How it all started...
Bwindi Community Hospital was founded in 2003 by Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann. Formerly California residents, the Kellermanns moved to Uganda to serve the Batwa pygmies who were displaced from the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest after it was made a National Park in 1993. The work began as an outreach clinic under this tree and has grown into a 112-bed hospital providing health care and health education services to a population of over 100,000 people.
Originally the home of Dr. and Mrs. Kellerman, Bwindi Guest House evolved and grew to house the many volunteers who came to work at the hospital. Additional housing was built as the need grew and Bwindi Guest House is now comprised of six distinct houses, each of a different size and configuration to meet the needs of the various individuals, families and service groups we host.
Bwindi Guest House is available to host not just hospital volunteers but all guests who are looking for an affordable, safe and friendly environment in which to stay as they explore all the region has to offer.
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The Bwindi Community Hospital Guest House, aka Bwindi Guest House is a guest service facility. As its name indicates it is owned and operated by our local hospital. It exists to support the work of doctors and volunteers within the Hospital, Nursing School and Batwa Development Program. We welcome visitors and tourists from all over the world to enjoy our homes, meals and interact with the other visitors and volunteers who also stay here. Tourists and visitors are placed in homes based on their preference and activity in the area. Most tourists are here to see the Mountain Gorillas but often are intrigued by the Batwa people or getting to know the community and life that goes on. Below is a history of our homes and how they came to be. All of them were built by long term volunteers coming to Bwindi to work with our programs. They were handed over to the Guest House to be maintained and operated for the benefit of Bwindi Community Hospital. All guests are introduced to our programs and offered a free hospital tour or a visit to our nursing school any day of the week.
Monkey House. The first Guest House. Built by Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann in 2004 it was first their home and also the reception point for members of the community who came to assist in the work of establishing Bwindi Community Hospital: . Located on the hillside above the Hospital the Monkey House offers three bedrooms, three shared bathrooms and our main dining room space. Lunch and Dinner are served to Doctors, administrative staff and volunteers at the Monkey House seven days a week. It has always acted as a hub for volunteers, students, visiting doctors and Ugandans who are passing through Buhoma and engaging the Hospital. The backyard garden area of the Monkey House is visited almost daily by a troop of energetic Red Tail monkeys. There is an open air Banda built of timber, poles and roofed with banana fiber for outdoor seating and enjoyment of birds and all other manner of flora and fauna. The Monkey House has an ebb and flow of students, visitors and all other folks coming to learn about the Hospital. All guests receive meals and comfortable rooms within a short walk of the Hospital.
Blackie Shacky. Built by the late Steve “Blackie” Gonzales in 2012. Originally his home and peaceful place in the Jungle, Blackie became a local hero and legend. The origins of the nickname date back decades to his youth when his very black hair distinguished him from his classmates. He loved the Batwa people and gave many years of his life to serve and advance their cause. Champion of the Batwa Development Program and founder of the Batwa Experience: . Blackie left many stories behind and a wonderful home as one of his fingerprints. Due to chronic health challenges Blackie passed on but is still spoken of by many community members as an adventurer who loved a good party and having monkeys visit him on his back porch. Located adjacent to the Monkey House it is often chosen or offered as a private home for those who want a little more alone time. Renovated in 2016 Blackie Shacky is a great small family cottage, couples room or peaceful respite. Featuring one bedroom with timber and pole construction, a Queen bed & outdoor seating on the back porch. Blackies' original design placed the shower out on the deck open to the forest. The 2016 renovation shifted the shower to allow for an added toilet and built up cement / stone privacy walls that still offer a view of the forest.
Lower Gorilla House. Built by Dr. Kellermann and his wife Carol in 2010. In an effort to find some quiet in Buhoma they found land near the National Park. Located on a separate property bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest it offers the best location and view of any of our homes. Below the village of Nkwenda it is a very short five minute walk to the offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority and gorilla trekking. Babboons, Gorillas, numerous birds, monkeys and so much more are common sights right out the door of this home. Two bedrooms, one bathroom and a small kitchen. Able to host two couples, a family or a large group of up to 10 if needed. The Lower Gorilla has a large balcony facing the forest and is able to serve meals outside or in the dining room. Renovated in 2016 the Lower Gorilla House is our premier home for hosting tourists. Offering hot showers, solar electricity, guest access to the kitchen and limited internet connection it has been pleasing Guests for many years. Meals are served on site for tourists or can be taken at the Monkey House with other Hospital staff and volunteers.
Paul and Barbara’s House. Aptly named for Paul and Barbara Thomas from the United States. Long term volunteers with the Batwa Development Program: www.batwaexperience.com. Paul and Barbara moved to Uganda in 2014 to work with the Batwa people through Biblical storying & discipleship. Paul and Barbara left a wonderful home and legacy of service to the Guest House in 2017. Paul and Barbara’s House offers a studio style room with an open kitchen, enclosed toilet area and spacious balcony overlooking the forest. This home has solar electricity and running hot/cold water. Located below the village of Nkwenda it is a very short five minute walk to the offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority and gorilla trekking. Great home for couples, singles, or a small family. Can be configured to host up to four people. Meals can be served at the Lower Gorilla House next door, at the Monkey House down the road or prepared on site by guests on request.
Middle Gorilla House aka “Scott’s House”. Built in 2013 by Dr. Kellermann and his wife Carol. In his own words: “I would rather sleep here than any other place in the world.” Simple cabin with one large bedroom made of poles, timber floor, king size bed, comfortable seating and a small balcony. Private toilet, sink and shower overlooking the forest located outside on the balcony. Some have commented that it is the best shower they have had in Uganda. Natural feel like a cabin in the jungle. With solar electricity and running hot/cold water. Also offering its own small gas cooker for guests to boil water for tea/coffee or prepare a simple meal. Meals are served at the Lower Gorilla House on the same property or offered at the Monkey House down the road. Dr. Scott’s favorite activity is sitting on the deck at any hour drinking tea and eating popcorn while listening to all the birdsong. It is not uncommon to see primates of all sorts right out the door of Middle Gorilla. If the door had been left open Gorillas would have moved in themselves.
Upper Gorilla House. Built in 2012 by Sol Hansen long term volunteer with the Batwa Development Program. He came from the United States to volunteer for over two years as an engineer overseeing a number of different Rotary International water and sanitation projects for the Batwa People. Featuring a similar design to Blackie Shacky and Middle Gorilla the construction is natural poles, timbers and a woven fibre ceiling. Simple bedroom space with a King size bed, desk, chair and outdoor enclosed toilet and shower on the deck. Offering solar electricity and running hot/cold water. Located at the top of the property in Nkwenda very near the National Park entrance for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Meals offered at the Lower Gorilla House or Monkey House in Buhoma.