Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

It is remote. It is beautiful. It is intimate. And at over 2,000 meters above sea level, it is Uganda’s highest lodge. Since it opened, this small, remote lodge continues to win prizes, awards and accolades both internationally and locally. Picture this: You are sitting up on a ridge, above the clouds, looking across to the Virunga volcanoes. Behind you is the primordial, mysterious and impenetrable forest that is Bwindi. As you sit there, drinking your chilled wine, or your freshly brewed coffee, or your freshly squeezed juice or your amber colored whisky you smile. You smile because you know that your personal butler is lighting the fire in your cottage and setting out your freshly laundered clothes. In the kitchen a gorgeous meal is being prepared, and tomorrow after breakfast you will walk from the lodge to the Nkuringo trailhead and track the gorillas.

Cottages at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Guests at Clouds stay in their own cottage. Built of local volcanic stone, every cottage has a large sitting room with fireplace, vast overstuffed armchairs, and hand-woven carpets. Each individual cottage features the work of one of Uganda’s most respected artists (we call them the ‘Clouds 9’) Their work has been so highly regarded by guests that they have commissioned their own pieces and now the work of these artists graces the walls of homes and offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and London.

Activities at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

After breakfast take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough, steep and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile; once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water, rain gear and snacks in a day pack. Cameras with ample memory cards are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock or dry bags for camera gear. Porters are available at an additional cost to help assist with your backpack and give an extra hand in steep sections. Each evening return to the luxury of the lodge for a hot shower, perhaps a foot massage, and a sundowner and sumptuous dinner.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an incredibly dense swath of ancient rainforest that survived the last Ice Age. Clinging to the steep mountains in the Albertine Rift Valley, the forest looks like green velvet from the air. The forest is home to 90 species of mammals, 11 primate species (of course, the most famous mountain gorillas) and excellent birding, 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics. With approximately 400 mountain gorillas in Bwindi, it is home to about half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, which live in 15 families. We will trek in the Nkuringo area searching for one of the four gorilla families on this side of the park. The mountain gorilla will be our second magnificent African primate on this journey, and likely, the most impressive due to its stature and size. Males stand up to 6 feet tall, weigh up to 400 lbs and live for 40-50 years. Gazing upon one of these giant primates is one of life’s most intimate and spellbinding experiences.

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