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“Experience of a Lifetime”

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Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 14, 2012

We can't imagine a more wonderful experience than trekking to see the gorillas up close and personal nor a more wonderful place for the experience than Clouds. The property is very privately located atop a mountain ridge but just a five minute walk from the ranger station where we met for our treks to see the Nkuringo gorilla group. The main lodge building is a beautiful stone structure, with commanding views out over the nearby mountains and valleys and very generous gathering and dining areas. Guests stay in stone "cottages" located with privacy in mind. Our cottage and the cottage for the couple we were traveling with had a very large living room (yes, a living room, not just a sitting area), a porch, a large bedroom with kingsize bed and a large bathroom. Oh, yes, and a fireplace: great for warmth on a cool mountain evening and a wonderful light and sound to fall asleep to.
On arrival, we were greeted by the delightful couple who managed the lodge and seemed to take it as their personal responsibility to make us feel like family. With the exception of the managers and the chef, who served the best meals we had during our two and a half weeks in Africa and some of the best we have ever had, the rest of the staff were people from the community. This was part of the agreement between the community and the resort operator which calls for the lodge to become the property of the community after ten years. We and the other couple we were traveling with were assigned a butler and housekeeper, who were friendly and did everything imaginable to make our stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. A couple of examples: during our tour of the Batwa (pygmy) forest, it started to rain, and Sipi, our butler who had stayed back at the lodge. arrived unannounced out in the forest with an umbrella for each of us: and after a grueling eight hour trek to see the gorillas, we turned our very dirty clothes and equally dirty hiking boots over to our housekeeper, and they were delivered back to us early the next morning, clothes cleaned and ironed and hiking boots cleaned, dried AND POLISHED--that's never happened to them in all their years on our feet. The eight hour trek meant we returned to Clouds too late for the full body massage we had planned, but we were encouraged to take the shorter foot massage. Not only did it feel wonderful after the day we had had, but it may have been the only reason we were able to get out of bed and go trekking the next morning. Fortunately, we found the gorillas that day in less than an hour and were able to enjoy the full body massage that afternoon. It would be a mistake for anyone to pass up that wonderful, and healing, experience.
Having done it, we can say without reservation that the hour that we spent with the gorillas our first day was worth every minute of the eight hours of bushwhacking straight up steep mountains and then down steep mountains. We were thrilled to have the privilege of seeing them in the wild at such a close distance. Our next two days of trekking were much shorter and our experiences with the gorillas on those days were even more exciting. On the second day, one of the silverbacks treated us to the excitement of a mock charge (safely handled by our ranger guide). On the third day, the dominant silverback of the group, which we were watching from about fifteen or twenty feet, got up, walked toward us and sat down about four feet from us. It was an incredible experience to be that close to them in the wild and a spiritual experience to look into their eyes.

Room Tip: We only saw our cottage and one other, but it appeared that all of them were about the same and all...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sue919
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 - 139 of 166 reviews

Reviewed October 3, 2012

It is indeed surprising to see that someone can have a bad experience here but probably anything can possibly turn wrong one way or another.

As far as we are concerned, our 2 nights here (for 1 gorilla tracking) revealed just perfect and this very new lodge (4 years old if I remember well) was our favorite in Uganda (even with "Gorilla Forest Camp"). The view from the main area is stunning and really different from the ones you can get in the northern part of Bwindi area and you can even see the volcanoes in Rwanda and DRC.
The cottages are wonderful with the large bathrooms, large beds and the nice wood stove. The big plus is the dedicated butler who for us was the fantastic Innocent taking extremely great care of us!

On the minus side, I can mention 3 minor things only:
1)During the day you might end up with no more hot water since the water is heated in a balloon and that the camp being ecofriendly does not use any generator before 6PM.
2)Stairs made out of little stones are a bit dangerous and probably too steep especially at night.
3)It is a bit far (1 hours on bumpy roads but beautiful landscapes though) from the place where you have to meet with UWA for the gorilla tracking (which can also be far from the actual place where the gorilla tracking starts). But since gorilla tracking is such an exciting moment, this is not really a matter of big importance at the end.

All in all if you like or can splurge in lodges close to nature, this place is for you!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank jboule
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Unfortunately, unlike most of the other reviewers, we've had a pretty bad experience in the Lodge. The place is wonderful, the rooms/cottages are beautiful. However, the upholstery was stained, the bedsheets had holes in them, our butler had terrible BO and worst of all, we had food poisoning which caused us to miss the gorilla trek - which was the reason we travelled to Uganda in the first place!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Zebdiane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2012

