Exclusive D-Day Private Package with Context Travel

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2019 promises to be a huge year in terms of D-Day events in France, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of this historic landing. with commemorations all across Normandy, Paris and London. So you can bet that availability for tours this summer are extremely limited!

Which is why we were thrilled when Context Travel, one of the most esteemed guides in the world, announced a special D-Day overnight tour running this year.

If you’re lucky enough to be in France this year and a military history buff, it just might be up your alley.

The tour includes a full two days of insight the historic event from a French perspective, including the daily life of Parisians at the time, with an excursion to the Normandy beaches.

No online booking available! Call your WIT Travel Agent to book – but hurry as spaces are extremely limited! 503-224-0180 or inquiry@wittravel.com.

Subject to availability of Context Travel’s specialist guides. 

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75th ANNIVERSARY D-DAY PRIVATE TOUR PACKAGE

from $2648

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visits both Paris and Normandy
  • The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
  • Juno Beach
  • Omaha Beach
  • Place de la Concorde
  • Champs-Elysées
  • Normandy Beaches
  • École Militaire

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Day One

We’ll pick up our story in the Paris of 1940, exploring what life was like in the city under the four years of Nazi Occupation. Over the course of roughly 3 hours, we’ll learn about individuals like Helen Berr, Marchal Pétain, Sacha Guidry, François Mitterrand, the French Gestapo group Bonny-Lafont, and artists like Chanel and Picasso, using their stories as a window into the Occupation, the French Resistance, and the experiences of Jewish families living in Paris up to the Allied liberation in 1944. Our route will weave from the Left Bank to the Right, visiting sites relevant to the Occupation years like the Champs Elysees (where Hitler’s Grand Tour took place) and the Place de la Concorde. We’ll finish by discussing what happened to German collaborators, the return and reaction of Jewish survivors to their homes in Paris, and how France has since managed the historical weight of this turbulent period.

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Day Two

On our second day, we’ll pivot from a strictly Parisian viewpoint to take in a broader understanding of D-Day itself with a 12-hour excursion to Normandy. Starting in Paris, you’ll take a 2-hour train to meet your Context expert and driver at the Caen station. We’ll vary our particular stops based on the interests of your group, but typical sites along the Normandy beaches and coastline include Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Normandy American Cemetery, and Arromanches (where we’ll discuss Operation Overlord). In the company of your expert, you’ll witness firsthand the cliffs, beaches, and fortifications that were the site of the greatest amphibious landing in history as well as unspeakable losses on both sides.

Those venturing back to Paris will follow the footsteps of Allied soldiers as they officially reclaimed the French capital in August 1944, a mere 10 weeks after the D-Day landings. Regardless of your next destination, our two days examining the decisive impact of D-Day on France will leave us with a greater understanding of World War II in Europe as a whole.

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More posts with Context Travel: 

Japan for Families

London Walking Tours with Context Travel

Stockholm with Context Travel

Vatican After-Hours

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Travel News: Archaeological Discovery In Egypt To Boost Tourism

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Archaeological Discovery In Egypt To Boost Tourism

Travelwirenews reports in a major archaeological discovery, Egypt on Saturday unveiled the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official adorned with colourful reliefs and well preserved inscriptions. The tomb, near Saqqara, a vast necropolis south of Cairo, belongs to a senior official named Khuwy who is believed to have been a nobleman during the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt about 4300 years ago. “The L-shaped Khuwy tomb starts with a small corridor heading downwards into an antechamber and from there a larger chamber with painted reliefs depicting the tomb owner seated at an offerings table,” said Mohamed Megahed, the excavation team’s head, in an antiquities ministry statement. Flanked by dozens of ambassadors, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enani said the tomb was discovered last month. It is mostly made of white limestone bricks. Ornate paintings boast a special green resin throughout and oils used in the burial process, the ministry said. The tomb’s north wall indicates that its design was inspired by the architectural blueprint of the dynasty’s royal pyramids, the statement added. The excavation team has unearthed several tombs related to the Fifth Dynasty. Archaeologists recently found an inscription on a granite column dedicated to Queen Setibhor, who is believed to have been the wife of King Djedkare Isesis, the eighth and penultimate king of the dynasty. Egypt has in recent years sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism that took a hit from the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.

