African Pearl Safaris

African Pearl Safaris, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Hours, Address, African Pearl Safaris Reviews: 5/5

African Pearl Safaris
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
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African Pearl Safaris was the first tour company in Uganda to take tourists to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for Gorilla Tracking, in 1993. We arrange tours that include; gorilla trekking safaris, birding, nature/guided walks, wildlife game viewing, mountaineering and other safari tours to Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar Island.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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89 reviews
Very good

1 contribution
Jun 2022 • Couples
We had a great experience with African Pearl and our guide Peter. the accommodations were wonderful, the food delicious, we could spend plenty of time observing wildlife, from the car, from the water, on foot… we even met a hippo at the lodge! Peter was very knowledgeable and we felt very safe in the car even if the roads were sometimes rough. The gorillas were of course the highlight but also Murchison falls NP, the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elisabeth NP, Kibale, every stop had something new and diverse to offer, the landscape was green and lush, everywhere there were elephants! We saw lions, leopards…. it was just fantastic! Also the visit to the Batwa people, about whom we knew nothing was a very touching experience which we will not forget. We really enjoyed Uganda, we found it very different from other African countries we have visited, especially for the very green landscapes which we liked a lot…
The program of our 12 days journey was entirely organized by African Pearl and we enjoyed every bit of it!
Written June 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nathan Dickinson
Melbourne, Australia2 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
Made us feel really welcome and comfortable, and we’re so helpful during our stay in africa.
And recommended us to the best places in east africa. Definitely recommend this company if you wish to do a custom tour in east africa
Thankyou so much to the team at African Pearl Safaris, and especially to Edith, Sam And Baptiste.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you Nathan for your kind review. It was nice having you around. Edith.
Written January 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1 contribution
Feb 2020 • Solo
When my plans changed while in Tanzania, I decided to go to Uganda. With little notice, Stephen was able to customize a safari which included chimp trekking in Kibale, gorilla trekking in Bwindi and wildlife safari in QENP. Absolutely amazing! The accommodations although classified as moderate were more than satisfactory, as was the food.
I can’t say enough about Peter, my driver/guide. As well as sharing his vast knowledge of Uganda‘a wildlife, it’s geography and culture, he was attentive and kept me safe.
Hopefully one day I can do another safari in Uganda, arranged by APS, with Peter as my driver/guide.
Written March 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sandra P
1 contribution
Feb 2022 • Couples
We did a six-day safari that included visiting Jinja, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We went on game drives, a chimpanzee trek, and a mountain gorilla trek. Every activity was fantastic and we packed a lot into those six days. A wonderful experience from initial inquiry to end of the safari. Our driver/guide was both professional and a wonderful traveling companion. Accommodations were comfortable and staff everywhere were most gracious.
Written February 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jenna A
Brisbane6 contributions
Mar 2012 • Couples
My husband and I had the fortune of visiting Bwindi to see the gorillas with APS in March 2012. From the start, our contact Edris was prompt and professional, and arranged our tour without hassle.

Our driver/guide Daniel was lovely and knowledgeable about the area. We stayed at the community bandas (budget option) but were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the accommodation.

We would highly recommend APS to anyone planning a trip in Uganda!
Written May 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

westsea r
Seattle, WA20 contributions
Jul 2018 • Couples
If you are interested in gorilla trekking and/or seeing other parts of Uganda, we highly recommend African Pearl Safaris. This was our first trip to Africa. Edris in the home office was very responsive during the planning process and our trip was perfect! The lodging chosen was wonderful. Our guide, Abas, was amazing. Not only did he have an incredible amount of knowledge regarding the animals, he was a pleasure to spend an entire week with. We thought this would be our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Uganda. After visiting, we would love to return. If we do, there is no question that we will book again using African Pearl Safaris. They are exceptional!
Written August 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

New Haven, CT5 contributions
Jan 2015 • Family
[Note: This review is long overdue – I wrote it shortly after our trip, but am more than a year late in posting it. I hesitated about whether to post it now, but am doing because our experience differed somewhat from the other reviews here.]

