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“Luxury in the jungle” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

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Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
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Gorilla Territory, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Luxury in the jungle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

The Gorilla Forest Camp truly lives up to the reputation established by the Sanctuary Retreat hotel group. It is terrific! The "Tents" are spacious, well furnished with comfortable beds and chairs. The stone bathrooms have fulltime hot water! And to go with the shower there is an open air bath tub.
There are only 8 tents - built into a hillside right inside the National Park. The food is excellent - though the fixed menu's don't allow for a lot of choice.
What really makes this place great is the staff. Ian, the manager does a fabulous job of keeping everyone happy. Nicholas takes care of the guests needs. Precious offered up an amazing massage in the mini-spa and the serving staff are always smiling. The meeting place for gorilla tracking is just a short walk from the camp.
I run a Safari Expedition company - cielopictures.com - and stayed here for the first time in June to see if it is worth bringing clients to. We'll be bringing them here as often as we can!

Room Tip: Try to pick a tent with a view of the mountains across the valley - although they are all nice - and...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, responded to this review, June 27, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post this great review on Tripadvisor.

We are delighted that you enjoyed your time with us and would like to thank you for your kind comments especially about Ian,Nicholas, Precious and the rest of the team. They loved hosting you and look forward to hosting you and your guests as often as possible.

Thank you once again and please follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Gorilla Forest Camp by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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150 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
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English first
Tucson, Arizona
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

It's was our last stop on a 2-week Ugandan adventure, and lovely to save the best for last! There really are not great clear views as its in the dense jungle, but everything else makes up for it, Eco-friendly, super friendly and accommodating staff, good food, fantastic service, nice to relax there after gorilla tracking!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

.... my friend said she found the food completely average and disappointing, and the rooms in need of some updating. She was there in April/May 2011, so I was interested to see if my experience would be the same.

I had only one night there so felt cheated on enjoying the experience to the fullest, but I can say the food was fantastic (I asked for three recipes by the time I left), and my room / tent (Kingfisher) was delightful.

I especially appreciated the turn-around on my laundry by L_____ (not sure if I can name drop in Tripadvisor, but he was named after his father's friend). L took my gorilla tracking cloths, items worthy of a good burn after a few hours of vigorous hiking, and returned them beautifully clean and folded.

Monkeys in the trees kept the guests entertained, and the spa was fully booked so that I was unable to try out the services. In the evening we had a gentleman come and sing for us around the fire. The evening was cool and everyone was tired from their day with the gorillas, so he didn't stay too long. What I expected was "hokey" tribal music but this man was a true musician with original work.

Internet access was only in the lodge near the bar but there really aren't plugs for multiple people to be online while charging their computer.

I read a review from 2010 by a very disappointed gentleman regarding the staff being less interested in customer service than their own internet projects, etc. My experience was very different from his, with each staff member I encountered showing great interest in ensuring I was well cared for and happy. This property is worth the visit, but be sure to stay at least two nights... one is just not enough.

An Important Note... people arriving at the lodge must walk up many many stairs to get to the lodge. One can assume that if you're fit enough to go gorilla tracking you're fit enough to get up the stairs. If you're not, they can assist you. You'll definitely appreciate the porters taking your luggage up for you!

Note: I'm in the travel industry but am committed to honest reviews of all properties, whether they like it or not!

Room Tip: Whatever your room, plan to carry a torch or wear a headlamp after dark! (You will be escorted to y...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beverly Hills, California
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

We stayed for three nights during a road trip through southern Uganda. The permanent tents have two double beds, a chair, shelves and area to hang clothes. Outside there is a big covered porch with couch and coffee table. Each tent has a private walkway, so the outdoor patio has a sense of seclusion. There is no heat, air conditioning or fans in the tent, but at night the housekeeper puts hot water bottles in bed, which makes it nice and warm. The spacious bathroom is indoor/outdoor (there is no roof) and has hot running water, a shower, and separate room with tub and candles. There are no electrical outlets in the tent, but there is charging area in the reception area/gift shop. Our tent looked like it was showing some wear and tear and could use a freshening. The lounge area is a great place to relax and the view is very nice. One morning, we saw monkeys in the trees and a few ran by the breakfast area. There is wi fi in the lounge, but it went down intermittently. Our housekeeper, Michael, did a fantastic job cleaning our muddy shoes after the gorilla trek – this was much appreciated. When the staff comes by in the morning for the wakeup call, they bring coffee or tea. We liked the bar munchies - homemade chips and roasted nuts – they went great with the Uganda gin. And, we loved Jackson’s homemade tomato soup; he even gave us the recipe. We had a few minor communication challenges, like getting a 6:30 wakeup call the day we asked for no wakeup call; and not being able to reach the staff on the walkie talkie, but nothing major. We checked out early and the staff offered to pack box lunches for the drive. Sanctuary is in a scenic, secluded spot and is a great base for a gorilla trek.

