The endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park bear a striking resemblance to us humans. There’s nothing more humbling than getting up close and personal with these dark-furred primates in their natural habitat within the ancient montane forests of Bwindi. The tropical and verdant vegetation of Bwindi carpets a dormant volcano, which gives rise to a topography of deep mist-filled valleys and lofty hills. This remarkable jungle kingdom is home to the famous mountain gorillas, colourful birdlife, rare forest elephants and a range of reptiles. But the most prominent species in the area is the primate. Between the gnarled vines and lush ferns, there dwells a variety of primates that include the black-and-white colobus monkey, Ugandan red colobus monkey, blue monkey and golden monkey; to name a few.
There are plenty of gorilla trekking lodges in Uganda tucked away in the cool valleys surrounding the Bwindi. Some of these lodges are a short 5 minute walk from the briefing point for gorilla trekking and others boast panoramic almost-aerial views of the terrain. There are lodges that are rustic, and some offer more of a luxury experience. What they all have in common is that they serve as the base for guided gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest.
It’s up to you to choose your hideaway, but where do you start when selecting your gorilla trekking lodge in Uganda? You need to consider a number of factors, with the most important factor being whether you are an early riser or not! The morning treks start early, so if you’re not an early morning person then please book a lodge close to the starting point of the trek. Choosing your base at Bwindi really is down to personal preference.
Gorilla Safari Lodge
Gorilla Safari Lodge is located a 5 – 8 minute walk from the briefing point for gorilla trekking, making it a sought after lodge in the area. Banana and guava trees cocoon the 18 bedroomed lodge, and in the distance there are views of the forest jungle below. Winding paths and intricate walkways join the rooms, lined by bright green vegetation and colourful flowers. It’s a simple lodge with enough luxury to keep you happy, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
Each chalet has its own private balcony offer perfect viewing points of the bold surrounds. After an arduous day of trekking, guests can return to their chalets and relax in the deep set bath. The main area of the lodge has a relaxation lounge, dining area and small bar. During your stay you’ll be introduced to local fare and great Ugandan coffee !
There are plenty of activities on offer, which include visits to the Batwa pygmies, mountain biking, guided community walks and forest walks to the Bayenda Falls. There are actually 23 species of bird endemic to the area, a few of which can be spotted from the comfort of the lodge.
Buhoma Lodge is located on the edge of the forest and is built using materials sourced from the natural environment. It’s an eco-friendly lodge offering 10 chalets, each perfectly positioned to take in the mind-blowing views of Uganda’s untouched forests. It goes without saying that each chalet has its own balcony to take advantage of the scenic wonder on your doorstep. After a long day of trampling through the dense jungle forests, guests can return to chalets to enjoy a rain shower or soak in a hot tub. Of course, one of the the highlights of staying at Buhoma is the complimentary post-trek pampering massage.
For guests that want to socialise after their trekking experience, we recommend they head to the elevated bar and lounge area. It’s the perfect place to relax after a trip through the jungle and it’s where dinner is served. Like most gorilla trekking lodges in Uganda, Buhoma offers a full spectrum of jungle-based activities. Such activities include forest walks, birding at the lodge, community walks, visits to the Batwa people, curio shopping and visits to the Bwindi Community Hospital that forms part of the social responsibility program at Buhoma.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
This is the ideal lodge for adventurers looking to add an element of luxury to their gorilla trekking safari. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp also happens to be located inside the Bwindi Forest within a private concession. It is situated in one of the most remote locations in the world and is right at the briefing point for trekking.
This camp is contemporary and classic, yet ecologically sound; and is definitely the luxury option for gorilla trekkers. 8 exclusive canvas tents furnished with unique decor and local artefacts, provides the perfect hideaway in Uganda. Each tent has its own free-standing bath ideal for a long soak after your time in the jungle. The views from the tents are spectacular, and it’s not uncommon to see gorilla families visiting the camp itself.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is also located at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and sits comfortably on a heavily forested ridge. Clouds us yet another luxury option for gorilla trekking accommodation in Uganda. There are only 8 cottages at Clouds, each carefully built from volcanic stone. Sweeping views extend all the way to the volcanoes of Rwanda, and hilly landscapes cocoon the lodge. It is quite possible to see the flickering glow of the Nyiragongo Volcano when the mist has lifted and its a pristine night outside.
Each of the stone cottages have their own private lounge, complete with large comfy chairs and fireplaces. The outdoor verandahs provide an extra area of relaxation for after your tricky trek to find the gorillas. On top of the trekking experience guests can enjoy guided forest walks, birdwatching expeditions and even community visits.
The cherry on the top? Apparently the homemade cakes are exceptional !
Uganda truly is a destination that has “grown up” within the past few years, ensuring that funds from tourists for gorilla trekking are poured back into conserving these rare primates.