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Community and Conservation

Connecting Volcanoes Lodges to Communities and Great Ape Conservation

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Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust

In 2024, we are reaching out to request your assistance for vital projects that Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust supports near our lodges in Uganda and Rwanda.

Our new partnership with Empowers Africa as our fiscal sponsor provides a simple way for contributions from US residents to be tax-deductible.

Connecting Lodges to Communities and Conservation

The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), established in 2009, is a non-profit organisation that connects Volcanoes’ Rwanda and Uganda lodges to the neighbouring communities and conservation activities. The VSPT receives funding through Volcanoes Safaris, which contributes $50 per night from each guest staying at a Volcanoes lodge, as well as grants from conservation organisations, private donations by our guests and others.

The VSPT aims to create long-term, self-sustaining projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities, promote the conservation of the great apes, restore natural habitats and work with communities and institutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict. As part of their stay at Volcanoes Lodges, guests get an opportunity to visit VSPT projects and to share the lives of the local communities.

Improving livelihoods, protecting fragile ecosystems, and conservation of great apes

Bwindi Bar, near Bwindi Lodge, provides training in hospitality to local disadvantaged youths.

The Gahinga Batwa Village, a permanent village for one of the oldest surviving indigenous people in the Central African Forest, the Mount Gahinga Batwa Community, was officially opened in 2018 in Gahinga, Uganda.

The Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project was launched in 2019. VS and VSPT have been working to safeguard the gorge ecosystem for over 10 years, and today are the largest single stakeholder in the gorge ecosystem after the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The Kyambura Lion Monitoring Project, launched in 2023, contributes to large carnivore conservation in Queen Elizabeth National Park through wildlife monitoring and annual surveys, education and training for young Ugandans in ecotourism and conservation, and by responding to human/wildlife conflict incidents. Lodge guests can participate by tracking their GPS on a game drive and taking identification photos of lions, which are then submitted to our wildlife team to form part of the census.

The Albertine Rift Ecosystems and Great Apes: Conservation Challenges 2022 to 2050

To celebrate our 25th anniversary we hosted a retreat at Mount Gahinga Lodge in November with twenty-five conservation partners on ‘The Albertine Rift Ecosystems and Great Apes: Conservation Challenges 2022 to 2050′.

It reflected on the successes and challenges of the last 25 years of working in the region and discussed collaborative action needed to take to safeguard the great apes and their tiny ‘island’ ecosystems going forward to 2050. The Albertine Rift Conservation and Tourism group was set up to coordinate ongoing action.

Here are some more VSPT community and conservation projects around Volcanoes Lodges
Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust Information

Further information is available in our Annual Reports:

The VSPT is a registered charity in Uganda (37536).

Make a donation to the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust

You can donate to the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust via PayPal or for tax-deductible donations from US residents via Empowers Africa. For tax-deductible donations from US residents donate via Empowers Africa.
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To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 years are allowed to go gorilla tracking. For guests booking a stay at Virunga Lodge, please note that the minimum age limit for children at Virunga Lodge is 12 years.

Safari Activities

Chimpanzee Tracking

Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.

Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.