When it comes to the top accommodations for gorilla trekking, you have three countries to choose from. Why only three? Well, Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo are the only places in the world where you can see gorillas in their natural habitat, as well as many other primate species. It's quite simply one of the most exclusive experiences this world has to offer!
Meeting Some of Our Closest Relatives
Gorilla trekking is one of those incredibly humbling experiences few get to experience in their lifetime. With only a couple of thousand gorillas left in the world, the only way to see them is in their natural habitat.
You follow your guide as he slashes open a pathway in the dense forest. All you can hear is the soil crunching underneath your boots, rustling plants, and exotic birds serenading you overhead – all in anticipation of meeting the eyes of one of your closest relatives.
And when you do, it's a deeply profound, almost spiritual experience that will stay freshly imprinted in your memory for years to come. Their very relatable human-like behaviour will leave you spellbound, driving you to both tears and laughter as you watch them interact with one another.
Rwanda, Uganda or Congo?
When deciding on the best accommodations for gorilla trekking, you first need to determine which country you want to visit. However, it's entirely possible to experience all of them too!
When you're coming all the way to Africa, we always recommend you combine it with other destinations. It does not have to all be gorilla trekking either, as you can easily add on a Big 5 safari, Great Migration safari, or Indian Ocean island getaway.
Why Visit Rwanda?
Known as the "Land of a Thousand Hills", Rwanda must be the most accessible gorilla trekking destination in the world. This is due to the capital city's proximity to the legendary Volcanoes National Park and its established gorilla families.. The park is famous for hosting the late Dian Fossey, who studied the behaviour of the endangered mountain gorilla for 18 years, thereby inspiring the film Gorillas in the Mist.
Although Rwanda is best known for its endangered mountain gorilla, you can also see other animals like the Colobus monkey, spotted hyena, black-fronted duiker, elephant, and more here. Birdwatchers will be in heaven as Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to a wide range of bird species. It's also here that you'll get to see the gorilla's cousin, chimpanzee.
Where to Stay in Rwanda
When choosing the best accommodations for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, it all depends on the type of experience you’re looking for. Here are a couple of our favourites and why you'll love them.
Accommodation Type: 6 Unique En-Suite Forest Villas
Bisate Lodge has hosted so many celebrities from across the globe that it's a celebrity in its own right! You will find it nestled between the folds of a dormant volcano in Rwanda and is designed to honour the country's rich heritage, merging culture with opulent sophistication.
Accommodation consists of exclusive, uniquely constructed Forest Villas, each with breathtaking views of three ancient volcanoes. And with many awards bestowed upon this lodge, you can rest assured that it's one of the best of the best.
What Makes Bisate Lodge Special?
- Close to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla and golden monkey trekking
- Hikes to Dian Fossey's grave and Karisoke Research Centre
- Spectacular views of the volcanic range and landscapes
- Coffee tastings and guided community walks
- Nursery visits and tree planting
A romantic getaway.
One&Only Gorilla's Nest
Accommodation Type: 21 Luxury Treehouse-Style Lodges and Suites
One&Only Gorilla's Nest is a luxury resort close to Volcanoes National Park, which boasts over 340 mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and 300 bird species. With its treehouse-style accommodation hugged by eucalyptus trees, it offers incredible views that make you feel like Mother Nature embraces you!
Other than gorilla trekking, it's best renowned for its wellness offerings. It has everything from a stand-alone spa to an onsite fitness centre, sauna, cold plunge pool, yoga deck, bike rides, hikes in the forest, and more.
What Makes One&Only Gorilla's Nest Lodge Special?
- Gorilla and golden monkey trekking
- Hiking and cycling routes
- Exploring Musanze and other caves
- On-site spa treatments incorporating local roses and coffee
- Cultural experiences and tours
A wellness retreat.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge
Accommodation Type: 9 Contemporary Suites and a Private Villa, Kataza House
Singita Kwitonda Lodge is the closest you can get to the miraculous Volcanoes National Park. With a strong focus on sustainability, family-friendly accommodation, and wellness, it's a tranquil refuge for any adventurous traveller who still wants to enjoy the finer luxuries in life.
Gorilla and golden monkey trekking is the main attraction at Singita Kwitonda. However, the cuisine, premium wine experience, luxury accommodation, cultural experiences, and personalised service keep guests returning for a second, third, and more visit.
What Makes Singita Kwitonda Lodge Special?
- The closest lodge to Volcanoes National Park
- Cultural village tours, hikes and walks
- Children activities and childminding offered
- Wellness treatments and facilities
- Extensive premium wine collection and tastings
Wellness retreats or family holidays. However, please note that the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years.
Why Visit Uganda?
