There are thousands of critically endangered animals around the world, and we wish we could interact with them all. However, we think that gorillas, which are the largest living primate, are particularly worth the visit.
Gorillas thrive in and around the sanctuaries that have been built around their natural habitats, and this gives you an opportunity to experience them yourself. Twice the size of the average man, this will certainly be a meeting to remember.
Here’s a guide on where and how to visit a gorilla sanctuary, and some insight into why these havens are so important.
Why Do We Need Gorilla Sanctuaries?
Naturally, gorillas inhabit the forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Rwanda is where you’ll find the largest concentration of these massive primates, with approximately 180 of them making up 10 habituated gorilla groups.
However, with the ever-increasing threat to their habitat, as well as the ever-present danger of poachers, these incredible primates are critically endangered.
Human beings have clearly been the biggest threat to gorillas, as well as almost all other animal species (we’ve done wonders for the cat and dog populations). But we can also be their salvation.
We cannot ever condone the furtherance of a species in a zoo, where their preservation is for our benefit alone. However, we do give our full support to sanctuaries where you can trek into the forests and see the gorillas in their natural habitat.
That way, gorillas can live fulfilled lives with their families, and we can have a glimpse of that magic. Also, experiences like this put money back into the protection of these beautiful, intelligent creatures.
4 Gorilla Sanctuaries and Forest Camps
We’ve researched the top 4 places for you to stay to get an incredible up-close encounter with gorillas. These lodges also have philanthropy projects, and are helping protect gorillas.
We’ve looked all across Sub-Saharan Africa to find the best places near gorilla trekking adventures, so that you are not confined to any one country. This way, you can see what the best accommodation is for whatever country you choose to visit.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda
This ecologically-careful luxury camp is situated in the heart of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Only 5 minutes’ walk from the start of your gorilla trekking adventure, the location could not be more ideal.
What we love about Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
- Of course, the location.
- The charming 4-star luxury tented accommodation.
- The idea that gorillas could (and often do) walk through at any moment.
- Their gorgeous, healthy buffet breakfasts.
- Their spa facilities for after a long day of trekking through the forest.
- Their philanthropic work with the Bwindi Community Hospital and Victory School.
- Incredibly attentive service to make sure you are always comfortable.
- Lastly, we love their open-viewed bath from which you can soak and fully take in the moment.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda
Rwanda has the highest population of gorillas roaming through its famous rolling hills. And there is no better base to set out from than this lodge.
Sabyinyo is located just a few minutes from the gate of the Volcanoes National Park, so you’ll have more time to sip your morning coffee and ready yourself for the adventure ahead.
You’ll be walking up 180 steps to get to the lodge, but there’s no better way to ensure you’re ready for your trek through the forests! Also, the elevation gives you an unrivalled view of the volcano and the surrounding mountains. At night, you can often see an eerie glow emanating from the volcano as you unwind after your adventures.
What we love above Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
- We love the botanical garden environment.
- The breathtaking views.
- The relaxing post-trek massages (there really is no better way to live).
- They have a number of philanthropic projects and are very involved in the protection of the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
- You’ll be visited by golden monkeys.
- The birdlife is incredible.
- The staff are interactive and friendly. You’ll feel right at home!
Mikeno Lodge, DRC
Mikeno Lodge is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Right in the breathtakingly beautiful Virunga National Park, the location could, once again, not be more perfect.
The lodge is also a 3 minute walk away from the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Centre, which is home to the only 4 mountain gorillas to be found in captivity. While we don’t support zoos, the environment created for these 4 orphans is warm and natural. And as they wouldn’t have survived in the wild, we support it.
What we love about Mikeno Lodge
- The lava rock walls and thatched roof of the bungalows. Very sustainable!
- The support of the Congo Hounds conservation program which trains dogs to track down poachers, alongside trained rangers.
- The private balconies from which you can sip your coffee and look out into the forest.
- The delicious full-course meals included in your stay (which are also made from fresh local ingredients).
- The bungalows have comfortable distance between them for privacy.
Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
Bisate Lodge is the luxury eco-lodge of our dreams. It seamlessly combines environmentally responsible building practices, the rich cultural heritage of rural Rwanda, and modern opulence with its forest villas.
Bisate Lodge is located adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park. Because of their involvement in reforestation and rehabilitation, your stay there will contribute to conservation and local community upliftment.
What we love about Bisate Lodge
- Of course, we love the fact that every guest has a positive impact through their programs.
- The incredible views of Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes over the lush forest.
- Their very friendly and knowledgeable staff.
- The really beautiful accommodation.
- The amazing food, of course!
Final thoughts on the Forrest Gorilla Camps
Whichever natural habitat you choose to visit, you’re sure to have an incredible experience, and a deeply satisfying stay. We love luxury that isn’t only in it for the profit.
All of these beautiful places have a serious commitment to their environment and the preservation of the gorilla, and we applaud that. So we trust that you will have a magical experience wherever you choose to stay, and will go home knowing that you did some good.