Mgahinga NP (Uganda)
The smallest, but possibly greatest, of Uganda’s national parks boasts three Virunga volcanoes: Muhavura (4,127m/13,540ft) with a lake at the top, Mount Gahinga (3,474m/11,398ft) with a swamp-filled crater, and Sabinyo (3,669m/11,959ft) where three countries meet.
If you track mountain gorillas here you are a member of a special club. One habituated gorilla group means only eight visitors per day.
• tracking of endangered golden monkeys
• the Batwa Trail (p11)
• hiking into Sabinyo Gorge, to all volcanoes and more
• ACTIVITIES IN MGAHINGA NP •
• gorilla tracking: foreign visitors USD 600; foreign residents USD 500; East Africans UGX 250,000*
• golden monkey tracking: foreigners USD 50; East Africans UGX 20,000
• golden monkey tracking – research group: foreigners USD 100; East Africans UGX 100,000
• volcano climbing: foreigners USD 80; East Africans UGX 50,000*
• Sabinyo Gorge and other nature walks: foreign visitors USD 30; foreign residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 15,000
• Batwa Trail: foreigners USD 80; East Africans UGX 50,000*
Park entry costs USD 40 for non-residents, USD 30 for residents and UGX15,000 for East Africans. Children (5-15 years) pay USD 20 if they are non-residents, USD 10 if they are residents and UGX5,000 if they are from East Africa. School groups are charged UGX2,500 per student.
* Activities with an asterix include park entry fees
• ACCOMMODATION AT MGAHINGA NP •
Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp
Right at the national park entrance, Amajambere is an outstanding base to explore Mgahinga. Our restaurant has a central fireplace while cottages offer dorms (USD 10), singles (USD 25), twins (USD 40) or doubles (USD 40). Camping from USD 6.
+256 774 954 956, +256 782 306 973
Volcanoes NP (Rwanda)
Volcanoes National Park shares three volcanoes with Mgahinga and adds two more: Karisimbi (4,507m/14,787ft) and Bisoke (3,711m/12,175ft). It has 10 habituated mountain gorilla groups.
Additional things to do:
• golden monkey tracking
• climbing Karisimbi (2 days), Gahinga and Muhavura (can be combined into 2 days) or Bisoke
• trekking to the former Karisoke Research Centre to visit the grave of Dian Fossey, the famous researcher who popularised mountain gorilla tracking and died as a conservation martyr
• ACTIVITIES IN VOLCANOES NP •
• gorilla tracking: USD 1500
• golden monkey tracking: foreign visitors USD 100; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000
• Mt Bisoke climb (3,711m/12,175ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000
• Mt Muhavura climb (4,127m/13,500ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 100; foreign residents USD 75; East Africans USD 60; Rwandans RWF 5,000; students RWF 3,000
• Mt Gahinga climb (3,474m/11,400ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000
• Mt Karisimbi climb (4,507m/14,787ft), a two-day trip: foreign visitors USD 400; foreign residents USD 250; East Africans USD 200; Rwandans RWF 30,000; students RWF 15,000
• Mt Gahinga (3,474m/11,400ft) + Mt Muhavura climb, a two-day trip: foreign visitors USD 200; foreign residents USD 165; East Africans USD 130; Rwandans RWF 20,000; students RWF 10,000
• Dian Fossey Tomb visit; foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 60; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000
• Lake Ngezi hike and other nature walks, a 4-hour trip: foreign visitors USD 55; foreign residents USD 45; East Africans USD 35; Rwandans RWF 3,500; students RWF 2,000
• Iby’Iwacu cultural village visit
Virunga NP (DR Congo)
The oldest national park in Africa has staggering environmental variety: from the Virungas through the savannah up to the permanent snow on the Mountains of the Moon i.e. the Rwenzoris (5,109 metres/16,762 ft). It includes Sabinyo, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno (4,437m/14,560ft), Nyamuragira (3,058m/10,031) and Nyiragongo (3,470m/11,400ft). Tourists can visit six mountain gorilla groups here.
• climbing the active Nyiragongo volcano and spending a night there
• chimp habituation walk
• Tchegera Island overnight (Lake Kivu)
Bwindi NP (Uganda)
The steep valleys and high ridges of Africa’s oldest rainforest hide much more than just mountain gorillas. Some of the highlights of different Bwindi gates:
• Buhoma: most accessible gorillas, nature walk to three waterfalls, Batwa Experience, tour of the groundbreaking Bwindi Community Hospital
• Nkuringo: spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes, Buniga Forest Walk
• Ruhija: nature walk to the bamboo zone or the big swamp that gave Bwindi its name, best birding
• Rushaga: largest number of habituated gorilla groups, the longer gorilla habituation experience, Batwa Forest Experience, occasional visits of elephants
• ACTIVITIES IN BWINDI NP •
• gorilla tracking (non-residents USD 600; residents USD 500; East Africans UGX 250,000)*
• gorilla habituation experience (non-residents USD 1,500; residents USD 1,000; East Africans UGX 750,000)*
• nature walks (non-residents USD 30; residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 10,000)
Park entry costs USD 40 for non-residents, USD 30 for residents and only UGX15,000 for East Africans. Children (5-15 years) pay 20 if they are non-residents, USD 10 if they are residents and UGX5,000 if they are from East Africa. School groups are charged merely UGX2,500 per student.
