THE PEARL OF AFRICA
The desperate search for the source of the Nile river drove the British to colonise this majestic land. This has made Uganda one of Africa’s most powerful safari destinations boasting critically-endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in some of the most stunning forests in Africa.
To this day, the Nile River provides the country with a crucial life-blood. This enriches the soil for agriculture and provides ample tourist opportunities including the world-class white-water rafting around Jinja. The abundance of water also feeds Uganda’s forests and notably the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is home to hundreds of bird species and the highest concentration of primates on Earth. This includes half of the world’s critically-endangered mountain gorillas. The Kibale forest is another marvel that plays home to a large population of habituated chimpanzees that can be seen on a walking safari.
In colonial times, Uganda was viewed as the very best place in Africa to safari. From the impenetrable forest to breath-taking and unusual birdlife and challenging trekking, it simultaneously it feeds fear, phobia, curiosity and sheer delight… all the makings of a mighty African childhood dream.
Other attractions in Uganda include Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park for classic big game viewing, chimpanzee trekking and river cruises. Kibale forms a massive wildlife corridor with Queen Elizabeth National Park that is used by migrating elephants in search of water. A mixture of tropical rainforest, swamp and grasslands help to support Africa’s biggest population of chimpanzees as well as at least a dozen other primate species. It is a top destination for those wanting to trek primates, including gorillas. With over 320 recorded bird species, it is also a haven for twitchers.
Nestled right on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is Buhoma. This secluded and serene lodge has been designed sustainably and built using locally-sourced materials. A great deal of thought has been given to the design of the lodge to ensure that guests enjoy uninterrupted views.
Ten chalets each provide a front-row view through enormous windows over the forest canopy and Bwindi National Park. A lounge area, complete with elevated bar, fireplace and dining facilities form cozy and inviting places to discuss the day’s activities. These suites boast solar powered lighting, en-suite bathrooms and a private viewing deck.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is nestled deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda. It is home to just over half the world’s last surviving mountain gorillas.
As the only concessionaire luxury camp within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the perfect base from which to track the park’s most famous resident – the mountain gorilla. Due to its unique location, it’s not unusual for the gorilla families to visit the camp itself. This luxury camp features eight rooms and a bar, lounge and dining area overlooking the rainforest. This includes a raised natural platform for open-air dining.
The tents are stylish and spacious, exactly what is required after a day spent tracking gorillas. Each one features two queen-sized beds and an en-suite bathroom with an indoor shower and a large bathtub that looks straight into the jungle canopy. A personal attendant is assigned to every tent in order to attend to every need.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is situated inside the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) on the Ntungwe River. It’s an idyllic retreat for visitors who truly enjoy the wilderness. This exclusive camp offers quality accommodation and attentive service in an unspoilt area famous for tree-climbing lions that can be spotted resting in large fig trees.
Ten framed, spacious canvas tents are found in a wooded area beside the river. These are comfortably furnished, with an en-suite bathroom offering running water, hot water ‘bush’ showers and a flushing eco-friendly toilet. This offers the appeal and thrill of camping but with a great deal of comfort.
A central lounge and dining area is located under a cool thatched roof. This provides an ideal space to enjoy meals, kick off your safari boots, grab a book or a board game and simply relax. El fresco dining is enjoyed beside the river and an evening fireplace is a perfect place for guests to relax with sundowners and share the day’s experiences.
A short 45-minute drive from Kibale National Park lies Ndali Lodge. It’s the famous home of the largest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa as well as a bewildering variety of other primates, birds and butterflies.
Set in the crater region of western Uganda, the lodge is built on the rim of an extinct volcano, which has now filled with water to become Lake Nyinambuga. The lodge pool overlooks this view, adding to the spectacular scenery. Each room has a private verandah overlooking the Rwenzori mountains as well as an en-suite bathroom with a bathtub and shower.
Ndali provides local guides for walks around the 1000-acre farm, the Ndali Vanilla processing plant and the nearby Muhoma Falls. These walks will take you around crater rims, through banana and vanilla plantations, coffee terraces, plots of cassava, groundnuts, sorghum and millet.