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Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge
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Reviews (53)
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Reviewed September 13, 2011

This was perhaps not the most formally run of places we stayed at, in that it is no 5 star hotel. However the friendliness of all the staff more than makes up for it. The rooms are very nice, clean and comfortable. Often we returned to our room to find different arrangements of petals on the bed!

I realise that other reviews of this lodge have not been that great but we really enjoyed our stay. At times in the bar staff would join you for a chat, or show you which windowsill to balance your mobile on to get signal! The place was very relaxed, just what you needed after a tiring trek. It was good to be able to relax and have a drink, and not worry about what you looked like afterwards as you would do in one of the fancier lodges! They cleaned our walking boots when we got back from the trek too which was a very nice touch.

Really good food too. Would recommend this place to anyone for just the relaxing niceness of it.

We were unsure what to pack for the gorilla trek. Definitely need walking boots, if not for the grips but to protect your ankles when you fall(because you will it's just a question of how many times!). You need a waterproof jacket, just a thin one would do as it on and off quickly with the rain. Gardening gloves are essential as when you are on tough terrain, just climbing over branches and and holes you will find yourself grabbing onto branches for support, and sometimes these are spiky! Lightweight trousers are fine. Also, take a porter. Only 15 dollars, they will help you on tough terrain but even worthwhile just to carry your bag. We were about six hours, that's a long time carrying the recommended three litres of water, plus cameras and binoculars!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank frasanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2011

Don't make the mistake of staying in Buhoma (or elsewhere outside Ruhija) if you get permits for the Bitukura or Oruzogo Gorilla groups.

Several travellers we met made this mistake and had to get up at 4 am to make a trecherous 2-hour drive along mountain cliffs before their trek even started.

There aren't a lot of great options in Ruhija. This place is the nicest on offer.

The management cares and they try hard. The head manager went down the street to buy me an local cell phone SIM for me and brought me my change.

At the same time, they don't have the experience or the volume of travellers to deliver a luxury experience.

Geoffrey stood out as particularly friendly and personable with guests. The rest of the staff did not seem to be as comfortable around guests.

The food is average. You may need to request that they run the generator when you need to charge things for longer.

They don't upgrade you to a nicer room even when it's available.

The town is not not yet wired for internet, but you can get it through your phone from the AirTel tower.

Also note-- there is a massive difference in room quality between the dorms and the cabins. The dorms have squat toilets, which are out of place with the western experience the rest of the hotel provides. The separated cabins themselves are quite nice.

Overall, the best option for Ruhija Gorillas, but I would have preferred getting a permit near Buhoma.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank johnmcdo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moses A, Manager at Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2013

Dear Our esteemed guest,
Thank you for the review you posted about the lodge ,as regards your experience with us the last time. With deep regrets , I apologize on the short comings you had with us however such comments goes a long way in encouraging us to improve and serve our customers better.
In direct response to your reviews we have made changes as follows:
Some of the hallmarks we have improved on at the Lodge are;
• The lodge is being completely re-furbished, the room water heating system as been boosted for a 24 hour constant supply of hot water we assure you that your stay will be of the highest comfort and standard.
• We have invested in human resource expertise by recruiting a new dynamic lodge manager and extensively retrained the entire lodge staff to required standards of service delivery.
• The Lodge is in the final stage of constructing a steam bath and sauna facility, this will be a complementary for all stay in guests.
The new features and additions, is due to our continued desire to have new innovative ways of providing memorable guest experiences while staying with us.
Our keen interest in tracking trends in the tourism and hospitality industry has helped us develop a solution that answers the special needs of you our partner, some of these solutions include:
i. Increase customer satisfaction and ensure that we meet every detail of customer needs.
ii. In house gift shop / craft shop
iii. We accept major credit card company in the Lodge
iv. Free WIFI connection
v. Wine cellar bar and fine dining experience in our newly improved menu with a free glass of wine for every meal.
vi. Free coffee/tea making facility and hand hair dryer provisions in the deluxe and superior rooms.
vii. Lessons in playing Ugandan traditional music instruments while entertaining our guests.
1. We have also embarked on a more interactive information gathering and sharing through our social media platforms, we are on Facebook, Twitter , YouTube, Google+,My Space
LinkedIn and Trip Ad visor sites. We encourage you to share these sites with your clientele for them to have the opportunity to share their experiences.

Your satisfaction is our concern and we constantly request you to send us your feed back to enable us to strive to achieve the highest standard of customer satisfaction.

Kind regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2011

My wife & I spent 2 nights here at the end of December last. This is a hard lodge to review as they have the basics right but it is the execution of some of the services that totally lets the place down. The lodge looks good, particularly when you consider just how remote the location is. The road to the lodge from Bwindi is without a doubt the worse road we have ever even seen and the road the other way towards the Rwanda border is better but still very bumpy, narrow and corrugated. After the drive here you are not expecting much and first impressions are both surprising & pleasing.

There is a reception/restaurant building at the car park and down on 2 lower levels are the cottages. The nearest row of cottages do not have fireplaces, the further row do have them. Believe me, you will need the fireplace – it is absolutely freezing here at night. The further row of cottages appeared to be newer. We were in the first cottage you come to in the further row. After checking in we were offered refreshments and then shown to our cottage. We were instructed on the hours that the generator was on for the electricity & the rather tedious way you get hot water to the shower. Everything else was self – explanatory. On dusk a boy bought some firewood to the room & lit the fire for us. The wood they burn here is Australian Eucalyptus (The Koala Bears’ only food) which burns furiously hot & spits sparks & embers all over the place so you have to be careful what you put near to the fire & how close you stand yourself to it. I commented that we might need some more as it was just so cold so he happily went away & returned with some more. This is one place we felt there was high pressure expectation of a tip & on this occasion clearly one was expected.

