Help with conservation efforts for the protection of mountain gorillas and the incredible Bwindi forest.
About the Program
Big Beyond’s conservation program predominantly takes place within the communities, raising support for the conservation of the forest, its gorillas and other natural resources. We focus on both children and adults, aiming to show them the value of protecting their remaining forest. We are also striving to regenerate the natural environment within the communities and work closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to achieve a variety of goals, inside and outside the National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an ancient forest in Africa's Western Rift Valley, renowned for being home to half the world's rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Its survival is important for various reasons. Gorillas live in a small island amongst cultivated land, relying on this pocket of forest for survival. Bwindi is also a very important and rich ecosystem with great biodiversity. Bwindi could be a contributor to climate change challenges and is a critical water source for the local people, amongst many other human benefits. Conservation within the national park is therefore critical for the residing wildlife, the neighbouring communities and Uganda as a whole, through tourism.
Big Beyond Uganda volunteers live within the Great Rift Valley on the edge of a mountain rainforest called Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in the far south west of the country. It's a breathtaking little corner of the world, home to one of the world's most endangered primates - the incredible Mountain Gorilla.
Green, lush, mountainous and remote, it's not dry dusty Africa some may know and you'll be travelling away from the masses, to a very friendly community we know you'll enjoy living in. We're nestled in a beautiful small village right on the southern borders of one of Africa's most impressive national parks, surrounded by rolling hills, majestic lakes, tropical rainforest, extinct volcanoes - it's an awesome landscape with immense biodiversity.
Projects are based in and around the "town" (or big village) which will sometimes involve walking to reach the people you're working with, particularly if it's the Batwa tribe who live right on the edges of the forest where there's no road. It's a place where you'll keep fit (if you like that sort of thing), but for those that don't, nothing is very far away. In your free time the hiking is brilliant, the wildlife surreal, you're surrounded by nature and you get to live and work with fun, inspiring local people. This unique opportunity offers you authentic immersion in rural Africa where you'll feel totally safe, relaxed and inspired every day.
We do not work directly with the gorillas, but we do a critical work to help with both their survival and that of the forest which they inhabit. Conservation work is incremental, dynamic and varied.
You're well placed to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Africa! We can help organise incredible adventures, from cultural explorations to wildlife and wellness experiences. The local area is perfect for trail running, hiking, gentle strolls, bakiga dancing and learning new skills from the local people.
Of course one thing you shouldn't miss when you come to this part of the world is gorilla trekking. You need a permit to track gorillas in Bwindi and only 12 permits are issued per day per gorilla group, in order to limit human to animal contact. We can help organise your permit.
Day or weekend trips could also include climbing the Virunga Volcanoes, relaxing at Lakes Bunyoni or Mutanda, or perhaps safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park
Activities are not included in the programme, fee but we will help make arrangements for you in advance of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the excitement of what’s to come. If you’d prefer to decide once you’re out there - that’s no problem either, just speak to our expert team in Uganda and they’ll organise everything for you.
You’ll be escorted by one of the Big Beyond team from Kigali, across the border to your new home in Uganda. The journey is a combination of private vehicle and public transport. The journey takes about 5 hours door to door and goes past some beautiful scenery, so get a window seat and start getting excited!
Our cosy and rural retreat has bed space for ten people. Depending on how many volunteers are around, you may have your own room, although it’s more likely that you’ll be sharing. Some rooms have bunk beds, others singles and there’s a double bed for any resident couples. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. We harvest water from rain and heat it over a fire, so you'll be able to indulge in hot showers. There's also a cosy, communal living and dining area, both inside and out.
We will provide three vegetarian, nutritious and locally-sourced meals a day, sometimes traditionally Ugandan (chapatti, sweet potato and rice) and sometimes a little more international (pizza, homemade bread and lentil curry). There's not refrigeration and there's also not a wide range of food available here, as you may be used to, but we try to be creative at mealtimes.
We aim to strengthen cultural values that can be lost in a changing world, raise pride and celebrate the mix of different cultures in the area.
Help the community to benefit from Uganda’s emerging tourism industry. The Bwindi Tourism Club is under development and we need volunteers to help.
We work in health prevention. Projects may include teaching preventative methods, running events, doing health research or improving the local clinic.
Education lies at the core of our development objectives, because knowledge builds individual capacity, understanding, and ultimately, greater choice.
We reach deep into the villages to drive local economic development. Set the foundations for sustainable businesses in the community.
Large or intimate, we have found that events are one of the best ways to engage the community, impart positive messages, and to entertain.