California Plans Ban On Single-Use Toiletry Bottles In Guest Bedrooms

Travelmole reports California could become one of the first places where hotels are banned from providing single-use mini plastic toiletry bottles in guest bedrooms. The US state’s lawmakers have proposed a bill to ban single-use plastic bottles in all guest accommodation to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. Instead, hotels would have to use re-fillable bulk dispensers. If the law is passed, it would take effect in 2023 and would ban plastic bottles under 12 ounces. “By not offering small bottles of personal care products, hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments can promote more sustainable business,” said assembly member Ash Kalra.

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Paris Restaurants To Charge Cancellation Fees & Fines To No-Show Clients 

RT .com reports cafes and restaurants in the French capital have opted to follow the lead of hotels and guest-houses, and start charging their customers with cash penalties for late cancellation of reservations or failing to appear in time. Hundreds of Paris eateries are currently adopting the system that is widely used in the hotel industry, the Times reports. Restaurants oblige clientele to leave details of their credit cards while making reservations, with big-name places warning customers over a potential charge in case of a no-show. The measure is reportedly connected to losses the restaurants have to suffer when people make several reservations for the same day and then cancel at least one of them. “Even in great restaurants, customers cancel without having the slightest idea of the economic impact of their action,” the managing director of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, an association of top restaurants Nicolas Chatenier told the media. Restaurants reportedly have to follow the trend due to French gastronomical habits, in particular, fondness for lengthy meals. 

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Singapore Changi Airport Opens Mega Mall

Changi airport on Wednesday opened a $1.7 billion retail and nature-themed complex that aims to give it a competitive edge as an air hub in the region. The 135,700 square meter, 10-story complex, named the Jewel Changi Airport, offers 280 retail and food outlets as well as a hotel and is linked to Changi’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3. It is more than just a shopping mall as it houses the world’s largest man-made indoor waterfall, surrounded by a lush artificially created rainforest to give shoppers a unique combination of both retail experience and leisure. Standing 40 meters tall, the gigantic circular water feature has become the main attraction for visitors with its water plunging from a height of about seven stories from an oculus in the huge glass roof of the building. The climate around the waterfall is controlled to appear cool and misty. The complex, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, is aimed at turning the airport into a tourist destination and attracting more transit visitors. Taking advantage of Singapore’s abundant rainfall all-year round, the waterfall uses rainwater that has been funneled into it, with the water also diverted for irrigation of indoor plants. Changi airport was voted by air travelers as the world’s best airport for the seventh consecutive year this year, with Tokyo’s Haneda airport in second place and South Korea’s Incheon airport coming third. It is the world’s seventh busiest airport for international traffic, with a record 65.6 million passengers passing through last year.

More information here: www.Jewelchangiairport.com

Other attractions at the Jewel include: 

  • It will house SIN’s largest indoor garden; Forest Valley, Canopy Park, light and sound show at the Rain Vortex which is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (5 stories)
  • Forest Valley is a 5-story garden, made up of around 3000 trees and palms with plant species from Australia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Thailand, and US
  • Canopy Park is located at the top level of the complex. Spanning 14,000 sqm (approx.. 11 Olympic-size pools), it is the home of the play attractions, a topiary garden and all-day dining options set within a/c comfort.
  • There are 2 mazes, a hedge maze and a mind0boggling mirror maze — And if that’s not enough, there is a walking net, suspended over a 25meter void. 

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Lake Mburo & Mihingo Lodge in Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations

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Sadly, Nancy’s trip to Uganda has come to a close – but we’re not finished with her trip yet on the blog!

She’s seen gorillas, monkeys, birds of every feather–and enjoyed fantastic lodges to tuck in at night. Her activity-rich itinerary was planned by the excellent tour operator, Africa Wild Explorations. 

For her last full day in Uganda, Nancy spent a day at Lake Mburo National Park, with a night at Mihingo Lodge.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, about 150 miles from Kampala. A safari will introduce you to local zebras, hippos, impalas, warthog, buffalo, jackal, leopard and over 300 of bird species! At 370 sq km, it may be the smallest park in Uganda, but within its borders it contains a whopping five lakes, as well as dry hillsides, savannah, forest, and wetlands where you’ll find thousands of birds. One of the most curious features is the salt lick, salty soil waterholes that draw in animals that you’ll find nowhere else in Uganda, such as the eland, impala and klipspringer. It’s also to the largest population of zebra (5,000) in the country!