If you would like to read about what we did in Uganda, please visit our travel blog, http://latitudeb.com/uganda/

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Bay, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

We stayed at the camp for 3 nights in August, 2012. Of course, hiking and spending an hour with the mountain gorillas is a lifetime experience that cannot be explained. At first, you'll just stare in awe and hold your breath with fascination. Then something wells up in your chest as you realize what amazing creatures you are so close to. Soon after, your eyes fill with tears that you live in a world that includes something so fascinating. After that, you will keep shaking your head and pinching yourself that you are standing within feet of these enormous, gorgeous, surprisingly calm and relaxed, brown-eyed creatures. Words can not describe the experience.
The lodge - top notch. Everything, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-I-n-g was perfect. Beautiful tented cabins with fresh flowers, hot showers and/or bath, great food, exceptional service and atmosphere. Excellent Host/Manager. We can't say enough about how great this place was. They'll do your laundry. After a muddy gorilla trek, they cleaned our shoes and brought them back all warmed and dry. We wish every place could be like this!!!

Room Tip: There are a lot of steps, so if you don't like that, you'll want to request a tent closer to...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor.

We are delighted that you cannot say enough about Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp and thank you for your kind comments, much appreciated.

Agree 100% Gorillas are definitely amazing creatures and you are so right words cannot describe this experience..

Thank you once again and we do hope to welcome you back one day soon.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Gorilla Forest Camp by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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Missoula, Montana
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
69 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

This is exactly the kind of place I wanted for an experience by the Impenetrable Forest. The rooms are tents with structures around them. I love to shower with the feel of the outdoor air, and the feeling of nature surrounding you. Everything was comfortable. I regret not soaking in the tub next to the window, but I made up for it with a massage by Precious in the beautiful spa. I highly recommend that! A great massage while listening to birds and the breeze on your skin.

There was a thunderstorm when we arrived, and the mist around the mountain was just what one would picture. It was nicely cool at night. We were fortunate for a beautiful day for our gorilla trek. We missed the challenging trek everyone speaks of because one gorilla family was just across the stream. We realized the trackers took us on a mini-trek in a wide circle around the gorillas just so we had some experience in the rainforest, but the stroll back took 15 minutes. We enjoyed the gorillas just the same. Then we had the special treat of the gorilla family being right next to the Camp the next morning as we were leaving. The silverback walked right through the middle of a clearing.

I cannot say enough for the staff and their excellent service. They have a lot of steps to climb to carry luggage or to bring drinks to your banda, but there was never any hesitation. They had backpacks and walking sticks to lend. There is a small but interesting gift shop. The chef is great and the food wonderful, cooked the way you like it. Nicholas was so helpful in allowing us to charge batteries.

Since our trek was done in time for us to bring our lunches back to the Camp, we had spare time in the afternoon. The town with shops is a short walk down the road. I made a good friend named Janet in one shop. She even spent time showing me how she weaves her baskets. Later after my massage, we were also treated to a tour of the Bwindi Community Hospital, an amazingly modern and well-equipped hospital for the area. We had personal experience with its quality as one of our tour group was very ill and was treated there.

Our stay here will be a lasting memory.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Dear Betty,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this lovely detailed review on Tripadvisor.

We are absolutely thrilled that you had such a memorable experience with us. We shared your feedback with the GFC team and they are delighted with your comments.

The Gorillas are awesome and so glad that you got to experience them up close and personal.

It was an absolute pleasure hosting you and we do hope to welcome you back one day soon.

Would be great if you could share your experience on our Facebook page, just search for Sanctuary Retreats…

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

Simply typing the title of this review makes me homesick for this amazing place. I have recently returned from my second journey to GFC. My husband and I made our first trip there in July of 2012 with dear friends. Seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat was on our bucket list and now has a check next to it. The team at GFC made sure that it was exactly what we dreamed of. An incredible challenge with an incredible reward. The accommodations were a luxury, the food was very good, thoughtfully prepared and beautifully presented (imagine being gluten free in the middle of the Impenetrable Forest-they could even handle that!). The setting and outstanding service enhanced this amazing journey. While there, CFG introduced us to a local school that Sanctuary supports. As moved as we were by the magnificence of the gorillas, we are forever changed by meeting the children of The Victory School. Sanctuary's support of The Victory School offers these children, the neediest of the needy, hope for a brighter future. The opportunity GFC offered us to become immersed in this amazing community only heightened our experience. I have to say that after a day of working in the school, gorilla tracking or taking a beautiful hike to the Three Falls... it was a little piece of heaven to return to GFC, our wonderful accommodations, the staff who was awaiting our return and being immersed in the quiet of this beautiful place. Ian Sendagala was amazing and has assembled a wonderful staff, Ben, Jackson, John, Moses, Nicholas, Precious and many more. Ian seemed to know where we were at all times and was able to anticipate our every need. As you can see, I loved GFC, my husband loved it, our friends loved it and I cannot wait to return. Carol, Austin, Texas USA, March 2013

Room Tip: I have stayed in Wagtail and Weaverbird. Loved them both but Weaverbird was my favorite. It is the...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Dear Carol,

What a great review thank you, much appreciated!!

We are so happy to hear that your second journey with us was such a great one. Ian and the rest of the team were delighted with your comments and absolutely loved hosting you. Glad you spent some time at The Victory School they most definitely loved meeting you.

We do hope that you and your friends return to your “little piece of heaven” one day soon.

Would be great if you could share your experience on our Facebook page, just search for Sanctuary Retreats...

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Address: Gorilla Territory, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 26 Specialty Lodging in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Idyllically located in a glade facing mist-shrouded primeval rainforest in the far southwestern corner of Uganda, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is one of the most remote and atmospheric camps in Africa. A World Heritage site, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an area of awe-inspiring bio-diversity with over 200 species of birds, butterflies and trees. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Hotel Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda/Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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