Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley in Kanungu district. A typical safari in Uganda often times includes tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park. The major tour activity in Bwindi is Gorilla tracking and a maximum of 8 people can track a particular gorilla group per day, the Park has 20 gorilla families which habituated for gorilla trekking. Other tour activities include; bird watching, guided forest walks, Batwa cultural experience among others. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park sites on about 331 km² in size and over 460 km from Kampala to Bwindi National Park approximately 8 hours drive.
Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park abundant has wildlife and specifically being a home to over 400 of the world’s rare mountain gorillas. Out of 880 mountain gorillas that are still living in the world, half of them are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Mountain gorillas are scientifically called “Gorilla beringei beringei” and they are worldly recognized as the critically endangered species of all the primates. Mountain gorillas form the main attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and currently, there are 12 (twelve) Habituated Gorilla Groups that are designated for tourism. There are mainly four different trail heads for visitors to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and they include; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Bird species Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a place that never leaves out birders interest unanswered; the forest is also a home to 350 unique forest birds including the 23 endemic Albertine species, 25 of them are restricted-range species and 4 are world widely threatened. Here are the most common birds to see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Each bird is provided with scientific name. These include; African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Shelley’s Crimson wing.
What to wear when Tracking Mountain Gorillas.
Tourists are advised to come with walking boots good for hiking, extra layers of cloth for when it gets cold, A Rain Coat, Gloves. Thick trousers and a long-sleeved top are also ideal for tracking.
Besides the popular gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi, this activity can only be done in Bwindi Forest, Gorilla habituation experience is available in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla habituation is done all year round in Bwindi forest as well as booking for its permits, however, we recommend early bookings. A single habituation permit goes for 1,500 US dollars per person inclusive of park entry fees. Once you’ve booked your permit, you are guaranteed to spend four hours with gorillas contrary to one hour gorilla trekking encounter. While here, tourist are helped and involved in the habituation process by researchers, guides and trackers. You’ll spend four hours observing, photographing and learning how gorilla behavior adopts to human presence. Upon return from the forest you’re awarded a gorilla habituation experience certificate for your lifetime memories.
Hiking and nature walk
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers you an interesting activity-hiking/nature walks where tourists can get to explore several attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The hiking is normally from the north of Bwindi to the South. You can have an overnight stay and continue the next day down to Lake Mutanda where you paddle across in a wooden dugout and continue to the town of Kisoro. A boat ride is also possible at Lake Mutanda. The hiking time ranges from 5 to 9 hours or less. You can opt to have a Kashasha River Trail: While on this trail, be ready to spend at least 5 hours and it involves steeper inclines especially if you take the Buhoma to Nkuringo route which is 600 meters up at the end of the trail .Knowledgeable and experienced guides will answer all your questions about the wildlife and the birds, plants, flowers, ferns and trees in the area.
Being one of the most birding destinations in Africa with over 348 bird species have been recorded at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. And is the richest forest in East Africa with its known bio-diversity in terms of trees, plants, butterflies and birds and gives you a chance to bird lovers to have an opportunity to spot out different bird species and this has made Uganda one of the leading destinations for bird lovers in Africa such as , Western Green Tinker bird, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Kivu ground-Thrush, Montane Oriole, African Green Broadbill, fine-banded woodpecker, short tailed warbler, Regal sunbird, collared Apalis, the shinning African Blue, common Bulbul, impressing African Emerald, white-tailed Blue fly catchers and so.
Batwa cultural experience
The Batwa Experience will also show you how they lived in huts made of grass, trees, the use of tree-houses, caves. Experience the Batwa village life of old, the sharing, of living as a community, as a people, learn the things that they revered and cared of
Where to stay
State-of-the-art safari lodges have over the years been set up in Bwindi to provide comfortable accommodation to tourists who visit Bwindi for Gorilla tracking. These lodges range from budget to high-end luxury facilities which means the lodges tourists stay at will depend on their ability to afford them or their preference. Safari lodges in Bwindi include; Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Mahogany Springs, Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge, Silverback Lodge among others.
How to reach to Bwindi National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park can be accessed either by road from Kampala, Uganda’s capital or by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip. Scheduled flights from Entebbe to either Kihihi or Kisoro take about 2 hours to get there whereas traveling by road takes up to 9 hours to reach Bwindi.
Best time to track mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park
Tracking gorillas in Bwindi National Park can be done anytime of the year but most tourists prefer visiting from June, July, August and September and from December, January and February. These are dry months and are peak season for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
In Uganda, each gorilla permit costs USD 700 per person per trek, it is advisable to book your gorilla permit in advance at least 5 months. Gorilla permits are a requirement for one to be able to track mountain gorillas and acquiring these permits is best done through your tour operator in Uganda or through Uganda Wildlife Authority. The major tour activity in Bwindi is Gorilla tracking and a maximum of 8 people can track a particular gorilla group per day. Other tour activities include; bird watching, guided forest walks, Batwa cultural experience among others.