Meet Ben Lubega: Expert Guide at Gorilla Forest Camp
Ben has been part of the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp team for almost seven years now. Guests always comment on how friendly, helpful and professional he is on their Uganda safari. As in any job there have been challenges. Ben recalls once having to make a stretcher out of trees and branches for a guest who had collapsed during gorilla tracking, fulfilling his passion for making the guest happy and comfortable, no matter what.
What made you want to be a guide?
I loved nature from childhood, it was becoming a guide that made my dream came true!
I was born in a village located 7kms from the capital, Kampala, and I'm part of the Muganda tribe. It was not until Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp advertised a vacancy for a driver in 2008 I applied and was appointed and my duties included picking clients up from the airstrip to the camp and to the tracking points. I was sent on two guides training course which was conducted by Uganda Safari Guides Association.
What was your best wildlife experience on Uganda safaris?
My best experience hands down is the day I came face to face with the giant silverback mountain gorilla. It was a life changing moment that I will never forget. Looking through the glaring eyes I saw a gentle giant!
Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
I also saw a group of male buffalo drive a pride of lions away so that a herd could cross the other side and that was something special to experience first-hand.
What makes a good game tracker?
Following rules and regulations governing the Bwindi National Park and allowing enough time for all the animals so that guests have a prime experience.
Cheeky L'Hoest's monkey
What do you love about Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp?
Working for Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp has made my dream come true, seeing that I have loved nature my entire life. Right from childhood, I used to have lions and elephants as toys. Some of my childhood memories are about visiting the zoo - during school trips. However, being a neighbour to the endangered mountain gorillas is a privilege and I will never forget this experience in my life.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
What are your favourite game viewing locations within this larger safari region and why?
The Queen Elizabeth National Park is my favourite due to the vast game viewing opportunities plus lots of rare game like the leopard.
What is your favourite animal and why?
It's the lion. I learnt a lot about it when I was young through childhood stories and movies. Today, if you miss seeing a lion during a game drive, clients are not happy at all!
While I'm a game lover and really in love with the big five, my other passion is birding in the rainforest. With over 350 bird species filling the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, guests have enjoyed numerous wonderful bird sightings both in and out of the camp. A particular favourite among the guests has been the ornately feathered Crested Crane. Walking with such grace and beauty, it is a pleasure to watch.
What is your favourite season?
The peak season for a Uganda luxury safari is from June to November is the best. While I am game lover and really in love with the big five, my passion is also for birding in rainforests.
What languages do you speak?
I speak English, Luganda (mother-tongue), Swahili and Rukiga (local area language).
What items do you always pack for safari?
My reference books, picnic kit, binoculars and uniform.
Ben Lubega, guide at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda.