Less than a year after its official opening, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, has won a top award for investment. Clouds was cited as first runner-up in the Uganda Investment Authority’s annual investor award programme. Clouds was built as a partnership between IGCP, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the Uganda Safari Company and the Nkuringo Conservation Development Foundation (NCDF), and was opened in August 2008.
Clouds’ success has been built through a strong commitment to community based conservation and development. The NCDF was initiated by communities in the area to build a number of income generating projects for local area families. Some of its funding comes from Clouds. A portion of each visitor’s room fee goes to the Foundation, which invests in projects such as schools, roads, water tanks, animal raising, vegetable farming, tree planting and other relevant community initiatives. According to Coordinator Felix Byomuhangi, the NCDF reaches over 30,000 people in 23 villages, and is also designed to expose tourists to local people and culture.
In addition to visiting the Nkuringo gorilla family and local villages, Clouds’ guests can go on forest walks, ride a mountain bike along the ridge, buy souvenirs from NCDF supported artisans and meet the local forest guardians, the Batwa. Clouds spectacular location affords panoramic views of all seven of volcanoes of the nearby Virunga Massif, including the still active Nyiragongo, whose red and orange lava glow can be seen on clear nights. Clouds’ cozy stone cottages, with fireplaces, lush furniture, exposed wooden beams and an open floor plan, provide warmth and comfort from the mountains’ misty chill, as well as employment for local villagers.
IGCP continues to support Clouds, and is currently working with our community and conservation partners to further develop this already successful conservation model.
Please make a donation to support IGCP’s vital work.