Mount Gahinga Lodge
Gahinga Batwa Village
The Building of a permanent settlement for the Gahinga Batwa, Uganda
The Batwa are thought to be one of the oldest surviving indigenous people in the Central African Region. Known for their unique pygmy culture in the forests, the Batwa of the Virunga Mountains survived by hunting small game, gathering plants and fruits, living in caves and constructing huts of leaves and branches.
With international attention on conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas, the Mgahinga part of the Virunga volcanoes in Uganda was turned into a national park in 1991 to provide protection to the wildlife from poaching and habitat encroachment. The creation of the park required the Batwa to be removed from their homes in the mountains and be displaced in a modern world unfamiliar to them. The Batwa ended up squatting in nearby farm land. They earned a living through occasional labor or begging. With limited education, adapting to the modern world has been a difficult journey. They do not have resources or land and suffer from acute poverty, malnutrition and poor health.
Volcanoes Safaris has now built a permanent village for the Batwa community and their families. About 10 acres of land has been purchased to allow them to build homes, a community centre and have land for agricultural and recreational use. The homes were completed in early 2018 and the official launch of the village took place at the end of May 2018.
The Gahinga Batwa community is comprised of over 100 adults and children. They have had no permanent home since they left Mgahinga National Park over 25 years ago.
Classic Gorilla Tracking
There is 1 gorilla family that can be easily tracked in MGahinga National Park, just a short distance from the lodge.
The cost is 600 USD per person per trek.
Golden Monkey Tracking
With only a small number remaining in the world, the Golden Monkey can be found in the foothills of the volcanic mountains of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Characterized by its bright golden body, cheeks and tail, with contrasting black limbs, crown and tail end, these playful primates are a pleasure to watch. Whether you choose to do this on the Rwandan or Ugandan side, the walk will take you from the bamboo stands and forested gorge on the lower levels of the volcanoes, to the elevated heath and moorland higher up.
Batwa Heritage Experience
Supported by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, this hands-on experience will open your eyes to another world – that of one of Uganda’s longest surviving tribes. Visit the local Batwa community in their traditional dwellings and learn about how they have lived for generations in the surrounding forest.
Batwa Dance Group
Supported by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, the local Batwa community visits Mount Gahinga Lodge and performs their traditional song and dance for lodge guests.
Climb a volcano
Guests staying at Virunga Lodge or Gahinga Lodge have easy access to the Virunga chain of volcanoes, which offer challenging hikes and stunning panoramas. The three most popular volcanoes to climb are Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabyinyo, and Mt. Muhavura. These hikes are of varying difficulty and typically take a full day. The treks starts at 7:00am from the park headquarters, from where visitors drive to the base of the volcano.
Hike the Kisozi Caldera
Located less than a kilometer from Mount Gahinga Lodge, the Kisozi Caldera is an easy to moderate hike to the top of a small hill where the caldera sweeps from corner to corner. A caldera is formed by volcanic eruptions, and many dot the stunning landscape of this volcanic region.
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer some of the world’s best bird watching, with a vast diversity of bird species. Uganda has over 1,000 bird species with 150 found only in Uganda. Rwanda has over 700 bird species and is home to the second highest number of Albertine endemics in the Albertine region. Each of our lodges offers the chance to see a number of different birds, with the vast majority endemic to the Region.
Exclusive Gorilla Tracking (8 guests at max)
This exclusive experience allows a total group of 8 guests to track a gorilla group in the forest on their own. This enables guests to have a deeper connection with these fascinating animals, accompanied by their own guide who can give them personal briefing.
The cost is 4800 USD per trek per day in Uganda, for a maximum of 8 guests.
The lodge is available for exclusive use bookings.