Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is notable for having over 400 mountain gorillas and is one of Africa’s ancient habitat that is still holding half of the world’s population of great apes. Uganda is blessed country to host such a place which has impacted on Uganda’s economy and not only that but also to develop Uganda’s tourism industry. In 1991 Bwindi Impenetrable national park was gazetted as a forest reserve and a game reserve to protect wildlife species more especially the endangered mountain and in 1994 was put on the list of the world heritage site because of ecological importance. The park is located at the rim of the Albertine western Rift valley of kigezi highland in south western Uganda in Kanungu district and it covers a total land of about 331 square kilometers of both montane rain forest and lowland forest which can be easily accessed on foot. The park is a sanctuary for chimpanzee, colobus monkeys, birds, and mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas are habituated in 14 gorilla groups which were open for tourism in four different sectors of Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga and Nkuringo which are available for gorilla trekking but each in different location of the park. The park is under the management of Uganda wildlife Authority.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is situated where the plains and mountain forest meet at a low altitude to the high altitude of the forest. The park is at an elevation that ranges between 1,190 to 2,607 meters above the sea level and the highest elevation is in Eastern rim of the park at Rwamunyonyi hill and the lowest part is at the northern edge of the park.
The park has a tropical climate with an annual temperature that ranges from a minimum of 7°C to 15°C and a maximum of 20°C to 27°C degrees Celsius. However, Bwindi is located in the coolest region of Uganda, which receives an average annual rainfall that ranges between 1400 to 1900 millimeters. The peak rainfall normally happens from March to April and from September to November and the best peak dry seasons occur from June to September and December to February. These are the months when there is less rain in the region and are the same months to visit the park to encounter the beautiful species of mountain gorillas and other species here.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park boosts with mountain gorillas that are still existing above all is a home of variety of species such as 27 species of frogs, 220 species of trees like brown mahogany, 200 species of butterflies, more than 104 species of fern, 120 species of mammals, 10 primates such as red tailed monkeys, vervets, black and white colobus, L’hoest’s monkeys, common chimpanzees, African golden cat, African civet, 350 bird species like African board bill, Black-bee-eater, Black-billed turaco, Black-faced rufous warbler, Black-faced Warbler, Blue-headed Sunbird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Many-coloured bush-shrike, mountain masked apalis, Neumann’s warble, Handsome francolin, Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori apalis, Western green tinker bird, yellow-streaked green bull, Olive-breasted greenbul and many more other species that can make your wildlife tour in Bwindi amazing.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
However, Bwindi impenetrable national park is best known as a great destination for encountering mountain gorillas but there are other interesting activities and attractions a traveler can enjoy and such activities include bird watching, visiting the batwa pygmies, game viewing, nature walk and many more.
Gorilla trekking: This is the most done and awesome activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that starts in the morning hours at around 8:30 and you can spend almost a day depending on the gorillas’ movement. Before proceeding to forest trail heads they will first brief you about gorillas rules, you will be given your packed lunch and mineral water bottle because you never know you might spend a day in mist of gorillas. To be part of gorilla trekking a traveller must be holding a valid gorilla permit as an evidence for you trek in any sector as wishes to visit such sectors include Buhoma in north, Ruhija in East, Nkuringo in south and Rushanga in south part of the park but there is a maximum of 8 people who are allowed to participates in this unique activity. Gorilla trekking is accompanied by Uganda wildlife Ranger who leads you to their nature habitant and as your trekking you will be given one hour to watch them with their nice looking brown eyes, playing, feeding their young ones, with in this one hour you can take photography as many as you wish with your digital camera and you should note this flash camera are not allowed to take photos as you’re with them because that might seem to scare them away. Bwindi is safe and secure for gorilla trekking tours in Uganda and this is the best activity of which most of the tourists do engage in and the number of tourists increases each year rewarding Uganda to be the top-visited a destination because of these great apes ‘mountain gorillas.
