Mountain gorillas are resident of Bwindi forest situated in the fur south western sector of Uganda. They are one of the highly protected primates in the world recognized by UNESCO. About 400 mountain gorillas are thought to be existing in Bwindi forest National Park as of the year 2011 census. Gorilla trekking is the main activity in this park which starts as early as 8.30 am with briefing from the ranger guide. Bwindi forest National Park is partitioned into two sectors that is to say the Northern Sector and Southern Bwindi Sector. Each sector has Gorilla families but Uganda Wildlife Authority allows only 8 clients to trek the gorillas each day because the gorillas are habituated to be in the presence of humans atleast for one hour.
Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi forest National park are grouped into families lead by a dominant silverback. Bwindi forest has about 10 gorilla families opened for tourism but each family is located in any of the 4 sectors that is to say Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Nkuringo sector and Rushaga sector. Rushegura gorilla group, Habinyanja gorilla group and Mubare gorilla group are found in Buhoma sector of Bwindi, Nshongi, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza and Mishaya gorilla families are found in Rushaga sector and Nkuringo gorilla family found in Nkuringo sector.
Gorilla trekking can only be possible after purchasing a gorilla permit at $ 600 in Uganda. After securing a permit, you must keep yourself fit at least 2 months to commencement of your gorilla trek safari date. You must note that Mountain gorillas live in a volcanic area so because of there unpredictable movements as they search for food, the ranger guide leads the entire group to where they were seen the previous day which may be on the slopes of the ridges or up a highlands or at the bottom of the valley so some level of fitness is highly advantageous.
You must pack the right clothes for your gorilla trekking tour to have a comfortable stay in the forest like garden gloves, long trousers, rain jacket or poncho, tracking boots, long sleeved shirt, energy bites to mention but a few. In case some of your items are quite heavy for you to proceed with, it is very advisable to hire a porter from the ranger station.
Bwindi Forest National Park is partitioned into two sectors that are the major gorilla trekking areas. The northern and southern sector are currently the renowned gorilla trekking areas but you must be aware of which sector you area you have been booked into for your trek in order to book your accommodation.
Gorilla trekking involves the hassle of finding information about which accommodation is suitable for your budget. All kinds of accommodations can be booked in advance of travel or upon arrival. Options available are luxury, Midrange and Budget accommodation but you need to know which gorilla trekking family you are trekking to avoid waking up very early to drive there. It is better to book accommodation close to the family which you are going to trek.
Engage lodge stands closer to one of the rivers that water Bwindi forest. It has a perfect phographic view of the forest. Each of its cottages is en suite and through out glass front view, one can enjoy the forest view even when in the room. To get to its reception, clients need to take a short but enjoyable walk through the green wild well trimmed plants. It is also close to the main briefing pont of Buhoma side of Bwindi National park
Ruhija Gorilla Lodge Ruhija Gorilla Lodge provides a stunning view of Bwindi the renowned impenetrable forest canopy. The lodge is elevated in the middle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, providing unparallel luxury accommodation. Inside it has en suite rooms with stunning decor designed to blend in with the natural environment accompanied by comfortable beds, beautiful furnishings,. Since Bwindi is known for its cold environment it has a provisional for both hot and cold running water. As you lay down to rest, you listen to the calls and hymns of the jungle.
Clouds Lodge Clouds lodge is one of the super luxury lodges in Bwndi National park in particular Nkuringo side It has 8 spacious en suite natural stone rooms. Its wide and cozy reception area provides chance to clients to feel at home even before checking into there respective rooms. It has a gift shop well stocked bar and six fireplaces positioned in different centers of the lodge to keep guests warm. Its compound area is a stunning and makes you feel comfortable especially after a strenuous gorilla trek.
Buhoma Lodge Buhoma lodge is exclusive lodge crafted in African architecture and situated in Buhoma side. With its 8 well placed and spacious cottages, the lodge faces the thick green Bwindi jungle. For safety, the lodge is clearly surrounded by a natural enclosure of plants that attract a number of birds to its compound. The cottages are spacious with large beds, bath room, flashing toilet. A hot chimney warms and emits a glowing light and warms the lodge. Its comfortable lounge, bar and dining area gives you the chance to relax and discuss the day’s events.
Volcanoes Bwindi Camp This is nestled close to the park entrance with a clear view of Bwindi forest. It has spacious and airy en suite cottages well styled with local art and products displaying African Architecture. Each room has a window that gives a clear view of the enormous forest. Each room is en suite and a communal camp fire is light every evening to warm the night. The lodge has central dining, lounge and bar sit beneath papyrus cover providing guests with a perfect place to relax in the evenings after a long tiresome gorilla trekking day..
Gorilla Forest Camp Placed close to the Gorilla trekking starting point in Buhoma side, Gorilla forest Camp stands up one of the hills of Bwindi. Its location gives you the chance of enjoying the cool breeze of the forest. It is composed of 8 luxury tented double rooms, each with two queen sized beds, a private wooden deck and a bathtub with view of the forest. To keep warm, a camp fire burns every evening. At times, it is visited by Rushegura gorilla family giving you a second chance to interact with the gorillas.
Nkuringo Gorilla Camp
Nkuringo Gorilla Camp,over looks the famous Virunga mountains and it is on the side of Nteko Ridge on the out skirts of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It has well designed cottages with clear views of the Rift Valley. Its restaurant serves a wide range of dishes made with local but upgraded touch. On a clear day, there are chances of the Rwenzori Glacier over 160 km in the distance.
Lake Kitandara Tented Camp Lake Kitanda Tented Camp is located a few meters away from the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It has a beautiful view of the forest canopy and a number of birds roam around its compound. There is central lounge where visitors relax on arrival before checking into each individual tent. It has a common dinning are and after a tiresome gorilla trek, client relax at the campfire to share stories of the day and the past experiences.
Buhoma Community Bandas Buhoma Community Bandas is a budget facility run by the local community in Bwindi National park. It offers traditional “bandas” clearly built using local and natural materials. Lodging consists of several buildings with rooms accommodating between two to six people. Bathroom facilities are shared, bedding is provided, and hot water is available for showers. Buhoma restaurant serves hot and cold beverages and freshly cooked local cuisine giving guests a true taste of Uganda.
Wagtail Eco lodge
Wag tail lodge is located in the southern part of Bwindi National park close to the briefing point of Nshongi and Nkuringo gorilla trekking families. It is well crafted out of African material designed to conserve nature while using it sustainably. It has a restaurant and bar where a number of meal options are served. From its compound, one can get a clear view of Virunga volcanoes and Rwanda Congo boarder with Uganda.