Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is situated in Nkuringo, bordering the southwestern corner of the Bwindi National Park. At 2,100 meters, Clouds enjoys a panoramic view of the Virunga Mountains and the Great Rift Valley. Up to 20 guests are accommodated in 6 single/double stone cottages and 2 family suites, each featuring en-suite bathrooms, private gardens, and double-sided fireplaces.
The lodge is part of the International Gorilla Conservation Program’s tri-nation project to protect the highly endangered mountain gorilla. Nine of Uganda’s top artists’ works are featured at the lodge, with their art focusing on people, conservation, and community.
In addition to gorilla tracking – there are about 21 gorillas at Nkuringo – guests can enjoy interactive visits to Bakiga and Batwa communities, as well as walks through the Baniga forest, where, if you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of wild chimpanzees.
GORILLAS AND MORE
Clouds is a unique partnership between the Nkuringo community (Nkuringo Community Development Foundation), the African Wildlife Foundation, and Uganda Safari Company, who also own Semliki Safari Lodge.
As part of this agreement, almost all staff members are from the local community and have been trained in the hospitality industry. A percentage of the lodge’s income goes to the NCDF, which funds are split between health care, education, business development and agriculture.
A pig project is run by 13 members of the Nteko community, who manage and breed the animals. In 2009 income was made from the sale of piglets. The project receives food scraps from the lodge.
A vegetable garden started by the lodge for its own use has now been supplemented with gardens at two primary schools. Besides teaching locals more modern farming methods, it is hoped to encourage them to eat vegetables and address the problem of malnutrition in the community. Pupils are encouraged to take seedlings to start gardens at home.
The most successful project has been the Nkuringo weavers. There are now about 400 participants, who the foundation are helping with their business and to manage their product lines. The weavers are also taught about family planning and financial management. Their business generates about $2500 a month and is growing.
The foundation has recently started working with a group of 58 orphans, the Nkuringo Orphans Group, who sometimes put on a performance for guests. While the project is still new, five children are already in private boarding schools.