We then began the futile & often practiced procedure of getting hot water to the shower. You had to fill a 20 litre pail from the hot shower tap, then tip it out & repeat this procedure over & over again until hot water came. Only I could do this as a 20 litre bucket of water was too heavy for my wife to handle. After 4 repeats & still no hot water I went & asked the manager for some help. A boy came down, had a couple of tries & said that the hot water would come now. It never did, never in the 2 nights of staying here. You could get hot water from the basin tap so we battled with a combination of cold (freezing) showers and washes using the basin hot tap. After a half day spent walking in the forest here the thing you most want is a hot shower!! On the first night we were the only guests but on the second night a small group of Japanese arrived. After their arrival when you turned the shower hot tap on no water at all came out!! On the morning of our departure, unlike the Japanese group who rose early to go Gorilla trekking we stayed in our beds until 7am. On rising we discovered they had turned off the power as soon as the Japanese had left & to hell with us. Fortunately we travel with several torches so we could see in the always dark & dingy bathroom.

Shortly after we arrived in the room I noticed some peculiar bugs on my bed. I stripped the bedding off the bed & they were everywhere. I put 3 in a glass & took them up & showed our guide. I have never seen bed bugs so I wasn’t sure what they were. They were apparently weevils like borer that are eating the untreated wood the cottages are made out of. Sure enough, you could see little piles of sawdust in places where they were devouring the wood above.

Ok, so what was good? The food was actually very good as was the service provided by the staff. We were given complimentary glasses of wine on our first night and the dinner service was a 3 course meal which was surprisingly nice. Would I stay here again, no. The Trekkers Tavern is close by & judging by the reviews this would be a better bet even though it is older. Another point, the steps leading down to the cottages are huge and you need to take extreme care on them. I was having a problem with the altitude here (2800m) & it nearly killed me to climb these steps. We did end up seeing the Gorillas but a few days later saw them again in Rwanda where Gorilla tourism is so much more advanced that is what I would recommend & skip this part of Uganda completely.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank KiwiExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2010

OK, this is a pretty negative review. Spent 3 weeks in Uganda and while this lodge is in an excellent location, very new and pretty clean, I give it a poor rating. Why?

We were the only guests the night we stayed at the lodge. Upon being shown our room, we discovered that the light in the bathroom was not working. I brought this to the attention of the staff but rather than moving us to another room, they brought us a lantern. I was pretty surprised since we were paying about $225 and the only guests. They fed us a pasta dish that was bland and the staff was more interested in watching tv then actually bringing us our food. As a result, we had cold pasta.

The next morning, as we were to leave the lodge for our gorilla trek (before 8 am), a member of their decided to clean our room and discovered that we had soiled one of towels in our room. The manager implied that we had soiled the towel by cleaning our boots with the towel. The only problem was that we wore sandles into our room while our boots remained in our truck during our entire visit. This was definitely a scam. It became more obvious when they wanted us to pay $50 to replace the towel. I've been to over 50 countries around the world, stayed at hundreds of hotels/lodges and this was one of the silliest scams ever. Well, we didn't pay their $50 fine and simply left the lodge.

Since I don't know the area, I really can't recommend another lodge in the area.It is very clean (and new) but I would recommend staying somewhere else. If you do decide to stay here, I hope you don't have the same experience.

Safe travels....

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Stinkyrules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moses A, Manager at Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2013

Dear Our esteemed guest,
Thank you for the review you posted about the lodge ,as regards your experience with us the last time. With deep regrets , I apologize on the short comings you had with us however such comments goes a long way in encouraging us to improve and serve our customers better.
In direct response to your reviews we have made changes as follows:
Some of the hallmarks we have improved on at the Lodge are;
• The lodge is being completely re-furbished, the room water heating system as been boosted for a 24 hour constant supply of hot water we assure you that your stay will be of the highest comfort and standard.
• We have invested in human resource expertise by recruiting a new dynamic lodge manager and extensively retrained the entire lodge staff to required standards of service delivery.
• The Lodge is in the final stage of constructing a steam bath and sauna facility, this will be a complementary for all stay in guests.
The new features and additions, is due to our continued desire to have new innovative ways of providing memorable guest experiences while staying with us.
Our keen interest in tracking trends in the tourism and hospitality industry has helped us develop a solution that answers the special needs of you our partner, some of these solutions include:
i. Increase customer satisfaction and ensure that we meet every detail of customer needs.
ii. In house gift shop / craft shop
iii. We accept major credit card company in the Lodge
iv. Free WIFI connection
v. Wine cellar bar and fine dining experience in our newly improved menu with a free glass of wine for every meal.
vi. Free coffee/tea making facility and hand hair dryer provisions in the deluxe and superior rooms.
vii. Lessons in playing Ugandan traditional music instruments while entertaining our guests.
1. We have also embarked on a more interactive information gathering and sharing through our social media platforms, we are on Facebook, Twitter , YouTube, Google+,My Space
LinkedIn and Trip Ad visor sites. We encourage you to share these sites with your clientele for them to have the opportunity to share their experiences.

Your satisfaction is our concern and we constantly request you to send us your feed back to enable us to strive to achieve the highest standard of customer satisfaction.

Kind regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2010

This was one of my favorite lodges that we stayed at. The staff was so warm and welcoming. The rooms were spacious and the food was delicious! We all really enjoyed the community tour where we were greeted by the locals who sang and danced for us. The setting is absolutely stunning. I cannot say enough good things about this place!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank bellaluc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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