Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is one of the top safari destinations that offers the best viewing opportunity in the world for these unique critically endangered mountain gorillas ‘’primates’’ and is the major highlight of any trip to Uganda. Above all, it is a home to half of the world’s great apes ‘’mountain gorillas’’ whose encounter and consequent eye contact is quite exciting and a rewarding wildlife encounter in the entire Africa .This Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park is the oldest and most biologically diverse tropical rain forest with range of 400 species of plants. Moreover, Bwindi sits on the rift valley in south-western part of Uganda ,a home that protects at least 120 species of mammals ,202 species of butterflies,350 species of birds ,163 species of trees,100 fern species and over 27 frog species like geckos ,chameleon and many other endangered species that makes Bwindi Impenetrable national park worth a visit in the ‘’Pearl of Africa’’ hospitable country.
In fact, Bwindi Impenetrable national park become a gazetted forest reserve in 1991 to protect our lovely critically endangered mountain gorillas and in 1994 it become a UNESCO designated World Heritage site popular for endangered Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees,and these two African rare apes are listed as endangered animals in the IUCN Red Data Book .The park has gorilla trekking as the main selling tourist attraction with 4 gorilla trekking trailheads or sectors where gorilla trekking can be carried out such as Buhoma ,Nkuringo ,Ruhija and Rushaga sector. It also comprises 21 groups of endangered mountain gorilla families which have been habituated and ready for trek. Note ,only 8 visitors are booked per group per day to engage in this precious activity through allocating you in one gorilla family on that particular day. These forest trails lead tourist to various attractions including waterfalls, rivers, swamps and high level of wildlife concentration. Apart from Gorilla trekking being the major attraction within the park, birding is another attraction that provides a great encounter to see various Albertine endemics like the short-tailed warbler.
Despite the fact, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hosts the largest number of the World’s mountain gorillas with over 600 individuals out of the total of 1063 mountain gorillas that are stipulated in three countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Congo but the half of the total is found in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga national park.
Geographically, Bwindi lies in the coolest region of Uganda which receives average annual rainfall that rises between 1400 to 1900 millimetre, in such a way that heavy rainfalls usually happens from March to April and October to November. Then peak seasons do happen from June to September and December to February but with less rainfall in the region thus leading to great encounter of these critically mountain gorillas and other species.
However, Bwindi Impenetrable national park has got remarkable activities and attractions a traveller can’t go complaining as explained below;
Gorilla trekking experience is the most done activity in the park because it is an exciting and rewardable activity of getting closer to our dear related cousins said to be 99% DNA to humans. It starts in the morning hours after your early morning breakfast then be transferred to park headquarter at 7:30 am for briefing. At exactly 8:00am head to the forest accompanied with the guide to look for gorillas but assure that you carry your packed lunch boxes, rain jacket, worm clothes. Gorilla trekking is done in a group of 8 people and can take 2 to 8 hours depending on where the gorillas were last seen the previous day. Trekkers you need to be physical fit in the body to manage the hikes. Once gorillas are located, you will be given one hour to spend with them as you learn about their stunning social life as well as photography. Trekkers endeavour to carry a camera fully charged. Gorilla trekking costs USD 700 for foreign non-resident ,600USD for foreigner resident and 250,000UGX for East African citizens.
This is hallmark experience similar to gorilla trekking but time differs and in Africa it can be done only in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Gorilla habituation experience is a process that take 1 to 2 years under a training of staying with human for long hours ‘’four hours’’ and only four persons are allowed to participate in Gorilla habituation experience .It starts early in the morning and accompanied with researchers ,doctors ,park rangers who gives you a right information about the species and you’re free to ask them any question. The trekker involves in collecting samples and learning more about mountain gorillas as well as having memorable photograph. Note, Gorilla habituation experience goes for USD1500 per trek per day.
How to get a Gorilla Permits?
Uganda Gorilla permits can be got by the help of the trustworthy tour operator or bought directly from Uganda Wildlife Offices through contacting them online. If you don’t mind you can call us Achieve Global Safaris for more inquiry on how to get your gorilla permit.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is also a birder’s paradise with over 350 which can be spotted on visitors’ visit to the park such as Cinnamon-chested bee eater, Black faced rufous warbler, Blue headed sunbird, Black-bee eater, Black billed turaco, Africa civet, Handsome francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori apalis, Western green tinker bird, Yellow streaked green bull, Olive breasted greenbul, Mountain masked green tinker bird, Neumann’s warble among others.
Visiting Bwindi on your Gorilla trekking tour never leave without visiting the Batwa trailheads and have a great chance of listening to their interesting stories on how they used to survive with mountain gorillas in the forest before Bwindi gazetting into a national park, learn to prepare food locally as well as getting entertained by their traditional dance.
The park has got four trekking sectors such as Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushanga stipulated in different regions within the park. Each sector has comfortable lodges and it’s good to always book your accommodation closer to the sector you’re to trek in. They include; Gorilla forest, Bwindi view Bandas, Ruhija Gorilla lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Clouds lodge, Silver back lodge, Buhoma lodge among others attached with professional chiefs.
Essentials to carry with on Gorilla Trekking Tour
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is located in coolest areas where rain is unpredictable which can fall at any time of the day in order for you to be safer on your visit here endeavour to carry essentials like rubber hiking shoes, warm clothes, energy snacks, long sleeved trousers and blouses, insect repellent, water proof day pack to protect your digital camera, documents, packed food, sweaters among others.
Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations as follows;
- Do not smoke, eat or drink near gorillas
- Do not litter rubber in the park
- Wash your hand before you set off for gorilla trekking or sanitize
- Wear face mask
- Do not touch gorillas are wild animals
- If your sick you’re not allowed to trek because we share almost the same DNA. They are easily affected by human diseases such as flu, diarrhoea.
- Keep a distance of 7 meters away from them
- Always look straight in their eyes
- Always follow the instruction given by the guide
- Only 8 individuals are allowed to engage in gorilla trekking.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park takes a long journey to access it starting from Kampala or Entebbe is approximately 9 to10 hours’ drive but the driving journey is quite awesome than Air transport. Alternatively, a traveler might decide to fly from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to fly to Kihihi Airstrip a nearby airstrip to the park by domestic flight –Aero link Airline ‘’1:30 hours’’.