In writing this review (for our July 2013 trip), I was torn about whether to give 3 or 4 stars. APS was responsive, competent, trustworthy, and ensured that all of our logistics stayed on track. However, the level of communication and anticipation of our needs was below my expectations and often affected our enjoyment of the trip. Specifics are given below. To be fair, APS may be at par for Ugandan safari outfits; all I know is that they were not up to the standard set by the Kenyan companies we dealt with on the same trip. Although our trip was wonderful, I am giving this 3.5 stars because the 5-star parts of our safari were those that I think would have been the same with any competent tour company (e.g. the hotels, gorilla/chimp tracking) while the most frustrating parts were those completely under the control of APS.

To give a bit of context, this 4-night safari was part of a larger trip for my father’s 60th birthday. We spent 2 nights at Ndali Lodge (while hiking and chimp tracking at Kibale) and 2 nights at Buhoma Lodge (while gorilla tracking at Bwindi). Both hotels were fantastic, as were the gorilla and chimp tracking experiences run by the Uganda Wildlife Service. My main advice would be to slow things down, if possible. We spent a lot of time on the road. The hotels were incredibly atmospheric and enjoyable in their own right. Given more time, I would have done more walking around local attractions and enjoying the views at the lodges. We felt a bit like we had to rush from one end of the country to the other each day. Minor advice: skip Amabere Falls, definitely do Ndali Lodge and the associated walks and plantation/vanilla factory tours, do the village walk in Buhoma. If I went back, I would do another guided forest walk in Kibale to see monkeys and birds.

In planning our trip, Edris was always responsive, pleasant, and willing to accommodate our requests. However, AFTER we had not only confirmed our itinerary but also sent a large deposit, we were informed that our hotels for 2 of the 3 nights would be different than what we had agreed to, including one that was switched back to a hotel that we had explicitly asked to have changed. I understand that things book fast in the high season, but it’s hard for me to imagine a first-class tour company that thinks it is acceptable to make that kind of switch without even checking with the customer (or to take money without first confirming that what they’re offering is actually available). To their credit, APS did make changes after some pushing, at what was I am sure considerable annoyance and cost to them. Then we were then told that the gorilla family we now had permits for was one they book “…as a last resort. It would have been more enjoyable for you to track a different larger group but it is now not possible.” Although we loved the gorilla tracking, I suspect that was true. All of the pain on both sides could have been avoided at so many points, by finding out whether our dates were flexible or telling us about the changes before making irreversible reservations, or at the very least, communicating clearly about the trade-offs so that we could weigh the options for ourselves.

On the trip itself, our guide Isa was always punctual and polite. When something went off track for reasons outside his control (the car breaking down, finding out that the tour we had specifically requested since day 1 of planning wasn’t offered on Sunday), he did his best to fix things and keep the schedule on track. He was a good driver, and we always felt safe on some crazy roads. He was fun to talk to over a beer, and we enjoyed hearing about his interest in birding and discussing the Ugandan economy. However, since most aspects of the tour were actually run by 3rd parties (hotels, Uganda Wildlife Service), the most important part of Isa’s job was to keep us comfortable and well-informed during the long drives, which he didn’t really do. For instance, we went out for what we thought was a 15 minute stroll that turned out to be a 3 hour hike through muddy ravines and up hills – without water bottles, walking sticks for my parents, hats, etc, after having explicitly asked him before leaving the car what we should expect and what gear we would need to be comfortable.

Most bizarrely, it was a constant battle during the long car rides to find out when bathrooms would be available. There seemed to be no standard procedure for bathroom breaks, nor any effort on his part to find out when we needed them. When we did ask when a bathroom might be available, he would either not answer or interpret it as a demand to stop immediately at the nearest bush or pit toilet. If that was truly all that was available, that would have been fine, but as we wised up toward the end of the trip, we discovered that if we timed our bathroom inquiries to be just as he was driving through a largish town, a flush-toilet at a gas station could almost always be found. It baffles me that a tour company that drives these same routes with tourists every day doesn’t have a large number of standard places where they can stop to use a toilet, or at least, a more effective way of communicating about when and if those will be available. As far as I know, no one in our group is afflicted with the world’s tiniest bladder, nor unreasonable expectations about toilet facilities when traveling in rural areas in a developing country – we just wanted to know what was going on and what our options were! This may sound minor, but it meant that we were often uncomfortable in the car (and we were in the car a lot on this trip) -- in one case we literally couldn’t even get out to pee in a bush after 4 hours without a break, because we were in the middle of Queen Elizabeth National Park in the dark. Couldn’t that have been anticipated by someone (not us!) who knew the driving route?

