Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a patch of tropical rainforest located in the western rift valley of Uganda. The lush green wilderness is one of Africa’s most purely diverse rainforests. Despite the name, the jungle isn’t as inaccessible as the name suggest. Bwindi is home to the over half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. These gorilla families have been habituated and the park offer gorilla trekking safaris. On these treks, you are led by professional ranges into the seething ecology where you will have classic encounters with the gentle giants.
Gorilla trekking allows you an hour to encounter the gorilla family allocated to you. An encounter with these primates guarantees you a 95% success rate. This has led to the increase of gorilla numbers since these treks are conservation driven. Although the gorillas are the prime attraction in Bwindi, 11 other primates, 350 recorded bird species and other mammals like forest elephants are found in the primeval forest.
The park was designated a UNESCO World heritage site and is one of the top safari destination on African Safari. Other safari destinations in Uganda and East Africa can be explored on your Bwindi visit. The savanna parks near the park include Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth national park. To explore the greater East Africa, combine the gorillas with a wildlife encounter in the Serengeti or Masai Mara.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest entails trekking through the forest to locate the gorillas in their natural habitat. These gorilla families are habituated and are familiar with humans. The trek begins with an early morning briefing at the park headquarters. Here, the rangers give you information about the park, the gorilla families in the park and the conservation efforts done in Bwindi. Later, you are allocated a gorilla family according to your physical abilities and the composition of the gorilla family you would like to trek. Each gorilla family is visited by only 8 persons a day. Then off you go. You are led by 2 armed rangers and a guide into the thick of it.
Trackers are sent ahead to locate the gorilla families and relay the information back to the rangers. This guarantees a 95% success rate of encountering the gorillas on your Uganda safari. The trek through the jungle entails finding your way through the thick undergrowth to where the gorilla family is feeding that morning. Depending on the location of the gorilla family, you may trek from 30minutes to 2 hours before you encounter them.
On making contact, you won’t be disappointed. Pictures and videos don’t do them justice. They are huge, cuddly and very thrilling to watch. A stare from the silverback makes you feel like he is watching your soul, rather intimidating. They munch on shrubs, tree branches and grunt as they feed to communicate contentment about their feeding grounds. The hour spent with them flies by. You are allowed to take pictures and videos with your camera mood switched off. Bwindi has 4 sectors where gorilla trekking is done. Each sector has habituated families, park rangers and guides who will lead you into the forest for these encounters. These sectors are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija. In Rushaga sector, you can further spend a whopping 4 hours with the gorillas in the habituation process.
When to visit Bwindi.
Bwindi is open to visitors and offers gorilla trekking experiences all year round. However, due to its ecological system, the best months to trek through the forest are the drier months of June, July, August, January and February. Although this is a tropical forest and can receive rainfall at any time of the year, the above months receive the least amount of rain. Rain makes the tracks and vegetation slippery making the trek less comfortable. More to that, these primates, like humans don’t enjoy the wet conditions. They become inactive and huddle under the tree. This affects your viewing experience. For those looking for exclusive safaris, these months may not the best for you. Since gorilla trekking is the most popular safari activity in Uganda, the peak seasons come with bigger crowds.
Other safari activities in Bwindi.
The forest is one of Africa’s biologically diverse forest. Its home to amazing flora and fauna. Apart from gorillas, other safari activities in the park include:
The Batwa were the original dwellers of the forest. They lived off the forest, gathering fruit and co-existing and protecting these primates. After the forest was gazzetted into a national park, they were relocated into small communities around the forest. Visit and learn about their life in the forest through demonstrations like making fires, hunting and many more.
The forest is home to more primates that can encountered. Blue monkeys, bush babies, red tailed monkeys, L’hoests monkeys, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys and more.
Apart from the primates, the forest offers life to some incredible wildlife. Forest elephants, leopards, jackals, bats, forest duikers and giant forest hogs are some of the wildlife species in the forest.
How to get to Bwindi forest:
This tropical paradise can be reached by air. A scheduled flight takes you from Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip. Another flight option is flying to Kisoro airstrip and then a 2-hour drive will take you around the beautiful Lake Mutanda to the Rushaga sector. By road, the 8-9-hour drive takes you from Entebbe international airport to the primeval forest. You can complement your gorilla trekking safari with a wildlife encounter in Queen Elizabeth a 2-hour drive away.
Cost of gorilla trekking.
Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $700 foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250,000/= Ugandan shillings for East Africans citizens. The above fee excludes transportation, accommodation and meals. At Laba Africa, we offer tailored gorilla safaris. Due to the fact that gorilla trekking is a highly south after activity, there is high demand for gorilla permits. You are highly advised to book your gorilla permits atleast 6 months in advance. Should you desire to book your own safari, bear in mind the sector you would like to trek in before you book your accommodation and related activities.
Accommodation in Bwindi Forest
Due to the conservation efforts, no lodges are permitted in the forest. All the accommodation options are located on the outskirts of the forest. They offer breathtaking views of the canopy of the forest. The park has high end, mid-range and budget accommodation. Accommodation fees range from $900 to as low as $80. Below are some of the accommodation options in Bwindi.
Top luxury lodges:
- Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge
- Buhoma lodge
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
- Sanctuary Gorilla forest lodge
- Mahogany springs
Top Midrange lodges
- Gorilla Mist camp
- Rushaga gorilla camp
- Gift of Nature Lodge
- Chameleon Hill lodge
- Mutanda lake Resort
- The crested crane Bwindi Hotel
- Nkuringo gorilla camp
- Eco Marvels resort
- Bakiga Lodge
- Agandi Lodge