Activities in Bwindi National Park
Activities in Bwindi National Park are the different ventures in which travelers can engage in as they explore the beauty of the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda because of being home to the unique and rare mountain gorillas that stay in the park’s Impenetrable Rainforest. This ancient rainforest makes up 90% of this park and covers an area of 331 sq.km that make up the home of over 400 mountain gorillas living in the park.
Bwindi National Park is located in south western Uganda and borders Rwanda to the north. The park is about 8 to 9 hours from Uganda’s capital Kampala and about 2 to 3 hours from Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
Though the park is mainly visited for the mountain gorilla trekking activities, it also has a variety of tourism activities in Bwindi National park that one can take part in on their visit to the park. Below we highlight the top tourism activities done in Bwindi National Park.
Mountain Gorilla trekking
As stated, Bwindi National Park is home to over 400 mountain gorillas so tourists are always flocking the park for a chance to get to see the mountain gorillas in their in natural habitat. Seeing mountain gorillas in their habitat is known as mountain gorilla trekking because it involves climbing up the mountainous rain forest to locations where the mountain gorillas are.
Mountain gorilla trekking takes place all year round at a mountain gorilla trekking permit fee of 700 USD per person per a trek. The trekking experience allows you to visit one of the 22 gorilla families that include:-
- Nshongi among others.
These mountain gorilla families are spread across four sectors that are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhija.
For any mountain gorilla trekking experience, one must be fit enough to take on a climb in the forest, healthy without any communicable disease that can easily be spread to the gorillas among other rules and guidelines, which are normally communicated to you by the park authorities before the trek.
On your trekking experience you will also see a couple of forest species that include birds, butterflies, monkeys, unique tree species, and several forest animals.
You should know that Mountain gorilla trekking permits are highly on-demand and therefore acquired at least 3 months in advance directly from Uganda wildlife Authority or through a tour operator.
Bwindi National Park, being covered up of the mountainous impenetrable rain forest, offers great hiking trails that give a tourist a thrilling feel of the forest and breath taking views of the surrounding areas. Hiking is normally done on 6 main trails in the forest that include:-
- Muyanga waterfall trail
- Rushura hill walk
- Muzubijiro loop trail
- Buhoma-Nkuringo trail
- ivi river walk
- Habinyanja trail.
Each hiking trail gives you a unique experience and sightings of birds, butterflies, waterfalls, vegetation and tree species; if you are lucky you can also spot some primates roaming around the forest. Hiking activities are either done in the morning or the afternoon though some hiking experiences take the whole day.
Hiking in Bwindi National Park is done all year round but mostly during the dry seasons, that’s when the hiking trails are less soggy and easy to hike.
Bwindi National Park is home to over 300 species of birds that can be seen as one walks through this rainforest. Birding enthusiasts normally take on hiking trails that allow them to see all these numerous birds that include:-
- White-tailed blue flycatchers
- Blue-headed sun-bird
- Red headed Blue-Bill
- African Emerald cuckoo
- short-tailed warbler and many more
Birding in Bwindi National Park, is done all year round in the park as additional activity to mountain gorilla trekking.
Mountain biking is an adventurous activity that involves riding a mountain bike on the mountainous trails in and around the park’s impenetrable forest. The activity, unlike other park activities, is not managed by the park but rather they managed Ride 4 a woman organization that is a charity organization that supports the women that stay around the park. The mountain biking trails are mainly in Buhoma, the activity can be done in other sectors too. On this adventure, you climb the mountain trail and you enjoy beautiful sceneries of the surrounding, also sighting some primates and wildlife.
Cultural tours in Bwindi National Park are done around the park, where one visits the different communities that stay close to the Park to experience the people’s unique heritage and culture through taking part in their normal way of life, taking part in food harvesting and cooking, engaging in local songs and dances plus storytelling among other things. The people that stay around the park are the Batwa and the Bakiga.