In safari terms, Mahogany Springs is a relative newcomer to the area, built and opened in 2011, but it has quickly become a favourite. Owner Barrie Gotch fell in love with the place while visiting and decided he wanted to contribute to the important work of conservation in this stunning part of the world – and he still runs the lodge to this day. It’s a homely and well-positioned property, just 2km from the gate to Bwindi Forest, which is home to the great apes. The rooms are well equipped, and some have amazing views out across the misty treeline. The food at the lodge is excellent – the chef has decades of experience in high-end lodges and prides himself on updating and honing his skills, so prepare to dine well! The area is home to almost half of the world’s wild mountain gorillas, so your chance of seeing them is very high, but we would always recommend a couple of trekking days. A certain level of fitness is required because you never quite know till the day exactly where the families are located. Without being the height of luxury, Mahogany Springs is the perfect base from which to make your trip into the wild to see these amazing beasts and nearest ancestors.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
As well as being home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has one of the most diverse habitats anywhere on Earth. Stunning birdlife, butterflies, and a wealth of flora make it like a garden paradise. The air is heavy with the ancient weight of nature at its most primaeval. You might just feel like you’ve come home.
The property can be accessed by scheduled light aircraft direct into Kihihi airstrip from Entebbe International Airport (1 hour), before transferring by road to Mahogany Springs courtesy of a member of staff (1.5 hours). It is possible to drive from Entebbe too, although this journey is long (12–15 hours!) and you should probably allow two days for it. Given that the trip into the forest can be physically demanding at times, we would almost always recommend the flight in!
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT MAHOGANY SPRINGS:
The communal building is made of classic timber, stone, and thatch, and it contains an open-plan lounge, restaurant, and bar. The lounge features plenty of comfortable seating around coffee tables, as well as a super-cosy double-sided fireplace. In the restaurant, separate tables are flanked by smart upright chairs, pleasantly decorated with local fabrics and flowers. The bar is well stocked, and all areas flow out onto a terrace for al fresco dining while marvelling at the spectacular mountainside scenery. Mahogany Springs has a shop too, where you can purchase craft items, clothing, and souvenirs. And the gorgeous gardens include a fire-pit area, perfect for morning and evening gatherings when guests can share a few drinks and tell stories of the day’s activities!
The guest accommodation at Mahogany Springs comes in three categories – Superior Suite, Honeymoon Suite, and Family Suite (also known as Presidential Suite!). All have mosquito nets, power sockets, a dressing table or desk, well-appointed en-suite facilities, and a private terrace. The Superior Suite option can be a twin, a double, or a triple. All options are spacious, and a highlight is the open terracotta shower. The Honeymoon Suite is similar in style to the Superior Suite, but newlyweds enjoy use of a bigger bed and a bathtub as well as the shower. And the Family or Presidential Suite is large enough to sleep a maximum of four persons, boasting two bedrooms, two en-suite bathrooms, a separate lounge area, and a terrace with breathtaking river and forest views.
ACTIVITIES AT MAHOGANY SPRINGS:
The main activity and reason to visit is gorilla trekking, but there are other amazing things to do here! For specific details on the gorillas and when you feel you have done enough research yourself, it’s always best to chat to one of our consultants who have actually been there. They can explain the day’s events in detail, help you decide on the particulars, and tailor the experience to best suit your group’s needs.
Gorilla trekking– Just travel the short distance to the meeting point within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and you’ll be ready to track these magnificent mammals with the help of an expert guide. The time taken to find the gorillas may vary from 2 to as many as 8 hours, and the trek might be tricky at times. However, you will always have a full hour in which to observe a gorilla family in its beautiful natural habitat – an experience never to be forgotten. Hiking through the forest can be tiring at times, but your efforts will be richly rewarded! And there’s plenty of other wildlife to see on the way, such as the black-and-white colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, and lots of colourful birds.
Hiking– Fans of hiking will also love the nature walks on offer from the lodge, and if you are a keen birder you can be on the lookout for a colourful variety of feathery friends. The area is home to hundreds of species, such as warblers, flycatchers, and honeyguides. There are various different hikes/walks on offer from the lodge to suit different abilities, from short ones close to the property, to more adventurous ones like the Ivy or Kashasha River Trails.
Batwa Experience– We highly recommend this! Visit and meet local tribespeople… and they will teach you about the forest and show you their way of living. You can also visit local homesteads, meet the local healer, and find out how beer is brewed from banana leaves.
*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.