Bwindi is home to 340 mountain gorillas, just over half the world’s population of this critically endangered ape. The gorillas are completely wild but have become used to seeing a few humans after years off 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. There are currently nine habituated mountain gorilla groups open to tourism:
• Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura near Buhoma
• Bitukura and Oruzogho near Ruhija
• Nkuringo, Mishaya, Nshongi and Kahugye in Bwindi South.
Tracking through dense forest with steep slopes means that participants do need to be physically fit. Once the gorillas are located, you spend a maximum of one hour with them before returning back to camp. Please note only children aged 15 and above can track gorilla. Guests taking part in this activity must have a permit.
Adventure, enchantment and ‘Luxury, naturally’ - all delivered with a quiet, understated charm and understanding of place – is the guiding philosophy of Sanctuary Retreats and one of our most secluded camps, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is nestled deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda, home to almost half the world’s last surviving mountain gorillas.
Overlooking the primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Bwindi Lodge is the finest gorilla lodge at Bwindi. With dramatic intense views of the forest canopy across a serene stream, it is one of Africa’s unique lodges. The property has dramatic views of the impenetrable forest and is a great place to spot the monkeys and birds hidden in the foliage. It is being transformed and will be completed in 2020 to feature 2 deluxe bandas, upgraded standard bandas and a new dining room.
Please note: activities described are an example of what might happen from day to day. local climatic and other conditions occasionally dictate changes to this in order for our guests to have the best possible chances of seeing desirable species. Adaptations to these activities can also be made on request where this is required for specialised group bookings. Each group of guests has two opportunities to track gorillas.
Gorilla viewing protocol is based on the guidelines issued by the IUCN for great ape viewing. Protocols are designed specifically to limit stress and behavioural impact and also potential disease transmission from humans to gorillas. They are critical for gorilla conservation.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in the southwest corner of Uganda. The park is 331 square kilometres and impresses with a truly theatrical landscape and bio-diversity – this is a region of volcanoes, jagged valleys, waterfalls, lakes and dramatic mountain ranges. Birders come thousands of miles to see the more than 350 species that live within the area.
There are also rare forest elephant, giant forest hog and eleven kinds of primates, including red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzee. You can also find forest duiker antelopes and bush buck antelopes, as well as over 200 species of butterflies.