Mihingo Lodge

Located about a 5-hour drive from Entebbe and within the park, the Mihingo Lodge is compiled of 12 permanent, tented cottages designed to make guests feel right at home. Each room has its own character, but all offer luxury furnishings, privacy, and stunning views. The lodge is privately owned by a couple in Kampala, and has been designed to blend in with the environment seamlessly. The managers are themselves a delightful and welcoming couple–he from Scotland, she from South Africa.

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Photo of Nancy’s Cottage

As Nancy reports, she was in the #10 Impala Cottage, about 7-minute walk from the lodge. Pictured here is the Impala, which overlooks a salt lick. At one point, there was a family of warthogs grazing between the cottage and the salt lick.

Bathrooms are located down the hallway outside the entrance door, with a curtain across the entrance and a rainshower shower. In a curtained-off section sits the toilet. If you lean forward, you can look into your bedroom!

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Photo from Nancy

Among the excellent activities in Lake Mburo National Park, Mihingo Lodge offers horseback safaris, walking safaris, hippo boat trips and night game drives. You can even try your hand out at tennis or simply watch bushbabies from below the bar.

Check out more beautiful photos of the lodge and the surrounding area here on Flickr.

 

A short film on the conservation and community efforts supported by Mihingo Lodge:

The environmental and community side of Mihingo Lodge produced by the Green Living Project.

We look forward to more photos and stories from Nancy about Uganda. Check back on the blog before long for those– 😉

For more adventures and vacation packages to Uganda or other African countries, contact Willamette Intl Travel expert travel agents at 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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The 7 Most Instagrammable Bits of Uganda

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Have you been following WIT Agent Nancy’s adventures in Uganda on the blog? Africa Wild Explorations has some jaw-dropping itineraries that get you up close to nature, “silverback” mountain gorillas – all at an affordable price.

For our penultimate post on Uganda, here are the most Instagrammable places in the country. See you all in Uganda! What are you waiting for? 😉

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park

2. Crater Lakes

3. The Equator (where’s your photo Nancy?) 😉

4. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

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5. Kibale Forest National Park

6. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

7. The Tree-Climbing Lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park

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Travel News: 6% More US Citizens Traveled Outside The Country In 2018

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6% More US Citizens Traveled Outside The Country In 2018
Skift reports more Americans traveled outside the United States than ever before last year, spurred by a growing economy, favorable exchange rates, and high consumer confidence. According to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, the number of US citizens traveling outside the country for business and leisure jumped by 6% last year, reaching a total of 93 million. Of those, 45% or 41.8 million flew to overseas destinations, 9% more than in 2018. Europe had the highest numbers and saw the biggest gain, up more than 12%, though the data also includes travelers going through Europe to other destinations. Other big gains came from travelers heading to Oceania, South America, and Asia. 

Isla Bella Beach Resort Opens In Marathon Key
Caribbean News Digital reports the Florida Keys’ highly anticipated Isla Bella Beach Resort officially opened to guests Monday. The five-star oceanfront resort is the first full-service luxury hotel in Marathon and the largest newly built private waterfront hotel in the Keys. Located at the entryway of the iconic Seven Mile Bridge, Isla Bella Beach Resort is two hours from Miami and just an hour from Key West. Highlights include 199 rooms and suites ranging from one to five bedrooms, one mile of private beach, five swimming pools, four dining outlets and more than 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Isla Bella Beach Resort also features convenient on-site water sports, a fishing pier and a marina. A full-service spa, fitness center and a marketplace retail and cafe concept will be added in May. The 4,000-square-foot spa will feature a relaxation room along with five dedicated treatment rooms, a lounge, couples massage room, steam room and a spa garden. The Spiaggia Suite will offer guests hair treatments, makeup application and other services while the 1,000-square-foot fitness center will boast state-of-the-art Peloton treadmills and bicycles in addition to free weights and other equipment. Activities and experiences available to guests will include complimentary kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and fishing as well as games such as badminton, bocce, croquet, giant chess, cornhole and volleyball, among others.

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One-hour London-New York Flights Move A Step Closer To Reality
Travelmole reports hypersonic jet travel has become a step closer to reality after UK researchers completed a milestone test in its plan to operate an aircraft capable of flying London-New York in under an hour. Reaction Engines has tested the aircraft at simulated speeds of Mach 3.3, three times the speed of sound, using ‘pre-cooler’ technology that allows the aircraft to travel at high speed without causing the engine to melt. The next stage will see the technology tested at Mach 5.5 (4,200 mph). At top speed, it could lead to superfast transatlantic flights, with aircraft traveling at up to Mach 25, or 25 times the speed of sound. That is the equivalent of flying London-New York in under an hour. Reaction Engines, based in Oxfordshire, built a testing facility on the ground in Colorado and used a General Electric J79 turbojet engine to replicate the conditions that the vehicle will experience at hypersonic speeds. The firm hopes to make a reusable vehicle that would combine the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power and speed of a rocket. The pre-cooler is designed to lower the temperature of compressed air rushing through an engine from more than 1,000C to room temperature in one-twentieth of a second, according to The Times. The new experimental engine would be called Sabre and would work like an ‘air-breathing rocket engine’. From take-off to Mach 5.5, the Sabre would draw oxygen from the atmosphere where it would be ignited in a rocket combustion chamber alongside stored liquid hydrogen. It would then switch to burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen from onboard fuel tanks, allowing it to reach 25 times the speed of sound to enter space. Mark Thomas, the Reaction Engines chief executive, told The Times: “If you can pull it off, it’s a game changer. It kicks conventional rocket engines into touch.”

Aegean Airlines Named ‘Best Regional Airline in Europe’ 2019
Greece’s Aegean Airlines has been named “‘Best Regional Airline in Europe” for 2019 at the Traveler’s Choice Awards for Airlines, according to travel website TripAdvisor. Aegean Airlines is also named Best Regional Business Class Europe and Best Airline in Greece for 2019. Aegean, the leading airline in Greece and member of the Star Alliance, carried 14 million passengers in 2018. The Greek airline had also received the same award in the 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards for Airlines. It was also honored with the Skytrax World Airline award, as the best European Regional Airline for 2018.

Aloha! Hawaiian Airlines’ Debuts Boston To Honolulu Flights As Longest Route Between States

USA TODAY reports the airline’s Flight 90 made history Friday as the country’s longest interstate route, traveling from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) on Thursday and arriving at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) on Friday morning. Hawaiian Airlines announced the new route in September. Boston was the biggest US market that didn’t have nonstop service to Hawaii before today. Going west, from Boston to Honolulu, the flight runs approximately 11.5 hours, and Honolulu to Boston runs about 10 hours. Travelers will fly 5,095 miles.

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Great Lakes May Be The Next Cruise Ship Hot Spot 

Travel+Leisure reports cruise ship operators on the Great Lakes are adding trips this season, and lines that left the destination are returning. According to the Chicago Tribune, industry experts are predicting that companies who have never traveled the Great Lakes area will be coming on board. Routes on the Great Lakes include an eight-day loop around Lake Michigan that begins and ends in Chicago, a 10-day trip between Toronto and Chicago, and a 16-day trip from Chicago to New York City on Great American Waterways passes through four Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. Many of the ships cater to fewer than 100 passengers, keeping the experience intimate. Blount Small Ship Adventures Pearl Seas Cruises, and Victory Cruise Lines are all either expanding their routes or adding new vessels. Ponant, a French luxury cruise line that hasn’t sailed the Great Lakes in a decade, is returning this season alongside the German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. New to the scene is the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which will start cruising in early 2020 and has expressed plans to eventually expand its fleet to the area. In addition, there are rumors that cruise giant Viking Cruises is considering the Great Lakes.

TSA’s New 3D Scanners Will Let Travelers Keep Laptops In Carry-On Bags

Open Jaw reports the new machines, with more advanced technology to detect explosives and other threats, will be phased into select airports this summer. New 3D scanners coming to airports across the country will allow travelers to keep laptops, liquids and other materials in their carry-on bags for inspection. The Transportation Security The roll-out will continue into next year. TSA began testing the 3D scanners at airports in Phoenix and Boston in June 2017. Since then, the machines have been expanded to 12 more locations. “These state-of-the-art 3D scanners will enable our screening officers to detect explosives and other threats to commercial aviation with unprecedented precision,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “The nation’s transportation systems are now better off, more secure, as a result of their [Congress’] work on funding this technology.” While the current 2D scanners only provide a few images from certain angles, the new machines use computed tomography (CT) to take hundreds of images per second with a spinning X-ray camera, building an interactive image that can be rotated and analyzed from 360 degrees by screening staff.

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Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations

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Mountain Gorilla Tracking: An Overview

The highlight of any wilderness visit to Uganda is obviously the mountain gorillas. Visitors from all over the globe flock to Uganda and Rwanda to see these majestic creatures.