Gorilla habituation: In Africa, Uganda is the only country that offers to visitors with this gorgeous gorilla habituation experience which can be conducted only in Rushaga sector which hosts five gorilla families available for gorilla habituation experience such as Nshongi, Kahungye, Busigye, Bweza, Mishaya gorilla family along with help of researcher and guides in Bwindi impenetrable forest. This is one of the exciting experiences in Africa which lasts in four hours and only four people are allowed to engage in gorilla habituation experience. When it comes to being part of this activity you get a chance to see real mountain gorillas that are still existing in the earth. And gorillas of the sector are trained to get closer to human presence. To be part of this marvellous activity you need to buy or to book your gorilla permits in advance like 6month ahead of your visitation on gorilla habituation tour and the permit costs USD1500 per person per day.
How to get the permits? Gorilla permits can be got through the help of the tour operator or buy them directly from Uganda wild life Offices by calling them on office online. However, you can email us or call us “Achieve global safaris“ for more details about gorilla permits and we do care for our clients and we can as well as book for you were to sleep.
Visiting the Batwa pygmies: Batwa pygmies were the first people to inhabit the forest and are known as the hunter gatherers. They lived in peace with mountain gorillas during ancient years and they used to feed on forest fruits with these great apes. Visiting these people, you get a chance to learn more about these pygmies, teach you how to prepare traditional food, they are good at telling stories, singing, and dancing.
Guided nature walks: Guided nature walks can be conducted in Bwindi impenetrable forest as travelers are walking through these natural thick forest they can turn out to see many species as well as listening to sweet melodies of birds. Primates include Red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white monkeys, you can as well as spot out different species of birds like African green pigeon, African harrier hawk, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Giant kingfisher, Crowned hornbill and many more.
As a traveler continues to move through this forest with a guide you can come across river trails where you can encounter many interesting things with great viewing of the Virunga conservation area, Rwenzori mountain. Some of the Rivers include River Ivi, River munyaga, Ihihizo, Ntegyere River which flows into Lake Edward and some flow in Lake mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi. The nature walk done in here can give you an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation in Bwindi Forest
To note each sector offers beautiful lodges with comfortable beds and the panoramic view is rewarding and whatever lodge you select to sleep in depends on which sector you choose to trek in and such lodges range from luxury, budget, and mid-range.
The lodges have good facilities, easy location. They include Clouds lodge, Gorilla forest camp, Silverback lodge, Buhoma lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Camp, Ruhija Gorilla lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Bwindi view Banda’s, Buhoma community Bandas, and many more other nice-looking accommodation facilities with well-trained chefs who prepare delicious food.
What to carry on the gorilla trekking tour?
Travellers are advised to carry essentials that much with the climate of these place, where Bwindi in located the area is cool and such essentials include; warm clothes, day bag backer, hiking boots, sweater, long sleeved shirt, trouser, insect repellent, mineral water bottle, some energy snacks, hat, digital cameras but not flash cameras are not allowed and many.
Rules and Regulations followed on gorilla trekking tour.
- Travelers must be in good health and able to hike.
- Travelers must stay in a tight group when you are close to gorillas.
- You must keep your voice at a low level.
- You should not eat, smoke or drink near gorillas.
- Flash photography cameras are not allowed in the mist with gorillas.
- Travelers must respect the limited number of visitors allowed to engage in gorilla trekking and the number of people must be 8 visitors only.
- Do not touch gorillas.
- When you reach where gorillas are allocated stay 7 meters away from them.
- You should not leave the rubbish in the park.
Accessibility of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable national park can be easily accessed by both Air and Road. Travelers can start their journey from Kampala the capital city of Uganda as the main starting point with the help of tour operators. Kampala passing mbarara town via Queen Elizabeth National park direct to Kisoro town up to main destination takes 7 to 8 hours by drive. Alternatively, you can decide to fly from Entebbe Airport using Aero Link Airline to Kihihi Air strip just located near the park which takes 1 hour and 40 minutes by Air.