Known as the "Pearl of Africa", Uganda is an often-underrated gem. It's probably best known for offering both gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located here is home to almost half of the endangered mountain gorilla population remaining on earth. Therefore, it offers spectacular sightings. Another star attraction is Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile in Jinja.
You can also combine your gorilla trekking adventure with a safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, famous for its tree-climbing lions!
Where to Stay in Uganda
There are several excellent lodge in Uganda to choose from. Here are some of our favourites.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Accommodation Type: 10 Luxury Tents
Experience a gorilla trekking safari at its finest in one of only ten private luxury tents central to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Finding yourself in one of the most remote areas of Africa, it's the perfect escape for the adventurous traveller.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp lies camouflaged within the confines of the national park, granting you immediate access to the surrounding wildlife. The accommodation is a celebration of the indigenous culture and resources, featuring native prints and furniture made from local materials.
What Makes Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge Special?
- Frequented by gorilla families
- Functions as the perfect base camp for mountain gorilla trekking
- Opportunity for community interaction, namely the local Batwa Pygmies
- Customised sedan chairs allows guests with physical limitations to be carried into the rainforest on trekking expeditions
- An established philanthropy project at Bwindi Community Hospital is open for visits
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Accommodation Type: 8 volcanic stone cottages (including 2 family cottages)
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Uganda is familiar territory for at least six gorilla families living in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The name of this lodge is fitting, as it's raised above the treetops, treating guests to panoramic views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Great Rift Valley. In fact, it's the highest lodge in Uganda!
Originally a conservation project, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge aims, above all else, to protect its locally beloved gorillas. Shaded by the dense trees, this restful oasis exhibits large, windowed spaces, complete with welcoming fireplaces and smiling staff.
What Makes Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge Special?
- Mountain gorilla, red-tailed and Colobus monkey trekking
- Meet the Batwa people on community visits
- Highest lodge in Uganda with spectacular views
- Personal butler and fireplaces for every cottage
- Incredible afro-alpine bird species makes it a paradise for birders
Families or groups travelling together looking for a remote escape. Please note that children must be older than 15 to go gorilla trekking.
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
Accommodation Type: 10 bandas (2 deluxe)
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is one of the finest of its kind, with dramatic views of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to many gorilla families and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Throughout 2021, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge has opened two new deluxe bandas, standard bandas have been upgraded, and the lounge and library redesigned. They have also added a couple of awards to their list in 2021, including being listed as one of the Best Hotels in Africa. There's plenty to see and do here, and in the village's high street, the award-winning Bwindi Bar allows guests to enjoy traditional Ugandan dishes.
What Makes Bwindi Lodge Special?
- Personal butlers for all guests
- Treatments at the Humula Forest Spa
- Enjoy a drink at the Bwindi Bar uplifting the local youth
- Tea processing tours offered
- Extensive drinks menu featuring premium wine, whisky, and cocktails
Families and groups. Please note children must be 15 years or older to partake in gorilla trekking. No childcare facilities are offered at the lodge.
Why Visit Congo?
Gorilla trekking in Republic of Congo means that you can walk straight into the forest from your lodge, accompanied by an expert guide. Nicknamed "Africa's Amazon", this tropical rainforest with scattered savannah is home to over 400 bird, 16 primate, and 4,400 plant species. So, there's much to see!
Due to its flatter terrain and lower altitude, Congo’s weather is much warmer than Rwanda and Uganda. Furthermore, trekking in Congo is allowed for three consecutive days – an activity limited to only one day in the other countries.
Where to Stay in Congo
Odzala-Kokoua National Park is the perfect place to stay for a gorilla trekking expedition. Located in the second-largest rainforest in the world and home to the endangered western lowland gorillas, it's the escape your soul craves. Here's our favourite accommodation for gorilla trekking in Congo.
Accommodation Type: 6 double/twin en-suite chalets with private decks
Ngaga Camp offers face-to-face encounters with the rare western lowland gorilla. The lodge is known for its skilled local trekkers who have been guiding guests through the Ndzehe Forest on a well-maintained trail in search of these majestic primates for years now.
The rooms all have incredible views of the surrounding canopy. A dining room, lounge and bar area also sit on raised decks overlooking the forest. Basically, you'll be able to enjoy the view from almost anywhere in the lodge! A star deck and fire pit, as well as another deck near the Ngaga Stream, are also available for leisure and viewing.
What Makes Ngaga Camp Special?
- A camp situated within the second-largest rainforest in the world.
- A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to trek a family of habituated western lowland gorillas
- Meet the locals at the nearby Ombo villages
- Guided day and night walks as well as drives
- "Botany Bomb" gin and tonics, infused with different elements from the forest
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