We stayed here for two nights to do our second gorilla trek with the Nkuringo group having travelled from the other side of Bwindi to see our first group, the Rushegura family. After 6 hours of bad roads and detours, we were SO glad to arrive here and were welcomed like old friends immediately. New manageress, Madelaine, met us at reception and introduced us to our own butler, Alex and housekeeper Beatrice, who were both well-skilled, charming and helpful. Our chalet was more like a small private house and the views ( at 7,500 feet ) were breathtaking. Even if you were not here to see the gorillas,( an exceptional experience ) this is a wonderful place to stay and wind down. All the meals were first class and for such a remote location, we still wonder....HOW DO THEY DO IT?
Because we came across our first gorilla group within 15 minutes, we knew the Lords of Karma would not let us get away with such easy trekking twice.
We were right.......this one was 6.5 hours long, and tough, but worth every aching moment of it. The group,the NKURINGO family, were out in a clearing when we came across them and the photographic opportunities were so good, even the guides were snapping away on their phones and we stayed well past our allotted time as we literally sat amongst them. As a semi-fit 60 year old, this was truly one of those special "bucket list " moments. We even received a mock charge from the retired silverback of the group when the twin male gorillas born last year got too close to us. This was an experience more exhilarating than frightening, as the rangers are very professional and know the group well.
When we staggered back to the Lodge, which incidentally, is only 5 mins away from the gorilla HQ, it was suggested that a massage would not go astray. This advice was acted upon immediately and our 1.5 hours with Christine & Co. was heavenly.
After a great dinner we opted to just sit on the porch with our fantastic guide, Robert, from NATURETRACK EXPEDITIONS and take in the remarkable vistas in all directions, listening like school kids as we learnt of the Rift Valley and the active volcanoes in the distance and beyond to the Congo.
Retiring for the night, Alex was on hand with a welcome nightcap, a warm fire, a turned down comfy king size bed, cleaned hiking boots and miniature carved gorillas for us. Aaaarrhh bliss.
Not cheap but if you can manage, put this lodge on your itinerary. Cheers.

Room Tip: Have a massage here. Wonderful !
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Wellmax229
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2012

You will love this place with your personal butler and housekeeping. The Lodge is spectacularly located and the houses with your private fire place will make you feel at home at once. The staff does really care and you will really enjoy the delicious food. We stayed there in January for three nights and this was the most wonderful place of all!!! And the best thing is- you support the regional development by staying there.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MayThai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2012

The rooms are individual cottages, large and well appointed, the service is attentive and excellent and everybody is extremely friendly. It is a perfect base from going on the gorilla trek which can be a bit arduous in places but well worth while. The Rwanda trek is much easier, by the way.

By far the most moving experience we had here was the dancing by the Nkuringo orphans group, a group of children orphaned by AIDS and which the hotel is sponsoring

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JamesXXI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2011

This is an excellent base for the sometimes strenuous activity of trekking the wonderful mountain gorillas. Clouds is not cheap but then it is thought to be the best accomodation in Bwindi and if you are going that far and can afford why settle for less.

As part of the deal, we were met by our butler - Innocent at the little airstrip which is about a one hour drive (in an excellent vehicle and very good driver) from the hotel but even the drive is a fantastic experience as you pass through little villages and see people going about their lives. From the moment we arrived we felt safe, secure and were extremely well looked after. All the arrangements were made by Innocent for our gorilla trekking and we spent 3 consecutive days trekking 3 different gorilla groups. What a fantastic experience! The Clouds team could not have been more helpful or friendly and Maria looked after our cottage beautifully.

Uganda is a wonderful country full of very friendly people and everyone connected with Clouds does the country a great service.

The whole Clouds experience offers an attentive but discreet type of service, the cottages provided are very comfortable, spacious and clean with a beatuiful fire lit for the cooler mountain evenings. The food was exceptionally good and although we found out that the main chef was on holiday his deputy produced some exceptional cooking.

I waited over 30 years to go gorilla trekking having first seen the David Attenborough film in the 1970's, although there are only about 700 of these wonderful creatures left if seeing these incredible primates in their prestine, natural habitat is your idea of a travel experience then book now. Go to Bwindi and stay at Clouds - you will remember the experience for the rest of your life!

We are definitely planning to go back very soon.

Room Tip: Make sure you get a room with a great view of the distant volcanoes.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank visitor044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Address: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (South) | Booking Office: 5 Binayomba Road, Bugolobi, Kampala, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 32 Specialty Lodging in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Price Range: $469 - $1,181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
CLOUDS MOUNTAIN GORILLA LODGE Where: Southern Bwindi, Western Uganda Access from Entebbe: Scheduled or charter flight (1.5 Hrs) | drive (11 hrs) Tucked away in Nkuringo, Clouds has immediate access to track 6 gorilla families, and perfect, uninterrupted views of the Virunga Volcanoes. Guests stay in cottages built of volcanic stone, with big sitting rooms, double-sided fireplaces, vast overstuffed armchairs, large bathrooms and private verandas. Personal butlers, delicious food from our organic vegetable garden, a massage spa and infinite attention-to-detail complete your stay. Rates include all meals, non premium brand drinks, butler service and laundry. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Hotel Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge Uganda/Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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