Camping with Gorillas in Uganda

They are simply magnificent beasts! The Mountain Gorilla is the second largest species of the primates, only the Lowland Gorilla is bigger.

The adult males are called silverbacks, because as they age a saddle of silver hair develops on their backs. The silverbacks are easy to spot, not just by the colour of their fur, but because they tend to be twice the size of the females.

A prime spot to view Mountain Gorillas is in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, in Uganda. It is called an impenetrable forest because of its incredibly rich ecosystem, and although we refer to such a thick bush as being a rain forest these days, it is jungle, pure and simple. As well as the Mountain Gorillas, you should also see colobus monkeys and chimpanzees, as well as a plethora of other wildlife, which includes 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 different types of butterflies and many species of amphibians and reptiles.

Where would you expect to stay in an impenetrable forest? One popular place is the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, which is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is nestled deep within the forest.

To call this place a camp is something of a misnomer, as it is, in reality, quite luxurious. There are eight fully-equipped tents. In fact, it is so nice the gorillas themselves often visit the camp, although guests are advised to not intrude too much and to be satisfied with watching and capturing the gorillas’ images on cameras.

The camp is one of the most remote in Africa, and has been purposefully kept so in order to preserve the environment for the use of the creatures which live there.

Guests can dine under the stars and relax by the roaring campfire. On cooler evenings, the central cottage provides a warm shelter. Located within the National Park, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp offers guests an unrivalled location, including the best bird and wildlife viewing in the Bwindi area.

Many guests fly into the area from Uganda’s main airport at Entebbe, but it is also possible to reach the camp by road from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. This is a very scenic route which passes many lakes and volcanoes and carries on through the rain forest before taking the winding roads which climb high into the Ugandan mountains.

Whichever way you try to access the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, the experience will be tremendous; but the journey there will pale in comparison to the excitement of seeing a large silverback minding his own business in his dense jungle home.

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