Upgraded Lodge Offers New Interactive Experiences with the Indigenous Batwa Community and Enhanced Level of Luxury Accommodations
On November 4th, 2013 Volcanoes Safaris re-launched Mount Gahinga Lodge, nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, on the edge of Mgahinga National Park in Southwest Uganda, as the premier culture and hiking lodge.
Guests now have the opportunity to participate in a variety of new programs with the indigenous Batwa community – a unique experience available at the lodge for the first time. The refurbishment of the interiors enhances the level of luxury and reinforces it as the premier destination in the region for cultural immersion, volcano hiking and Mountain Gorilla and Golden Monkey tracking.
The bandas are designed to resemble traditional African huts and each have a fireplace, private terrace and a luxuriously appointed bathroom, yet the lodge retains its recognisable mountain style and respect for the surrounding fragile ecosystem.
Developed in conjunction with Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), the new interactive Batwa experiences provide guests with an extraordinarily rare opportunity to learn about the unique cultural heritage of one of the oldest surviving peoples of the Central African forest.
Aimed at giving the disenfranchised community an economic opportunity and reviving their cultural traditions, Volcanoes Safaris invites guests to experience different activities at the Mount Gahinga Lodge:
- Cultural Heritage Site: Batwa community memebers demonstrate their traditions through interactive activities such as fire-making, setting traps and identifying and utilising the forest’s medicinal herbs.
- Cultural Dance Group: Guests participate in one of the regular performances at the lodge.
- Vocational Centre: The centre teaches Batwa women to learn skills such as sewing, basket weaving and craft making that will help them earn a living and train other members of the Batwa to also earn a livelihood.
- Agricultural Group: Guests can visit and learn about farming on their land which the VSPt has allocated to the Batwa to practice sustainable farming and help foster independant livelihoods.
This latest initiative follows the Volcanoes Great Ape ecotourism model, creating sensitive eco-tourism that is linked to conservation and communities, thereby creating an opportunity and generating an income for the Batwa. In early 2014 we will be launching a campaign to raise funds to secure land for the Batwa, as well as building a daycare centre for the Twa children. The VSPT welcomes donations on PayPal via the VSPT Facebook page and website for these activities.