While the accommodation at the ORTPN Rest house, also known as Gisakura Guesthouse, is rudimentary, this is offset by its friendly team and, especially, by its great location – on the very edge of the forest.
All its 12 rooms are pretty simple and share a number of bathrooms. Each block of rooms are made from brick, wood and tiles and offer little more than a bed and some shelving. The traditional home-cooked food is uncomplicated and, depending on the duration of your stay, may get a little repetitive.
However, while you are here, the accommodation will be the last thing on your mind with some of Africa’s most arresting scenery only a short guided walk away. You’ll rapidly be immersed in the intense flora, with old mahoganies, tall ebonies and giant tree ferns towering above you, whilst orchids and other epiphytes cling to every branch.
The mountain forest is awash with color, with brightly colored birds everywhere and, if you walk quietly, you may encounter some of the forest’s larger residents. It harbors about 275 different birds, hundreds of butterflies and over 75 different species of mammals – including 13 primates (about a quarter of Africa’s primates).
The forest walks here are excellent, lasting from one to six or seven hours, and generally follow pathways but may deviate off if you are lucky enough to spot some chimpanzees or other primates. The guides will then take you off through the bush, which can be quite challenging, but will hopefully be rewarding, affording you much better views.
We can arrange for you to track chimpanzees, or search for Ruwenzori Columbus monkeys, which can be found here in troupes of several hundred.
The birds are spectacular, though as in most tropical forests, you’ll have to look hard for them. Giant horn bills, great blue turncoats and red-breasted sparrowhawks are amongst the specials, of which 24 are endemic to this section of the Rift Valley.