This year on the blog, I’ve decided to add a category called ‘Uncovered Discoveries’ – this category will feature resorts, experiences, tours that I have uncovered through research and find personally appealing and interesting. They won’t be places or experiences I have personally tried [yet], but will be more about highlights of the resort/activity/tour and what has drawn me to it (and hopefully you too!), inspiring thought and ideas. Here’s the first one of 2019 - gorilla trekking art Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda.
While completing assignments for a virtual webinar last year, I stumbled upon this resort in Biwindi, Uganda that is operated by Sanctuary Retreats. I had not heard of the company before, but after doing a tid-bit of research on their website, I discovered that they run various boutique-style luxury safari and cruise ship experiences throughout various areas within Africa (where the company originated), as well as in China, Egypt and Myanmar (1).
Now let’s take a peek at their lodge called the Gorilla Forest Camp. One of my long-term travel goals is to experience gorilla trekking and encounter wild gorillas, so naturally, I was drawn to this particular option. This is not budget travel by any means (starting from $5719 USD per person for 8 days/7 nights*), but the experience is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience (2a). The lodge includes all meals seems fairly remote, accessible only by plane (just under 2 hours from Entebbe) or by car (8-10 hour drive) (2b). Although the itinerary appears to combine two of the lodging experiences (one in Kenya and one if Uganda), it appears only days 5-8 are at the Gorilla Forest Camp – my main focus. You can certainly add on a game drive and see the ‘Big 5’ while visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kenya at the other lodge, but let’s save that dream for another day and stay focused on the gorilla trekking experience shall we? (2a)
Noted under ‘Additional Activities’, yet depicted without associated costs, the gorilla trekking experience is not included with your stay, along with several other additional experiences. The gorilla trekking activity is offered year-round, but requires a high level of physical ability (2b). Per the itinerary, once the gorillas are located, the group of 8 is only allowed a maximum of one-hour with the gorillas per day (2a). However, check out the wildlife opportunities highlighted near camp – a wildlife enthusiast’s (or wildlife photographer’s 😉) dream:
“In addition to the gorillas, Bwindi is also home to rare forest elephants, giant forest hogs and eleven kinds of primates, such as red tailed and blue monkeys, black and white colobus and baboons. You can also find forest duiker antelopes, bush buck antelopes and over 200 species of butterflies. Key wildlife include: gorilla, baboon, monkey, duiker, giant forest hog, warthog, civet, birds.” (2b)
According to their website, less than 350 mountain gorillas reside in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which is half of the world’s mountain gorilla population – I was incredibly surprised (and saddened) to learn this! They only allow 8 guests to visit the gorillas each day (3), and therefore only feature 8 housing tents for guests within their lodging accommodations. In addition to the 8 guest tents (which feature two queen beds, ensuite bathroom with tub and shower, and even a personal attendant!), the camp also offers a bar, lounge and dining area overlooking the secluded rainforest, a gift shop and spa, a campfire for with a view of the stars, as well as wi-fi and even electricity (2b). Sounds super luxurious doesn’t it?
*There also appears to be a nightly rate option available directly at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, ranging from $257 to $690 USD per person, depending on number of nights and time of year (4). Personally (and if I had a much larger travel budget), I would consider adding on a few nights during off-peak season in order to experience the lodge itself and the gorilla trekking experience with Sanctuary Retreats.
What do you think? Does this post make you want to visit Uganda? Do you like this type of new content? Feedback more than welcome 😊
(1) Sanctuary Retreats - About Us
(2) Sanctuary Retreats - Brochures
(2a) Game Viewing & Gorillas brochure
(2b) Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp brochure
(3) Sanctuary Retreats - Trek with Gorillas
(4) Sanctuary Retreats - Rates
I’m working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to explore beyond the border. Sharing my tips, trips, opinions and rants on life and travel in the meantime.