My sister had been longing for a relaxing trip out the city, so to celebrate her birthday we chose the perfect destination; Fort portal. Our smooth drive (except for one part where the road is being fixed, led us to Chimpanzee Forest guest house.
Chimpanzee Forest Guest House is in Isunga, 10 kilometers away (20 min drive) from the Chimps tracking point at Kibale Forest National Park. It has been operational since 1950 but officially became a guest house an 2003.
Now family owned and run by a Ugandan family, it is an ancient old colonial house, with views of tea plantations and Kibale forest national park. It was the former residence of the British district commissioner in the 1950s, during Uganda’s colonial period and has been wonderfully cared for ever since to welcome guests from all over the world.
Bar Lounge and Restaurant
Comfortably relaxing at the well-furnished lounge, we enjoyed beautiful panoramic views of ancient crater lakes, and the Rwenzori Mountains. Our breakfast was served with views and a beautiful sunrise. Lunch and dinner were three course meals, each delicious leaving us stuffed.
They grow their own lettuce, onions, cauliflower, matooke, wild tomatoes, and pineapples with a tea plantation where guests can learn how to pick tea and how it’s processed. The starter’s feature freshly baked bread and delicious soups.
This was also where we celebrated her birthday with a delicious fruit cake baked by the chef.
We enjoyed out stay in the well-kept tents at the camping site that are popular with many. Camping grounds have enough space, but may also require you to carry your own tents. Campers have access to the bar and restaurant, as well as shared bathrooms and toilets.
There are also six self-contained cottages (Bandas) with panoramic views of Kibale Forest National park and the surrounding tea plantations
Work with the community
Most of the staff at Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse are from within the community. They are willing to take you on community walks, to visit children and their families.
The gardens are also maintained by part-time workers that come to the guest house daily to keep it neat and well kept.
Things To Do;
This is a very special experience where the locals are happy to teach and explain the whole process of growing and harvesting tea. You also learn about different types of tea and their gestation period. This takes between 1 -2 hrs mainly walking through the tea fields and interacting with the locals while they harvest tea and cater to the nursery beds.
Amazing Views At Top of the world
This is a three to four hour walk/hike, where we walked through tea plantations passed crater lakes, gardens, bushes around the community and interacted with local children and saw fishermen at the crater lakes.
To get to the top of the world hill, there is a slight ascent that brings you to the 3 crater lakes displayed clearly at your feet as you relax at the newly set up café. You can also opt to drive here, which takes about twenty minutes from Chimpanzee Forest Guest house.
Crater Lakes Exploration
This is another scenic walk that takes about two to three hours, walking through the community and giving you a chance to interact with the locals in the area. The three crater lakes you will see are called Lake Nyabikere, Lake Nyinabulitwa and Nyamirima and the knowledgeable guides will explain the history and background of the craters and their value to the community.
I penciled this down for next time. The falls are a long distance hike from Chimpanzee Forest Guest House taking about five to eight hours (around12kms one way) We were told the Mahoma water falls are a unique feature.
Birders will love this bird-haven. There are all kinds of birds here that call the several trees home. You can also continue to the 2-3 hrs activity to walk around the three crater lakes point out spots for birds. There are so many beautiful species of birds around these areas including water birds, black-and-white-casqued hornbills, crowned hornbills, malachite kingfishers, and wood land kingfishers, blue breasted giant kingfisher, turacos, robin charts and many more!
We really enjoyed our stay here, which was made special by the manager Nicholas with his staff who go out their way to make you feel comfortable. My sister “It was the perfect birthday!”