WIT Agent Nancy has been traveling in Queen Elizabeth Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We look forward to her feedback and photos of firsthand tracking!

The images below of the mountain gorillas have been provided by Abiaz Rwamwiri, Managing Director of Africa Wild Explorations!

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Best Time to Go

Tracking gorillas can be conducted year-round, but the damp seasons of spring make the rainforest only pleasant in winter and summer. The high season to catch a glimpse of gorillas are December to February, then June to September.

All about Permits

The Uganda Wildlife Authority sells 96 gorilla permits per day for Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

Africa Wild Explorations organizes gorilla permits to that our guests don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to track them. In some cases, certain permits are purchased upwards of 1-2 years in advance!

What to Wear?

As with any jungle expedition, clothing can make or break your trip! Dress in warm layers. 

Remember to carry a rain jacket, waterproof tracking shoes / walking boots, light outdoor trousers, and long-sleeved shirts.

You’ll need a medium backpack to carry drinking water and lunchbox during gorilla tracking.

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So what are Mountain Gorillas?—the Deets

Endangered Mountain Gorillas native to East Africa are found nowhere else on the planet, not even in zoos. They can’t survive in confined areas, which makes them quite a rare sight to behold! Altogether there are upwards close to 800 mountain gorillas remaining the world. Half of them on in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and many are located in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

The first known European encounter was in 1902, when one German Captain von Berenge was climbing Mount Sabinyo. At around 9,300-ft altitude, his band spotted a group of Mountain Gorillas—much larger than the apes they were accustomed to seeing. They were hunted for sport for a few decades until preservation efforts were established. Gradually tourist infrastructure sprang up to support visitors who wanted to admire these huge beasts up close.

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Male gorillas can grow up to 6 ft tall, with a weight around 350-500 lbs and arm length of around 7 feet. Typically their hair is dark than their lowland counterparts, as they keep to colder climates. As they mature, a strip of hair on their backs turns silver, hence their popular moniker Silverbacks. These majestic creatures can live around 40-50 years, keeping to close-knit, nomadic groups and feeding on seasonal flowers, roots, fruits and shoots. Their tribes range from 2 to 30-40, but mostly found in groups of 10.

Unfortunately, Mountain Gorillas are severely endangered due to human encroachment. Though poachers are no longer a threat, at least in Uganda, diseases and environmental damage still threaten overall health and wellness of these groups.

Did you know…

Mountain Gorillas and humans share around 98% of the same genetic makeup?

They can communicate with a series of roars, grunts and shouts. Researchers have documented around 25 distinct sounds.

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mahogany Lodge

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WIT AGENT NANCY continues her escapades in Uganda this week with Africa Wild Explorations. Last week, it was all about Queen Elizabeth National Park. Read on to learn more about her adventures in Uganda!

Today, Nancy visits Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mahogany Lodge!

The park, also known as BINP, is located in SW Uganda on the edge of the Congo border. Within its 128 sq mi (331 sq km) rests 120 species of mammals, 348 types of birds and 220 kinds of butterflies. Not to mention loads of frogs, chameleons, geckos! It’s also among the most flora diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species.

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Visitors have a chance to spot colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and birds such as hornbills and turacos.

Its most famous inhabitants, however, are the around 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas! With such a high concentration, you can bet the local guides are excellent trackers. So chances that Nancy will see a gorilla are high!

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MAHOGANY SPRINGS

Located in the northern section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mahogany Springs is a luxury lodge for visitors coming to see the magnificent gorillas.

Mahogany Springs is one of the perfect lodges to reside in a night before and after your gorilla trek! Some gorilla families even like to swing by the lodge from time to time, so if you’re lucky, you might get a view of these gorillas not too far from your room. 

Other activities you can do from the lodge are forest and nature walks, Buhoma Village walk that takes you around tea and banana plantations, the home of the Batwa People who once inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest before it was designated as a national park. 

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The Rooms

Mahogany Springs is made up of different suites specially designed around the forest’s beauty. Each room has wide windows to allow for optimal views of the forest and nearby plantations. All suites/rooms have en suite bathrooms, dressing table and all beds have mosquito nets to protect you from any mosquito bite. The luxury hotel is one of the few lodges in the region that have Hydroelectric power, which means you can freely charge your cameras, phone, and laptop!

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