Obviously, the bathroom issue got us worked up. However, it was representative of a more general lack of attention to things that were individually minor but added up to a lot of unnecessary awkwardness and discomfort – not telling us when APS was paying for something or when we were expected to, not telling us the schedule, not telling us how to dress appropriately for each activity, and so on. On both the planning and tour sides, APS could go from a 3.5 star tour company to a 5 star one with more proactive communication and anticipation of customers’ comfort.
Written January 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We appreciate reading from your feedback review on this platform. This has not only helped us gain a right sense of direction but also helped our guests to read other previous clients opinions about our service delivery We agree with you on some cases especially on accommodation change. We always communicate to our esteemed clients a confirmed program upon confirmation, most accommodation remain tentative and subject to availability on final confirmation. The safari program remains tentative and bound to change and this is brought about by availability of relevant permits e.g. (Gorilla permits) and allocations from Uganda Wildlife Authority for accessibility reasons in Bwindi. A formal and immediate communication is made to our client to this effect in case of any changes before they arrive for a safari and we do ensure a similar standard and rating is maintained at the alternative lodge or hotel. We do this to ensure clients have value for their money and an enjoyful safari Something about the bathroom issue especially en-route this is a big challenge in Uganda. For visitors that have been to Uganda before, we do not have designated stop over points where clients can freely ease themselves. A few points can be found a long Masaka-Mbarara highway. All in all am very happy to have had the golden opportunity to serve you and read from you your comments for the last 1 and half years. We have greatly improved on our capacity, imported in new 4x4 customized safari vehicles and equipped our safari guides strongly. Our prompt communication remains unmatched and we are honored of you to commend us as a trustworthy local tour company with transparent communication
Written January 16, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Deni D
Chicago, IL29 contributions
Aug 2013 • Solo
This is a great company!! Seeing so many animals up close and in the wild was incredible!!!! The scenery was gorgeous!!! Making arrangements via email was efficient and easy. They were on time with pick-up and the vehicle was clean and comfortable. The guides they arranged at Ziwa and Murchison were fabulous. The accommodations were deluxe. Best of all...Herbert Solomon!!! He was a pleasure to travel with, I was on Safari my myself and we chatted for many hours, he is a sweet, wonderful man and was very knowledgeable. He even drove me to the airport the next day. I wish Herbert and African Pearl many more years of success!!!
Written August 31, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dublin, Ireland7 contributions
Apr 2012 • Couples
We recently visited Uganda and had done a lot of research before hand on which safari company to use to visit the Gorillas in Bwindi. APS (particularly Edris our main contact) were very impressive in terms of prompt responses to emails, ability to cater a package to our needs and work to our timings. We were initially a bit nervous about transferring such a large sum of money before the trip but our minds were put at ease from reading various reviews online.
The trip itself was amazing! Grace our drive/guide was fantastic. He was informative and able to answer any questions we had along the way. We opted for the budget trip and stayed in the Buhoma Community camps which was more than adequate and nicer than we had expected.

An amazing trip made very easy with the help of APS.
Written May 3, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London5 contributions
Nov 2011 • Solo
A very professional outfit. Massively appreciated all the advice whilst planning my trip. My guide/driver was the best - he made my trip! Cannot thank him enough for the experience I enjoyed. Uganda is simply phenomenal and Africa pearl will make sure you see it all!
Written December 1, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about African Pearl Safaris

African Pearl Safaris is open:
  • Mon - Fri 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
  • Sat - Sat 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM