When you arrive to the Gorilla Highlands region, you will experience positive, colorful, and exuberant vibes. The people, the forests, and the calm, impressive lakes are right at your fingertips. Then comes nightfall. A comfortable breeze turns into a hollow, howling wind. The vivid birds seem to die out, and […]

How to Survive the Night

Rolex in Slovenia
Our rolex recipe got published in Slovenske novice, the biggest Slovenian daily, a fortnight ago. This newspaper reaches over 300,000 people on an average day, so having a full page devoted to our speciality and the Gorilla Highlands project leader is a not a small deal. Every time we put the two […]

Gorilla Highlands Cooking in Slovenia

Uganda equator in Queen Elizabeth National Park; photo by Owen Bright
Uganda is following in the footsteps of Rwanda and Kenya by introducing online visa applications. The plan was announced on the Uganda Immigration website in December 2015 and the latest information is that the new arrangement will start on 1 June 2016. Keeping in mind how, without any prior announcement, […]

Avoid Uganda Visa Worries by Flying through Kigali

Mountain gorilla babies; photo by Dr. Jan Ramer, Gorilla Doctors
Female gorillas reach sexual maturity at 8 years. Before they become sexually active, they will normally leave their original troop and thus avoid inbreeding; inbred offspring can have crossed eyes and webbing between the fingers. Gorilla ladies are fertile for 1–3 days a month and often initiate contact; they can […]

How Gorillas Make Babies and Care for Them

Marc Ethienne Cuendet at Lake Bunyonyi, the Gorilla Highlands; photo by Miha Logar
Ever thought of travelling with a donkey? Marc Ethienne Cuendet, 26, once briefly tried it in Morocco and liked it so much that he bought Rafiki in Mubende and walked with her to Lake Bunyonyi! Their 35-day route went through Fort Portal, Kibale Forest and Ibanda; they avoided Queen Elizabeth […]

35 Days of Backpacking with a Donkey

The end of the paddle, Lake Bunyonyi; photo by Miha Logar
I only had three months… What can you even do with that amount of time? Some people who stay in great resorts and love spotless bathrooms with food service might have a hard time. The scrappy, adventurous and enduring backpacker will say that it just isn’t enough. It seems that […]

The Man with Answers (Volunteer Life Part V)

Shephard in the Gorilla Highlands; photo by Jiro Ose
When you consider trekking in the Gorilla Highlands of Uganda and Rwanda—towards our extraordinary mountain gorillas or through the dramatic cultural landscapes—you should free your mind first. There are many preconceptions that have to do with Africa and simply do not apply. How safe is Uganda? How safe is Rwanda? […]

Hiking in Surprising Africa: Free Your Mind

Gorilla Highlands in GoTraveling
GoTraveling is a Danish interactive magazine for phones and tablets running iOS or Android. We are happy to see our region featured in its latest issue, through the photos of Marcus Westberg, the man we interviewed on our blog last Friday. Another step on the way towards the Gorilla Highlands […]

Gorilla Highlands on Danish Tablets and Phones

Marcus Westberg's first time on Mt Sabinyo; photo by Jessica Magenwirth
In early 2012 the Gorilla Highlands team faced a photography crisis. We were making an interactive ebook and felt dismay browsing through our photo libraries. We just didn’t have enough decent material. That’s when Marcus Westberg emailed us and presented himself as a Swedish photographer working for National Geographic’s News Watch. With […]

Making a Difference with Photography

Mountain gorilla yawn; photo by Anna Behm Masozera, IGCP
Conflict between gorilla troops is rare, unlike chimpanzees and other monkeys, because they are not territorial. If two groups happen to meet there is a lot of chest-thumping, charging and other dramatic displays of dominance but rarely any physical contact. Avoidance is the main strategy. During such a meeting females may […]

When Silverbacks Kill Babies

Moment from Silverchef 2015 at Travellers Rest in Kisoro; photo by Jiro Ose
We are pleased to share with you the list of lodges and hotels that wish to send their chefs to the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef 2016 cooking competition. Coincidentally 16 is exactly the maximum number we had in mind based on the size of the Cephas Inn kitchen, our venue on […]

16 Gorilla Highlands Silverchef Candidates

Gorilla Highlands volunteer Katharina Lahner during a video shoot; photo by Marcus Westberg
At Red Rocks in Musanze we finalised an exciting arrangement today: Gorilla Highlands volunteers have got another home! If you would love to share with us your video, photography, social media, writing, app development, web or graphic design skills – or even talents that have nothing to do with multimedia […]

Volunteer with Us in Both Uganda and Rwanda

Mapping Musanze; photo by Miha Logar
We are in Musanze, Rwanda, mapping the town. Last November we started working with the map we found in the Lonely Planet East Africa guide and realised it was shockingly full of errors and omissions. This time we are beginning from scratch, putting information on a scheme of streets prepared […]

Mapping, Exploring, Adding Musanze

Sean Zweifler starring in the Dogout Canoeing Tutorial; video still by Hank Rugg
Your holiday on Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Chahafi, Lake Kayumbu, Lake Murehe or Lake Mutanda will be missing something if you don’t enter a canoe… Dugout canoeing is not as easy as it looks before you try it, nor as hard as it feels the first time you attempt it – […]

Canoeing Experts Eliminate the Mzungu Corkscrew

flame tree with a crested crane; photo by Ash Dumford
The tree called ekiko in Rukiga is usually known as flame tree but also red-hot poker tree or lucky bean tree in English. Its Latin name is Erythrina abyssinica. This tree is indigenous to the Gorilla Highlands and found in various other parts of the world, up to 2,000m above […]

