Travelers revere Uganda for its gorilla-filled jungles, awe-inspiring Nile waterfalls, and untamed, un-touristy safaris through the African savanna plains. But suppose you’re visiting this enchanted tiny country for Gorilla trekking. In that case, you might want to know the best luxury lodges in Bwindi that can evoke your jungle travel spirit that won’t wash your experience with regret. Because why not? A gorilla trekking trip is one of life’s most fulfilling once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.
Get into a safari mood and explore one of Africa’s most ancient habitats, a misty primeval jungle nestled among mountains, terraced hills, and rolling volcanic slopes.
Relax at an enchanting forest lodge overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s dense vegetation, and observe endangered mountain gorillas in one of the few places on earth they call home.
The mountain gorillas’ presence in this part of the world has transformed the edges of Africa’s oldest rainforest into a luxury getaway spot.
Suppose you have taken the 9-hour drive from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In that case, you may never imagine that at the end of the day, you’ll throw your bags in a corner and drop back on a luxurious bed in a forest room that makes the Burj look like your teenager’s bedroom.
These breathtaking luxury lodges in Bwindi have cropped up in not more than a decade (all with amenities you might not expect from their remote locations: Hot showers, flush toilets, and delicious restaurants come standard).
From deluxe “glamping” cottages occasionally visited by the gentle giants of the forest to private rooms on the edge of the ridge overlooking the forest canopies to private cottages tucked into a tangle of the rainforest, here are six of the best luxury lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
- Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
- Buhoma Lodge
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
- Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
- Mahogany Springs Lodge
Best 6 Luxury Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable NP
1. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
From USD $300 – $1084 per person per night
Clouds sits at the trailhead for tracking the Nkuringo gorilla family, the largest and friendliest of Bwindi’s five human-habituated troops.
This multi-award-winning luxury lodge in Bwindi consists of a chalet-like main lodge and seven guesthouses, built from local volcanic stone and outfitted with handwoven rugs and works from the country’s most renowned artists. At almost 7,000 feet above sea level, Clouds is the best up-market luxury lodge in Bwindi—and the price-tag on a room says it all.
While on one of the lodge’s terrace on one of the nights, it’s not unusual for visitors to see the Virunga volcanoes across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest glowing amber against the darkened sky.
Ten stone cottages have loftlike interiors with African-themed art, high-beamed ceilings, African-themed, a spacious bedroom, a lounge area, and an en suite bathroom with a shower. A fireplace links the bedroom and lounge, ensuring the rooms are kept cozy and warm in the cool evenings; a private butler and housekeeper provide hot-water bottles and keep the fireplace lit on chilly mountain evenings.
Clouds Mountain guests don’t just come for gorillas but also go on forest walks with Batwa pygmy guides and visit lodge-managed community projects designed to help local subsistence farmers.
The extraordinary combination of creature comforts, nature, and helping others makes Clouds worth the effort and expense of getting there.
2. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
From US$200 per person per night sharing
Also located on the Nkuringo, Bwindi Southside, trailhead; a couple of meeters before you get to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (listed above).
Nkuringo Bwindi Luxury Lodge (and it’s neighbour Clouds Lodge) have almost exclusive access to the habituated gorilla families in the Nkuringo region. Gorilla treks start just down the hill at park HQ and wind through interesting and colourful villages and beautifully uniform tea plantations before heading deep into the forest.
Perched high on Nteko Ridge, the charming Nkuringo Lodge has spectacular views over the entirety of Bwindi in one direction and back across the lake toward and beyond Kisoro.
The deservedly charming Nkuringo has earned its name as Uganda’s leading Safari Lodge at the World Travel Awards in 2016/17/18, greatly deserving its position on this list.
The cozy dining room is built around a beautiful tree, its trunk a quirky feature amid wooden beams and flooring, raffia ceilings, and terracotta-colored walls. The place exudes a rustic charm with a small bar and sofas around a stone fireplace and Ugandan fabrics and carvings adorning the walls.
Outside, the terrace looks across to the Virunga Volcanoes, the only other mountain gorilla homeland in the world. Eco-friendly and carbon neutral, the lodge has immaculate and colorful gardens, attracting an array of birds and even three-horned chameleons.
Nkuringo’s 12 chalet-style rooms are dotted around its pretty gardens. The elegant Villa is similarly designed with two bright and spacious bedrooms (they can be booked separately or interconnected) and private terraces overlooking Bwindi’s dense rainforest. All rooms are en-suite and individually decorated with splashes of color in fabrics and local artwork.
3. Buhoma Lodge
From US$250 – 730 per person per night
Set in the Northern Section of Bwindi, Buhoma trailhead, the easiest of the four trailheads to get to, Buhoma enjoys effortless access to the park and is an excellent base from which to hike the jungle gorilla trekking and explore the area.
One of only two lodges set within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park’s bounds, Buhoma lodge enjoys incredible views across the forest canopy.
