Tracking mountain gorillas is the highlight of any tourist’s visit to Western Uganda. Gorilla tracking in Uganda is possible in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. The activity is arduous enough on its own so if it’s on your to-do list, you will want a lodge that takes the headache out of things like hospitality, great food and comfortable accommodation.
Even though Uganda is currently under a 42-day lockdown, the tourism sector is allowed to operate under the following conditions:
All tourists must have confirmed bookings, travel under a licensed tour operator and must be driven by a licensed guide with a negative PCR certificate of no less than 48Hrs prior to starting the safari. Tourists must also have negative PCR tests certificates, confirmed bookings and permits where necessary and the approved itinerary of the tour operator. The tour operator must take full liability for any breach.
With that said, here are our pick of the top 10 Gorilla Lodges in Uganda
#1: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is a tranquil lodge located on the Nteko Ridge overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a mountain gorilla habitat. The place also overlooks the Kashasha River Valley, Virunga Volcanoes, and the Great Albertine Rift Valley. The Lodge, which is the ideal place to stay as you await trek the gorillas was named Uganda’s leading Safari Lodge at the World Travel Awards in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge has 9 residences divided into three two-bedroom family villas and six garden cottages. Each cottage features a bedroom, an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower and a living area with a fireplace and comfortable chairs to enjoy the golden fire glow. Lounge chairs on the outdoor verandas give the perfect vantage point to take in the constantly changing Bwindi views.
The Gorilla Lodge is a true African bush wonderland that lets the landscape do the showing off. All villa rooms have breathtaking views over the imposing Bwindi Forest, and the garden chalets soar above the Virunga Mountains range. Rounding out the experience are rickety walkways, dramatic black volcano rock finishing, and the constant natural freshness.
#2: Mount Gahinga Lodge
Mount Gahinga Lodge is the perfect base to go gorilla tracking on the Ugandan side of the Virungas. The property is inspired by traditional design and building techniques and has that timeless African charm. The luxurious bandas reflect the aesthetic magic of the Bufimbira, with their distinct colours. Each Banda has an ensuite luxury shower room, fireplace and private porch.
The place has premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus and personal butler service for all guests. It also has a direct private footpath with access to gorilla tracking in the National Park, Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge building and charging facilities available in each banda.
#3: Gorilla Safari Lodge.
Gorilla Safari Lodge is found at the edge of the thick, lush Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Southwest Uganda. This national park is home to wild gorillas, forest elephants and 23 species of bird endemic to the area. It is a 5-minute walk from the briefing point for trekking and makes it a much sought-after lodge for gorilla tracking safaris. There are plenty of activities on offer, including a visit to the Batwa pygmies, mountain biking and guided forest walks to the Bayenda Falls.
The rooms have solar-powered lighting, an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water and flush toilets. Each unit is designed to look like a stand-alone log cabin and blends in with the rainforest, ensuring that the lodge does not look out of place in its wild surroundings. Cobbled paths with wooden bannisters join the rooms, each named after gorillas or gorilla tribes. This remote lodge comprises 18 individual units (sleeping 45 in total) each with private wooden balconies overlooking the wilderness. 3 of these units are inter-leading rooms, making them ideal for families.
#4: Gorilla Heights Lodge.
Gorilla Heights Lodge, which is located in Nkuringo, Kisoro district in Southwestern Uganda is a blend of nature, modern architecture and pure luxury. The lodge offers the most breathtaking views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on one side and the Virunga ranges on the other and guarantees you proximity to the Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla families for a thrilling gorilla tracking experience. Gorilla Heights sits on a 12-acre piece of land with 15 luxurious cottages, a heated swimming pool and a spa with a sauna. The rooms are warmed up from the gas burners and electric heaters and are all ensuite, with in-door showers and freestanding bathtubs for a rejuvenating body soak after a long day of adventure. The bathtubs for the Deluxe cottages are fitted on the private balconies, giving guests opportunities to enjoy the bathtub in the open sky moments.
The Family and Deluxe cottages have modern in-built kitchens and dining spaces for guests to prepare their own meals. All living spaces are furnished with sofas, heaters, mini refrigerators and a 50-inch flat-screen television. All guests are assigned a personal attendant to cater to their every need. This allows for more intimate and bonding sessions with family and loved ones, surrounded by the luxury that only nature can give.
