The eco-friendly Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge boasts wonderful views over the thick vegetation of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is a peaceful base for superb gorilla tracking and walks through the forest. The lodge offers full board accommodation in tasteful stone and thatch ‘bandas’ with comfortable beds, solar electricity and en-suite bucket showers.
The lodge’s main drawcard is its conveniently close proximity to the four habituated gorilla groups in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorillas occasionally frequent the lodge itself, giving guests some memorable effortless viewing. The lodge reduces its environmental footprint through the use of solar power and controlled water consumption, whilst retaining high levels of comfort. The bandas all have terraces with wonderful views over a verdant valley, and the communal areas also jut out over the forest, getting guests up close with primates and colourful birds. In addition to gorilla viewing, the lodge offers village walks, Batwa Pygmy excursions and tours of a local farming project.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is set on the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley in the corner of southwest Uganda. It is a World Heritage Site covering an area of dense lowland forest, steep hills and deep valleys. It and has become famous for its population of 350 mountain gorillas – the largest number to be found anywhere in the world. Due to the wildness of the terrain, visitors sometimes find the the gorilla treks tough going, but will be rewarded with virtually guaranteed sightings of these awe-inspiring primates.
The Bwindi Forest is one of the only forests to have survived the Pleistocene ice age, and has become a renowned biodiversity hotspot, harbouring 11 other primate species (including chimpanzees), elephants, forest antelope, around 350 bird species and over 200 species of dazzling butterflies. The thick vegetation of the park is broken up by sparkling lakes, waterfalls and the dramatic Virunga mountain range, which can be explored along several spectacular hiking trails traversing the extinct volcanic peaks.
The Batwa Pygmies have called Bwindi home for thousands of years, and the short-statured tribe are not only the keepers of the forest’s mystical secrets, but also entrancing storytellers and dancers.
Blending naturally into its surroundings, the thatched lodge is spread out across a densely foliaged hillside that boasts splendid views over the forest and a deep valley. The interiors are tastefully decorated with ethnic accents, while modern comforts ensure a relaxed atmosphere. The main area include a bar, dining room and lounge with beautiful views over the landscape, and the vistas are even better from the cool verandah, where the lodge’s hearty cuisine can often be enjoyed. A well-appointed spa is tucked away in the forest, creating an idyllic setting for soothing massages and treatments. The outdoor campfire is the perfect place to wrap up your day in the wilderness.
Each of the eight spacious bandas is privately situated and boasts an indoor and outdoor seating area, plush double or twin beds and a rustic bathroom with amenities. Cribs can be added to all of the rooms for travellers with young children.
Waking up to a symphony of bird song and primate calls, guests will head outside to be greeted by a wonderful sunrise lighting up an often mist-strewn forest. A wholesome breakfast is served at the forest-facing main area, before you head out for a wonderful morning spent walking through the jungle to find Bwindi’s most famous inhabitants. The gorillas can be viewed at exceptionally close quarters, with youngsters swinging playfully through the branches, dignified adults munching on vegetation and juveniles play-fighting with each other. Alternatively, you can ask your guide to take you on walks to some of the beautiful waterfalls deep in the forest.
For a taste of the local culture, request a trip to a local village or a fascinating walk with the Batwa Pygmies, or head to the Amagara Farming Projects to see where the lodge gets most of its fresh produce in support of the local communities.