Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Uganda Gorilla Trekking Destination
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in southwestern Uganda 9-10 hours’ drive from Kampala and 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali-Rwanda. It is shared by Kisoro, Kanungu and Kabale districts and expands up to 331sq.kms featuring a vast montane forest where most of its iconic creatures are confined. It is one a few magical protected areas in Africa that su elevation of about 1160 to 2607m.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a home to about 120 mammal species which include among others half of all the 1004 mountain gorillas on earth, chimpanzees, rodents, bats, elephants, antelopes, red tailed monkeys, baboons to mention but a few.
For all avid enthusiasts, it is such an exceptional birding site to explore in Uganda. Over 350 bird species are all confined in this pristine protected area including over 23 Albertine endemics and over 14 do not exist in any part of Uganda.
The birds to identify in Bwindi National Impenetrable Park include the African green broadbill, brown necked parrot, white tailed blue flycatcher, Turacos, hornbills, Frazer’s eagle owl and many others.
About 220 colorful butterfly species exist in this park plus over 27 frog species as well as 1000 unique flowering plant species, over 163 and 104 of them are tree and fern species respectively which makes it one of East Africa’s diverse protected areas.
What to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain gorilla tracking (Gorilla Trekking Safaris)
Bwindi National Park is remarkably one of the only 4 spectacular protected areas in the entire world where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live and one area where you can catch a glimpse at them while in their natural habitat.
Over 500 of them call this park their home and this represents about half of all those that live on earth today. Gorilla trekking is such amazing and thrilling primate adventure any visitor on gorilla safari in Uganda shouldn’t miss.
To strike your imaginations with these dramatic creatures, Bwindi Forest National Park comprises of 4 major tracking areas where treks usually start from and they include Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga. Each of these sector features its own habituated groups and about 11 families have been set aside for this lifetime experience.
To be part of this life changing adventure, you are required to have a permit and in Uganda you can obtain one at $600 per person. You can book your permits through a recognized tour operator or directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Treks start with early morning briefing at your respective tracking sector and only persons above 15 years are allowed to go for this thrilling experience in a group of only 8 visitors and only an hour is given for you to strike your imaginations with these amazing creatures in the wild.
Besides, appropriate packing is a must for this adventure and in your packing list, don’t miss to include hiking boots that are waterproof and lightweight to allow you hike through the steep slopes and thick forest, rain jacket/poncho, first aid kit, gardening gloves, insect repellents and walking stick and this can be got at the park headquarters or at your respective safari lodge.
Popular Gorilla trekking Safari to Bwindi: 3 DAYS GORILLA SAFARI TO BWINDI
Nature walks and Cultural Encounter
For nature lovers on safari in Uganda, nature walks through this park offer you opportunity to explore in depth what this destination has in offer for its visitors. To embark on this remarkable experience you will be in one the many designated trails and you will have your dreams achieved.
While on hiking tour, you get opportunity to catch a glimpse at different butterflies, primates, birds and explore various tree species. Nature walks at this park include the river Munyanga trail and this is considered to be a short trail walk and ideal for those of you who have less time to spend at the destination.
While on nature through this trail, you will be amazed by spectacular views of butterflies as well as explore most of fern tree species and not to forget stunning views of the crystal clear waterfalls.
Muzubijiro trail on other hand fills visitors with spectacular views of the magnificent Bwindi impenetrable forest, the Virunga Volcanoes, western rift valley and allows you to explore most of its incredible fern tree species.
The Ivy River trail is distinct on its own way and for bird lovers; this is a perfect trail for you to catch a glimpse at several bird species. It takes you nearly the entire day as it is the longest trail in this park.
The Rushura trail is dramatic on its own way as it offers remarkable views of the Great Western Rift Valley floor as well as the Congo Virunga National Park, Rwenzori Mountain, Lake Edward and many other areas.
Buhoma village walk is amazing as it is the best for you to experience the rural homestead setting, pay a visit to local traditional healers, experience how the banana beer is made locally made or embark on traditional and cultural experiences where you will be amazed by incredible performances from the Batwa or Bakiga.
You may also embark on the Bamboo trail walk that rewards visitors with over 14 renowned vegetation zones and don’t forget splendid views of Lake Bunyonyi and Mafuga forest.
Birding – Bird Watching Safaris
With over 350 avian species, Bwindi National Impenetrable Park is a true birder’s paradise in East Africa. If you are interested in bird watching tours, expect to spot bird species such as the African green broadbill, rusty faced woodland, bar tailed trogon, dusky crimson, Kivu ground thrush a mention but a few.
For amazing birding tours, this park is perfect for you to visit during wet season as most birds are attracted as well as the dry season and interestingly, you can incorporate this experience with gorilla trekking.
When to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Best time to go for gorilla trekking)
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be visited at anytime of the year. However, depending on what your travel interests are, it experiences two dry seasons starting from June to September and from December to February and this is noted to be ideal for one to engage in gorilla trekking.
The wet season is equally perfect especially if you are interested in birding tours. This season starts from March to April and October to November.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
A trip to any destination is complete when there are accommodation options for visitor overnight stay and Bwindi National Park has got wide range of safari lodges and you won’t fail to make a choice whether you are interested in luxury, standard or budget.
They include among others the Gorilla Forest Camp, Chameleon Hill Lodge, silverback lodge, Lake Kitandara camp and others.
How to reach to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi National Park can be reached both by road and air. By road, it is about 8 to 10 hours’ drive. You will kick off from Kampala to Kabale and then drive for about 120 kilometers to Buhoma.
By air, you can take a flight from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro and then you connect to the park.