Children under the age of 6 years stay for free while Children between the ages of 6-18 years qualify for a 50% to 75% discount off the adult rate.
#5: Four Gorillas Lodge, Bwindi
The Four Gorillas Lodge in Bwindi Forest offers contemporary luxury while satisfying the human craving to become one with nature and fellow apes. The cottages are surrounded by dense forest and feature upscale elegance within a cosy homesteading. In this oasis of privacy, serenity and rejuvenation, there are no crowds, just Mountain Gorillas as well as the soothing sound of birds, and breathtaking views. Four Gorillas Lodge is close to the headquarters of the National Park, only 10 minutes away from the Gorilla tracking and briefing centre.
#6: Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Set on a forested ridge near the entrance to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge boasts of eight spacious cottages built from volcanic stone. Spectacular views stretch all the way to the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda, as well as across the border into the Congo, where the glow of Nyiragongo Volcano can be seen on a clear night.
Warm and welcoming, each cottage features a bedroom, ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower and separate lounge. Comfortable chairs on the outdoor verandas provide the perfect vantage point to the unforgettable vistas of the forest below. The lodge is situated within easy walking distance of the trail where guests can begin their gorilla trekking adventure.
#7: Chameleon Hill Lodge
Ah, the Chameleon Hill Lodge, this list would be incomplete without some mention of the colourful and eclectic lodge which is tucked away in the lush hills surrounding Lake Mutanda in Uganda. Lake Mutanda is located between Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the Virunga Mountains and is a region of forested mountain slopes and wetland ecosystems.
The Chameleon Hill Lodge comprises ten chalets, all with sweeping views of the lake, each with the lodge’s signature unique color scheme and furnished with handmade Euro-African style items. Common areas include a wooden deck, modern lounge with fireplace, and a library.
During your stay, you can track mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, take to the water for boating excursions or get to know local families and communities with immersive cultural activities. Plenty of hiking is available outside of gorilla treks, too, for the active traveller.
#8: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
This lodge is one of the finest gorilla lodges at Bwindi with views of the forest canopy across a serene stream. Overlooking the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Volcanoes Bwindi Adventure Lodge offers a truly unique Uganda gorilla safari experience. Separated by nothing more than an idyllic stream, the gorillas themselves are frequent visitors to the lodge.
The lodge has 9 bandas and a personal butler service for all guests. Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge building and charging facilities available in each banda. The lodge’s award-winning Bwindi Bar is stylish, colourful and features an assortment of premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus.
#9: Mahogany Springs Lodge
Mahogany Springs is located in the northern part of Bwindi National Park in the southwest of Uganda. The park is famed for its 11 habituated gorilla groups that you can trek to. Like other properties in the vicinity of Bwindi, Mahogany Springs is just up the road from both the park headquarters (where you go before your gorilla trek) and the small town of Bwindi.
The main area of Mahogany Springs is cosy yet spacious. It is all built of wood and the main area combines a dining area, a large veranda, a bar and a curio shop. The décor is warm and colourful. The rooms are located off a stoned pathway, through beautiful gardens and the forest in the background. The property is quiet and spacious, offering a very relaxing stay.
There are a couple of different room categories at Mahogany Springs. The superior suites can be twin, double or triple and offer ensuite bathrooms with a private terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding forest. There is also a presidential suite which is good for families. The two bedrooms interconnect and a lounge area are provided. The final room type is the honeymoon suite which is similar to the superior suite but has a few extras, such as a larger bed and a bathtub.
#10: Buhoma Lodge
Buhoma Lodge is one of only two lodges situated within the Bwindi National Park itself and is a short walking distance from the meeting point for gorilla tracking and other activities in the area.
Eight comfortable cottages have been carefully built from local materials and each suite has a private verandah and enormous windows, allowing guests spectacular views of the forest canopy and the Park. The lounge area, complete with bar and dining facilities, offers a cosy place to discuss the day’s activities.
Inside the spacious cottages, you will find comfortable beds, a well-appointed en suite bathroom with a flushing toilet and a hot shower. Meals are freshly prepared from local produce, offering a balance of international and local cuisine. Hot beverages are available throughout the day on a self-service basis, but morning tea or coffee is brought to your cottage, allowing you to savour the early morning sounds of the forest as it awakens.