* Activities with an asterix include park entry fees
• ACCOMMODATION AROUND BWINDI NP •
This exclusive eco lodge situated adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in the central sector of the park close to where gorilla tracking begins offers top quality services and accommodation. Spectacular, uninterrupted views of the pristine rainforest canopy from the ten beautifully appointed and spacious (including one honey-moon suite) individual natural wooded cottages with private verandas situated along the forested hillside.
Rates dependent upon season and resident status – doubles/twins from USD 170-350, singles from USD 200-460 on full board basis including house drinks. Meals are wholesome, multiple courses, freshly prepared with a variety of international dishes and local specialties also available.
Unlimited hot beverages are available all day on a self-serve basis and are delivered to your cottage with early morning wake up calls. Cosy fireplaces provide warmth and comfort in the cool evenings in the main area where guests can relax, dine and discuss the day’s events in this intimate and friendly lodge.
Packaged gorilla viewing tours including internal flights and road transfers combined with accommodation are also available for guests.
+256 772 721 155, +256 414 321 479 email@example.com
Gorilla Friends Lodge
Guest house primarily catering for budget travellers, researchers, and volunteers, located on the main road in Buhoma trading centre. Prices from USD 25 (single) to 80 (self-contained twin FB). Hot showers available.
+256 782 822 043, +256 752 600 960
Mahogany Springs Luxury Lodge
A high-end lodge in Buhoma with stunning views of the Bwindi rainforest and surrounding areas, located in beautiful gardens set back on a stream.
The perfect balance of luxury, privacy, location and top levels of service ensures our Paradise in the Mist has no equal – do your gorilla tracking in style!
No.2 Worldwide Unforgettable Honeymoon Destination and recommended safari lodge as named by the Huffington Post. Prices start at USD 240 person per night, full board.
Nkuringo Guest House
Located in the heart of Nkuringo Trading Centre yet sheltered and private, our brand-new guest house overlooks the impenetrable forest of Bwindi and Virunga Volcanoes on the other side.
We have 12 en-suite rooms (USD 35 HB/USD 50 FB) and serve delicious meals. A standby generator is at your disposal. Quality service is our prestige!
+256 782 193 135, +256 787 484 466
We are a social enterprise founded by people passionate for Uganda who share the vision of inclusive eco- tourism; we invite you to check out both our tailor- made safaris and the forest-edge lodge!
The Agandi Eco-lodge is found on the hills of Ruhija, with a 180° view over the chain of volcanoes and the primary forest, only a few minutes from the gorilla tracking point. All our types of accommodation are made with local materials and with the know-how of Ruhija people: 3 family cottages, 2 tree nests, 2 traditional Ugandan huts and 1 large camping platform with grass roofs.
Also available: campfire, barbecue and dining, relaxing area, hammocks, yoga, massage and free wifi. Prices of cottages start at USD 150 and of camping at USD 20 (tents and sleeping bags available).
+256 393 241 250
Gorilla Valley Lodge
Hidden in a beautiful valley close to Rushaga, with fantastic panoramic views of Bwindi, this is a lodge to fall in love with. Our place from which you can trek any of the Gorilla groups in the southern sector of the park is also reasonably priced: a double on a full-board basis starts at USD 170.
+256 392 177 992, +256 777 820 071
Ideally situated just 5 minutes walking distance from the UWA meeting point, this environmentally friendly accommodation is the perfect base for visiting the many gorilla groups in Rushaga.
Guests stay in cosy and clean traditional bandas right at the boundary of the forest, in a nice garden full of flowers. Perfect place for birdwatching. The kitchen serves delicious local food. The generator operates from 7-10pm. Camping USD 4, dorm USD 8, bandas from USD 16.
+256 774 231 913
Rushaga Gorilla Camp
Built on 6 acres of land bordering Bwindi, Rushaga Gorilla Camp is providing great accomodation with all rooms having a private deck and ensuite bathrooms, fireplace and 24-hr service. Massage available. Visa, MasterCard and American Express accepted.
The lodge is 10 minutes’ walk away from the gorilla tracking starting point. Its location on a mountain slope guarantees nice vistas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and of a spring where elephants occasionally come down for a drink. Camping with own gear from USD 15; Standard Rooms from USD 80 B&B; Luxury tents from USD 110B&B.
+256 774 633 331, +256 752 409 510