BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is known for being the best mountain gorilla destination in the world and is the most popular safari destination and national park in Uganda, the park is known for offering the best gorilla trekking safari experiences in the world and it is also a home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is nestled in the southwestern part of Uganda along the edge of the Albertine Rift in East Africa and stretches along the border of Uganda with Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbors Virunga National Park.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park covers a total area of 321 square kilometers protecting one of the oldest forests in the world, in 1994 the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its rich diversity in hosting different flora and fauna and being a home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is a home to the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas with over 600 mountain gorillas, the park is divided into 4 gorilla sectors that is Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Rushaga in the south and Nkuringo sector in the west. Each of these sectors protects different gorilla groups, currently there are 22 gorilla families that are habituated for tourism in Bwindi namely
Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is a home to approximately 120 mammals though they are rarely seen as they hide in the thickets of the dense forest, these mammals range from large mammals to very small mammals and they include Elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black-fronted Duiker, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otter, side-striped jackal, civet, numerous bats and rodents among others.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is also a home to other 10 primate species which include black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzee
Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home to about 350 species of birds which makes it the best place for birding in Uganda, the forest is a home to 23 Albertine Rift Endemic and 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda. The park also hosts threatened species including Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing. More species include; Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds among others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also a home to eight Albertine Rift endemics including the Africa Giant Swallowtail and Cream – banded swallowtail. There are amphibian species recorded to be 27 species with 11 species endemic to the Albertine rift, 14 snake species and 14 lizard species.
Safari Activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas thus offering the best gorilla trekking experience in the world, gorilla trekking in Bwindi is done daily offering visitors an opportunity to visit one of the habituated gorilla families in one of the 4 gorilla trekking sectors namely Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Only visitors in possession of a gorilla permit issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and above the age of 15 years are permitted to visit mountain gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park start early in the morning with briefing at the park’s headquarters about the rules and regulations to follow. In groups of 8 people you head into the forests looking for the assigned gorilla family, on the trek of approximately 30 minutes – 6 hours depending on movement of the gorillas and where they spent the previous night. When you find the gorillas, you will spend one hour in their presence while taking pictures and witnessing their behavior as they groom each other, pick fruits and leaves which they eat and gorilla babies playing with each other.
Gorilla Habituation experience – For visit who wish to spend more hours with mountain gorillas, you can do gorilla habituation experience on which you will spend 4 hours with the gorillas in their natural habitat together with researchers and ranger guides.
Note: flashy photography is not allowed and stay a distance of 8 meters from the gorilla.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a prime Uganda birding spot and was named number one birding spot by African Bird Club, the forest hosts about 350 species of birds including 23 Albertine endemics and 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
Some of the birds to look out for during bird watching in Bwindi include Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing. More species include; Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds among others.
Nature and waterfalls walks
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is a great destination for nature and waterfall walks, the park has various trails running through the forest and leading to beautiful waterfalls where you can dive into the clear waters.
Nature walks are done along with an armed Uganda Wildlife ranger guide for protection purposes, some of the trails in the forest include Buhoma – Nkurigo trails which takes 4-5 hours crossing through the forest, Rushura Hill walk – a trail running between Congo and Uganda . Muyanga waterfall walk, Ivi River walk of 14 kilometers and takes about 7 hours and Muzubijiro Loop of 6 kilometers around the hill.
Mountain biking is done in Kigezi region with several trails created in the community, this experience is done on Ivi river trail from Buhoma park headquarters to Ivi river and is organized by “ride for a woman”.
Community walks and Cultural experiences
A long the borders of Bwindi impenetrable national park, there are the ocal communities where community and cultural experiences are done, these communities include the Batwa Experience who used to live in Bwindi forest for years. When you visit the Batwa, you will get a deeper insight into their lifestyle, be entertained by local dances and drama, get a taste of local meals and demonstration of their hunting skills. There are also different walks including Buniga Forest walk in Nkuringo – a forest reserve adjacent to Bwindi impenetrable national park, Nyundo Community Eco trails and King Bakyara’s waterfall. Touring the village Aquaponic with Conservation through Public Health.
Best time to Visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Uganda are in an equatorial position and because of this, the weather can be unpredictable. As you plan to visit Bwindi impenetrable National park, you should always be prepared for rain.
The heaviest rainfall normall occurs from Mid- March to the end of May and then again at the end of September through November, the rains in March to March often short while those in September to November are more often characterized by hours of soft drizzle.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can be tracked at any time of the year but it is abit harder during the wet season as the trails are muddy and slippery.
The dry season is the best time of the year to go gorilla trekking, in these months the trekking trails are less muddy and slippery. Dry season in Bwindi is experienced in months of June to mid – September and December, January and February.
How To Get To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an accessible destination which can be reached using road or air means transport.
By road: Bwindi impenetrable national park is accessed via several trails that are Kampala – Kabale – Ruhija or Kampala – Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Buhoma/Nyondo or Kampala – Kabale – Kisoro – Rushaga/ Nkuringo.
By air: there are scheduled/charter flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi airstrip then connect to Buhoma area or to Kisoro Airstrip and connect to Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga.
Where To Stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a variety of accommodation establishments ranging from budget, midrange to Luxury and they are found in the 4 sectors of the park.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
Buhoma Haven Lodge
Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge
Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Rushaga Gorilla Camp
Gorilla Leisure Lodge
Broadbill Forest Camp
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Nkuringo Safari Lodge
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