Sacred and Cursed Tree

Jeremiah Byaharugo, traditional healer; photo by Marcus Westberg
Jeremiah Byaharugo, 73, practices traditional medicine in Rubona, a village on the ridge of a peninsula that points towards the centre of Lake Bunyonyi. He has been a Gorilla Highlands Trails partner for years and this relationship has allowed us special access. Please tell us about your family and education. […]

Going Deep with our Friend Traditional Healer

Gorilla in the Rain; photo by Molly Feltner
A silverback is an adult male gorilla, typically over 12 years old and named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on his back. They have large canine teeth that come with maturity. Silverbacks are the strong, dominant troop leaders but not all have this position; some may have never […]

Silverbacks, Blackbacks and the Harem

Pili Pili Rally car; photo by Miha Logar
Over the weekend the drivers racing on reddish murram roads of Kabale District were, for a change, not driving trucks of goods with scores of people surfing at the back. Their vehicles were actually intended to be pushed to the limit, and the inaugural Gorillas in the Mist Rally tested […]

Who is Jas Mangat, Gorillas in the Mist Champ?

Atop Mt Gahinga; photo by Yonah Okoth
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a hiker’s dream with its three climbable dormant volcanoes. The lowest among them is Mt Gahinga (3,474m/11,464ft), an offshoot of Mt Muhavura that is about 100,000 years old (that makes it the second youngest volcano) and after which the national park its named. This “pile […]

3 Reasons to Climb the Neglected Mt Gahinga

Gerald and Jackline Nizeyimana; photo by Miha Logar
The Gorilla Highlands Trails campsite at Lake Kayumbu is located on a cliff that belongs to Church of Uganda. That means periodical changes of the omushomesa (“teacher”/lay leader) family that hosts our hikers. In February our reliable partner Baker Tugume (see the video below) was transferred and a new couple […]

Meet New Trekking Hosts at Lake Kayumbu

Chef in front of Birdnest
A video visit to the kitchen of Birdnest Resort at Lake Bunyonyi completes a series of Gorilla Highlands Specialities. Chef Paul will show you how to prepare garlic baguette with guacamole, spring onion soup, garden salad with orange and lemon dressing, and deep-fried matooke with creamed spinach. RECIPE Garlic baguette […]

Watch the Making of a Superb Four-Course Meal

Streets of Kampala; photo by Ciril Jazbec
After many weeks of taking in the peaceful sanctuary of Lake Bunyonyi it was time to leave the nest… Just for a week though. I realised that I was getting very settled in with the region I’d been living in, and that I should experience more of Uganda. Katarina, my […]

Hot Hot Kampala (Volunteer Life Part IV)

Similarities between mountain gorillas and humans have many manifestations; photo by Molly Feltner
Researchers are often struck by gorillas’ apparent humanity. Taking into account our genetic similarities of 95% or above, there has been a long debate about how close humans and gorillas really are. The following summary is from the award-winning Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook: The mind of the gorilla has its […]

How Human are Gorillas?

Sandra Gray in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; photo by Marcus Westberg
Of the two ways to track golden monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the longer and deeper one exists because of the efforts of Sandra Gray. This former British nurse, now a primatologist, is so passionately committed to her monkeys that she cannot find peace in Europe anymore. Sandra and […]

Golden Monkey Lady

Lake Mutanda behind Kisoro calderas; photo by Blasio Byekwaso
This fictional “news item” was posted on 1 April 2016. It is a satire that touches on many topics but, above all, our preoccupation with tourists’ well-being while too many local lives are lost routinely. There is no monster, only a scary lack of swimming skills. If you want to […]

April Fools’ Day is Over

Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi, the Gorilla Highlands team base; photo by Miha Logar
It was hilarious to arrive at Lake Bunyonyi. I got out of the car around 10pm, and came down the large, stone steps with just a flashlight on my phone. It seemed like all there was to this place was a fairly big building for dinner, a kitchen, and some […]

Hilarious Arrival (Volunteer Life Part III)

Batwa next to Echuya Forest Reserve; photo by Marcus Westberg
The sad story of the Batwa “Pygmy” people of the Gorilla Highlands reached its crescendo with their expulsion from gorilla parks. But was that truly needed? An adapted excerpt from the award-winning Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook explains the background: Dian Fossey, the legendary researcher, was negative towards the Batwa, based on their […]

Why Did Gorilla Defenders Chase Batwa Away?

Crayfish of Lake Bunyonyi; video still by Hank Rugg
The third in our Gorilla Highlands Specialities series is crayfish curry, a treat from Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda. Watch/read more about: G-Nuts & Sweet Potatoes | Rolex http://gorillahighlands.com/Follow Best posts from the Gorilla Highlands blog: Top 3 Most Beautiful Lakes A Prince and a Comedian Describe the Bakiga 12 […]

Crayfish, Lake Bunyonyi’s Speciality

Gorilla Highlands Trails guides training - birds; photo by Miha Logar
The Gorilla Highlands idea has always been to convince travellers that our region is a destination by itself (not merely a gorilla stopover) and to assure that local communities benefit from tourism. The Gorilla Highlands Trails, a system of guided trips throughout southwestern Uganda, is the epitome of this. Hikers […]

Preparing for the Trekking Season

Sabinyo Gorge Walk; photo by Blasio Byekwaso
The most popular nature walk in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park leads into the luxuriant gorge deep under the steep slopes of Mt Sabinyo. It is totally comparable to volcano hiking, in duration (5-6 hours), beauty, and even difficulty. To make it a little easier, the Uganda Wildlife Authority team led […]

Into Sabinyo Gorge in a More Comfy Way