Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Once-in-a-lifetime encounters with Uganda’s endangered gorillas await when you stay in one of these eight private luxury tents in the heart of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Ecologically respectful, contemporary-yet-classic in style, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp blends in sensitively with the dramatic African mountain landscape and, situated uniquely inside the national park, you are only minutes away from the start of your gorilla trekking adventure.

Located in one of the remotest areas of Africa, these comfortable canvas spaces are dressed with indigenous prints and furniture made from natural materials. Beds are draped in neutral-toned linens, and local artefacts set a scene that ensures memorable moments both inside and out the accommodation. Each tent has a spacious, stone-walled bathroom with private sections, and a free-standing bath for a relaxing soak after a day’s trekking. The trees around the camp light up in the morning when the sun starts shining, and thanks to there being so few tents, the camp retains an intimate, exclusive feel, enabling you to experience Africa’s magic with the lightest of footprints yet with practically every mod con.

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp’s communal area stars a comfortable lounge with a well-stocked bar and elegant dining area, bestowing great views over the verdant rainforest. Come dusk, under star-strewn skies, and accompanied by the night-chorus, guests gather around the central campfire and swap stories of that day’s adventures. Mealtimes lend a taste of the destination: expertly prepared dishes promise simple flavours and showcase fresh local ingredients — try traditional smoked beef in peanut sauce served with Kalo (millet bread). Candlelit alfresco dining is also available on your tent’s private deck.

Luxury Tented Rooms

Located in one of the remotest areas of Africa, these comfortable canvas spaces are dressed with indigenous prints and furniture made from natural materials. Beds are draped in neutral-toned linens, and local artefacts set a scene that ensures memorable moments both inside and out the accommodation. Each tent has a spacious, stone-walled bathroom with private sections, and a free-standing bath for a relaxing soak after a day’s trekking. The trees around the camp light up in the morning when the sun starts shining, and thanks to there being so few tents, the camp retains an intimate, exclusive feel, enabling you to experience Africa’s magic with the lightest of footprints yet with practically every mod con.

ACTIVITIES 

Gorilla Trekking

The gorillas are completely wild but have become used to seeing a few humans after years of habituation. Many of the expert guides have been involved in this process since the beginning and are able to explain the complicated etiquette involved in meeting a giant silverback. This is an opportunity afforded only to a select few, as just eight visitors are allowed to view each group every day. Tracking through dense forest with steep slopes means that participants do need to be physically fit to enjoy the track. Once the gorillas are located, spend a maximum of one hour with them before returning back to camp. Please note only children aged 15 and above can track gorilla.

A tracking permit must be bought in advance in person in Bwindi.

Batwa Tribe Experience

Learn about and interact with the local Batwa People. This full day activity involves a three hour walk followed by about an hour spent with the Batwa. The walk back to camp is two hours. The visit includes a music performance, visitation by the goddess, hunting and gathering demonstration and an opportunity to see how they live. The Twa tribe who are also known as the Batwa are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. They speak the same language as the Hutu and Tutsi groups of Rwanda. Like most of the tribes in Africa, they have moved from place to place and are now found in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and eastern portions of the DRC. Statistics show that by the year 2000 their numbers were approximately 80,000 people, making them a significant minority group in these countries. The first records of the Batwa were made by the Egyptians over 4,000 years ago. They described them as short statured people living near the “Mountains of the Moon” extolling their abilities as dancers and story tellers.

Community Walk

Bwindi is surrounded on the Buhoma side by the Bakiga community and the Batwa people community. The walk takes about two hours and begins with a stroll through a small tea farming project. Here you can stop to meet the tea pickers and perhaps even learn how to pluck tea leaves along the way. Then visit a local beer brewery and see how they mash bananas to make a fermented brew which is mixed and distilled to make banana beer – a popular local drink in the area. From here walk a short distance to the local hospital which Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp supports through various projects. Learn about how it started and the work they do for the community. Continue your walk to a nearby village and visit a traditional medicine man. The knowledge of using herbs for healing has been passed on from generation to generation and he will show you some of the herbs that grow in the forest and talk about how they are used. Later, relax and enjoy a performance by the Batwa community before returning to the camp.

Birding Walk

Bwindi boasts over 350 bird species, including 24 that are endemic to these highlands straddling Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo – the so-called the “Albertine Rift Endemics”. For keen birders, we can arrange for a local expert to guide you on a fascinating 2-3 hour walk through the park.

Forest Walk

Bwindi is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a spectacular place to visit. In addition to the gorillas, Bwindi is also home to rare forest elephants, giant forest hogs and eleven kinds of primates, such as red tailed and blue monkeys, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzees. You can also find forest duiker antelopes, bush buck antelopes and over 200 species of butterflies. We can offer a guided forest walk on the Munyaga waterfall trail. This trail starts from the Park office and ends at the magnificent Munyaga waterfall. The walk to and from the waterfall takes about three hours and is a good way to practice or cool down a day before or after the gorilla tracking.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Drives

While staying at Gorilla Forest Camp guests are able to venture out on game drives to Ishasha, located in the south of the well known Queen Elizabeth National Park popular for its tree climbing lions, savanna elephants, buffaloes, topi, hippos, various bird species, warthogs and the occational leopard.

The Ishasha Sector is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions. The Lions are normally seen lazily lying within the branches of the huge fig trees staring down at the numerous Uganda Kobs grazing in the open Ishasha plains. This is usually a full day outing where guests are able to stop for lunch at the hippo pool. Departure is 6:30 in the morning.

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