How do you feel about symbolically reconnecting Bwindi and Mgahinga, two parts of an ancient forest, as you camp on a gorgeous tiny island on Lake Mutanda? You will experience a famous caldera, visit a coffee producer and get served fantastic restaurant meals.
• Sagitwe caldera climbing
• taste of the local coffee culture
• sleeping at Gahiza Island Retreat (previously known as Mutanda Island Lodge)
• relaxing motorboat ride on Lake Mutanda
• hiking through the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
• exceptional restaurant meals
duration: 3 days; difficulty: moderate
starting point: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Buhoma (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park)
area: Mgahinga NP – Kisoro – Lake Mutanda – Nkuringo – Bwindi NP
departures: daily at 9am
Price: USD 310 per person (2 people minimum)
Includes everything during the trek (guiding, activities, tented accommodation, meals, snacks and water). It does not include Bwindi park fees (up to USD 70 pp), transport from Buhoma or accommodation there.
Mgahinga – Bwindi Itinerary (can be reversed)
We will begin at your Mgahinga lodge and hike down to Kisoro Town through volcanic rural areas, climb the Sagitwe caldera and walk past the first settlement of the church missionaries at Mabungo Hill.
Coffee Pot Cafe in the middle of Kisoro is owned by a German lady who makes excellent food. After lunch you will take about three hours to reach Lake Mutanda, visiting a coffee farming family on the way. Because the coffee tour comes with expert guidance and pretty views you will appreciate it even if you aren’t a coffee drinker!
A short boat ride will bring you to a small island in the south of the lake; pregnant unmarried girls were traditionally left here as a punishment. With loads of rabbits on the island you won’t be surprised by what comes on the plate. (Vegetarian options available too, of course.)
The main accommodation solution is camping, however, small groups might be able to upgrade to some of the cottages.
Gahiza Island Retreat is so pleasant that you will love a slow morning after a camping night. By midday the motorboat will start moving towards Chameleon Hill Lodge, your impressive lunch break place.
At 2pm you will start following village trails; beautiful views of the lake and the Virunga Volcanoes can be admired. You will end your day at about 5:30pm, with a night at the Nkuringo Guesthouse (no tents whatsoever, hooray!).
Accompanied by a park ranger, your guide will take you down the steep slope to Kashasha River within the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is a narrow trekking path with interesting bridges, a gorgeous river junction and natural obstacles that will entertain you for an hour or two. Afterwards the route is wide and flat. Plenty of birds are guaranteed, and other wildlife if you are lucky enough. Unless you are too exhausted, you should take a side trip to a trio of waterfalls in the middle of Bwindi. You will be at Buhoma in roughly 5 hours in total.
… What a trip, especially if you are an Ultimate Hiker, who did Volcano Quest beforehand!