that there is one person you can rely on and trust for your entire trip. Hannington is the perfect person for that job. He always watched out for us to make sure we were well take care of. For our gorilla trek, our group of 8 was supposed to start the trek at the top of a hill but because some individuals came in cars that were not equipped to drive up a steep incline, it was suggested the entire group start at the bottom of the hill and walk up. Hannington knew immediately that if my sister and I hiked that hill, we would not have enough energy for the actual trek. He ended up saving all of us by driving the whole group to the top in his vehicle. And boy, was I glad he did! He also knew how to get us across the borders and quickly :) Trust me, you'd want a guide to help you through that part (there are no signs).
As for the trek, I would suggest booking a room for the night after the gorilla trek. You'll be happy you did. You will come back with so much dirt and mud piled on you, you will be grateful to have a warm shower and somewhere to sit/relax after a strenuous hike. Get ready for an incredible experience - the gorillas were no more than 5 feet away from us! It will be an experience you will never forget.
Ever since we first contacted Crystal Safari until we met Hennington at the airport, we were very well informed about the itinerary and the status of our trip. The lodge at Bwindi National Park provides all the comfort and rest we needed ahead of the Gorilla Tracking. The tracking itself exceeded all expectations. That experience was incredibly touching and we look forward to come back to Uganda.
Crystal Safaris, and specifically Barbara, who we got to meet designs and arranges every detail perfectly. The Gorilla Safari Lodge, Ishasha and Crater Safari Lodge were great. She arranged our gorilla and chimp hikes and pur guide Joseph was the best. He tracked the tree lion tenaciously until he found it, was our liaison for every trek, and took perfect care of us. Highly encourage you to us ... Read moree this wonderful company and kind professional capable people. You will have an unforgettable time.
Crystal Safaris is a lovely place to stay as you plan your adventures into the Bwindi jungle in search of mountain gorillas. The accommodations are very clean, food was very good and service impeccable! Barbara was very thoughtful and thorough helping with our trip plans & accommodations! She is amazing!
Joseph was our driver and guide for the week as we trekked mountain gorillas, safaried in Q ... Read moreueen Elizabeth's National Park & went on the chimpanzee hike. Joseph has vast experience as a Tour guide - we nicked named him "Magic Man" as we often experienced many fun surprises as we were on safari. The tree climbing lions were no where to be found, yet Joseph was relentless until we found them! He knows every short cut to get to his destination as well! Such an adventure! Joseph also was an incredible advocate for me talking to our trekking guide & porter. I had previously had esophageal surgery and was concerned about the hike. Joseph made sure we were well taken care of. It is evident Joseph cares about you as his client, he is genuine & an authentic. My porter Jeffrey was a jewel as well! We certainly will be coming back to Uganda and Crystal Safaris will be our first choice
My tour guide was named Joseph he was extremely professional and knowledgeable about the entire country and would answer every question that I had without it hesitation and it did not sound like he was making it up he knew his stuff any new everything about this safari and how to find animals and where to find animals and it was a very fun experience hanging out with him for about 7 days. Joseph a ... Read morelso drives very safely and knows how to make sure that you're taken care of and that the people take care of you while you are in his custody
Our guide who drove us to kivu, Kennedy was good. Then our 2nd guide Hannington took us from Kivu to Mwindi Uganda. He was very knowledgeable calm and helpful always.
We really enjoyed our gorilla trekking experience
A very experienced and knowledgeable tour guide Hannington did an amazing job of managing our trip and guiding us as required and working with us to meet our changing requirements given that we were a large group.
The vehicle was decent but could benefit from some investment as we did have a low battery situation once and the vehicle needed to be pushed...part of the adventure but need not have ... Read moreto happen...
Hannington has great personality and is very easy to get along with and is very sensitive to people's moods and adjusting the tempo accordingly. Very important to have good EQ.
Hannington was our guide and he made sure that we had the best safari. He accommodated all our needs and took time to ensure adventure, fun, and a well worth safari.
We had a really good guide and he explained a lot to us, including some of the history of Rwanda.
The safari tour was led by Hannington, who gave us great information about Rwanda and Uganda. We got to see beautiful sites daily, and we had the opportunity to interact with gorillas and see the wildlife around us.