Out and About: Gorilla Heights Lodge, Kisoro.

Gorilla Heights Lodge is a luxury lodge located in the South Western part of Uganda, one of the highest points of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It is a long drive from Kampala but there are local flights from Entebbe airport to Kisoro airstrip, which is an hour and a half drive away to the lodge.

Views from the air on our way to Kisoro. Uganda is such a beautiful country. A true Pearl of Africa.

The lodge is situated at a vantage high point overlooking the Bwindi forest from one side, and the Virunga range on the other side, found in DRC, which is apparently less than 20 km away. You do feel like you are up in the clouds when at the lodge. The view is amazing, the air cool, crisp and fresh and the environment is quiet, which adds up to a completely relaxing experience.

We stayed at Gorilla Heights in December, when we had gone gorilla trekking which you can read about here. We had a lovely time and believe we made the best choice for accommodation there as it is quite close to the Nkuringo sector where we did the trek.

The lodge is very beautiful, with 15 cottages, two restaurants, a heated swimming pool, and a health club/spa.

Amazing views of Bwindi forest, the pool and some cottages from the restaurant.

We were the only guests at the lodge during our time there, and the service, food and drinks were all excellent. The dining room also has warmers so you do not feel the chill as you enjoy your delicious meal. We enjoyed having breakfast on the restaurant deck facing Bwindi forest, and other meals in the indoor dining area. As its located in one of Uganda’s potato producing regions, the Potato lover in me had breakfast potatoes daily when we were there. Meals were a la carte and the chef did a superb job making hearty but delicious meals for us to counter the cold and fill us up well. I particularly enjoyed their tea. He made a mean cup of ginger tea, close to what one would make at home.

All the food was delicious, well made and presented fresh. The chef and his team spoilt us rotten.
This is a cocktail named ‘ Top of the world Elixir’ named after the highest hill that affords great views of the surrounding forest and distant Virunga mountain range, hence the name, ‘Top of the World.’

As it is located on a steep slope, each cottage is built in a unique way that all the cottages have a clear view of the impenetrable forest, but still afford complete privacy for the guests.

I liked how they used and arranged volcanic rock to maintain cottage privacy but also keep in with the natural lay of the land.
They have a gift shop too in case you want to get some souvenirs of your time there.
Cute fireplace at the reception lounge.

We stayed at the family cottage, which they call “Silverback Cottage” after the alpha male head of a gorilla family. The cottage’s exterior may fool you but once inside, it is lovelier than one could expect. It has a kitchenette, a dining area, a large living room, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a huge deck that can be accessed from all the bedrooms as well as the living room. Due to its altitude, the lodge is cool and temperatures can get really low but you cannot feel it when indoors. They have electric room warmers, as well as hot water bottles to warm the beds put during turndown service. I liked that touch as I do not like feeling cold at all.

An external view of the Silverback Cottage, the family cottage at Gorilla Heights Lodge.
The cottage has a big and comfortable dining area, kitchenette and living room.
The living room area of the family cottage.
They also put these warm throws in the cottage to ensure you stay warm as you chill indoors.
The main bedroom suite in the family cottage is spacious, comfortable and well lit. It opens up to the deck, has a tv, stocked mini fridge and room warmer.
The main bedroom also boasts a huge bathroom with a luxurious tub, spacious rain shower, storage, amenities such as a hair drier and good quality bathroom essentials.
This is the second bedroom that the kids shared. Also spacious, well lit with lots of closet space and also opens up to the deck.
The kids’ bedroom shares a bathroom and toilet also well stocked with usual hotel amenities, toothbrush and paste, comb, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel and hand soap.
A view of the Bwindi from our cottage deck.
This was the weather on Christmas Day. It did not dampen our spirits as we were warm, well fed and taken care of by the hotel staff.
The main dining area is also good for lounging before and after your meal.

The lodge also has an awesome health club, Ike spa. H had a massage there the day before the trek and we also had a steam session which was so good, especially after the tiring forest trek. So soothing and calming, thoughtful and professional spa staff who also made us some lovely herbal tea and snacks after the session. We both slept like babies that night.

Unfortunately for the kids, the heated pool was not working when we were there, so they watched a lot of tv in the cottage, played cards and took a few walks outside, as it was cold and we did not want to catch any chills. The lodge was also kind enough to get us a nanny for the kids for the day we went for the trek. She took them on a tour of the lodge, ensured they had all their meals and was professional and kind throughout.

I really wished the swimming pool’s heating was working, it would have been nice to take a dip.
My son kept himself busy hiding his gorilla carving in the bushed, and taking pictures of it.

The lodge is limited on a few issues which is understandable given that it is still quite new, I am sure they will address them in time. It would be nice to have a few board games that guests can play to pass time in the evening or in between activities. Due to its location, there isn’t much to do other than gorilla trekking or the Batwa Cultural village visits so guests may stay there for just a few nights and not many will come with kids. But for those who do, some kids’ activities would also be good, such as swings, an adventure club or a faux gorilla trekking experience around the lodge to entertain them and also teach them about the gorillas and the area in general.

We however had a great experience and would highly recommend the lodge for anyone looking for a quiet serene getaway, or a relaxing accommodation option when doing gorilla trekking at Bwindi’s Nkuringo sector. Gorilla Heights lodge is definitely worth a visit.