Each of the ten chalets accentuates the natural beauty of the surrounds of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. With stunning views from each private veranda, guests are sure to gain a new appreciation of Africa’s stunning natural beauty. Each cottage contains comfortable beds, an en suite bathroom, flushing toilet, and hot shower, with a few having the added luxury of a bathtub. The rooms have huge windows and private sheltered verandas to take advantage of the montane forest views. Hot water bottles and luxury blankets keep you warm on the chillier mountain evenings.
Communal areas of the lodge include an elevated lounge area with bar and dining facilities. Encouraging guests to gather together and share stories of the day’s adventures is a cozy, communal lounge area surrounding a warm fireplace.
High-quality four-course meals are served every evening in the restaurant, and the well-stocked bar will keep you hydrated. Relaxing around the open fireside here is hard to beat after a hard day tracking the mountain gorillas through the misty forest jungle.
4. Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
From US$740 – $1320 per person per night
Also set in the Northern section of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, just 500 meters from the trailhead, Buhoma lodge’s most impressive feature is that sometimes the gorillas sleep on the grounds of the lodge. How cool is that?!
This luxury lodge in Bwindi has a rustic charm with a modern, sophisticated ambiance. The central lounge and communal dining area offer spectacular views of the forest below and an ideal setting for evenings around the fireplace reliving exciting gorilla sightings.
The décor in this wilderness safari lodge is contemporary and designed to meld with its natural surroundings. The eight unique cottages, each with an en-suite bathroom, are named after Bwindi’s famous gorillas and furnished with four-poster beds, hand-carved furniture, and terraces affording stunning views of the surrounding forest.
The expansive main terrace is ideal for enjoying sundowners. The view is so enchanting that even the mountain gorillas occasionally amble in to relax in the gardens surrounding the lodge.
Guests can follow the River Trail below the lodge and take a dip, perhaps watched by inquisitive monkeys. Not much will make you want to leave the lodge’s comfort and the personal butler service, but a short walk to the local village for a tapas-style meal at the famous Bwindi Bar is a must.
5. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
From US$415 – $716 per person per night
Sanctuary Retreats Gorilla Forest Lodge, run by Abercrombie and Kent, is one of the two luxury lodges located inside the park’s boundaries. The lodge’s fabulous location surprises the guests with occasional visits from one of the local gorilla groups who literally look peep into guests’ rooms—what an enchanting sight.
Wood, thatch, and canvas build, Gorilla Forest Camp consist of the main lodge and eight sleeping tents. Raised on wooden platforms, spacious, airy, and beautifully designed, the sleeping tents possess a double or twin bed, a well-furnished veranda, plenty of room to change in, and a separate bathroom. The bathroom contains a sink, flush toilet, shower, and a standalone bath.
With polished wooden floors, various mod-cons, and well-chosen and locally sourced tables and seats, the rooms’ look and feel is clean, homely, and welcoming.
The shared areas include a bar, lounge, dining area, veranda, shop, and fire pit. The main lodge itself is a large open plan characterized by low surrounding walls, a peaked roof, and a comfortable and lightweight seating range.
Lit at night by hurricane lamps, guests usually – weather permitting – sit around a fire with their hosts and plan the next day’s events.
6. Mahogany Springs
From US$240 – $408 per person per night
Set on the pristine waters of the Munyanga river, Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge takes its name from the 400-year-old mahogany tree that towers majestically above the lodge gardens.
From the unrivaled service and breathtaking views to world-class cuisine and gorilla trekking expeditions, it is the little touches at Mahogany Springs Lodge that put it among the best luxury lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
This luxury lodge consists of seven large thatched cottages that blend seamlessly with the surroundings and overlook the clear waters of the Munyanga River and the dense jungles of the national park. Suites are spacious with large double doors, hardwood floors, crisp white linens, sun-soaked windows, gorgeously designed open terracotta showers, advanced mosquito net systems, and private terraces panoramic views of the verdant valley.
From the sun’s rising through the day’s end, the main building at Mahogany Springs Lodge provides guests with an optimal place to gather. Enjoy a glass of wine at the impressive wooden bar, relax in front of the double-sided fireplace with a book or board game from the library.
Meals are memorable, with Head Chef Subedi preparing a wide range of international flavors. Barbecue night, a favorite with guests, is held once a week on the terrace, and afternoon tea is included every day alongside fresh cakes and biscuits from the lodge’s pastry chef.
Private bush breakfasts and dinners by the river put you in the center of nature’s own drama that leaves you awash with magical enchantment.
Celebrate your jungle experience with a massage from the onsite masseuse or a champagne toast on the terrace. The exotic gardens and intricately designed stone pathways leading to the river invite guests to uncover every corner of this magical place, including such surprises as the homegrown vegetable garden.
Your Choice of Bwindi Luxury?
All the best seven luxury lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest offer privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in one of the finest locations on the African continent, home to more than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. From the unrivaled service and breathtaking views to world-class cuisine and gorilla trekking expeditions, it is the little touches at these luxury lodges that leave guests enchanted and wanting more of the African safari experience.
So which one is it going to be for you? Have you stayed in any one of these fine properties? Tell us your experience in the comments below. Better yet, let’s take you there. Check out some of our gorilla tours to get started.