BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST GORILLA PARK UGANDA
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park Tours include, Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Birding Tours in Uganda, Batwa pygyms cutural tours, Uganda community cultural experiences, cycling tours and walking safaris
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is located in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the western rift valley, shared by Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. The Park with its dense ground cover of vines and shrubs is home to the world’s endangered species of the mountain gorillas, of which they are only 880 still left in the entire world and out of this, 400 hundred, are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains the only park in the whole world where mountain gorillas co-exist with wild chimpanzees although there are no trekking chimps since no community has been habituated. Bwindi is one of the richest areas for flora in Eastern Africa. The forest is also sanctuary for Columbus monkeys, chimpanzees and many bird types including some endangered species. Because of its importance in protecting given bio diversities, Bwindi Impenetrable forest was recognized and up graded to a status of being a world heritage by UNESCO in 1994.
Unique attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Mountain gorillas/Gorilla Families
Mountain Gorillas are the main tourist’s attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is inhabited by an estimated population of about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), which makes up almost half of all the remaining mountain gorillas in the world living in the wild. The other half of the mountain gorilla population is housed in the nearby Virunga Mountains covering three national parks of Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. A 2011 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006 to 400 in 2011.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has 11 habituated gorilla families and these are distributed in different gorilla trekking regions of the Park. Among the sectors or regions include Buhoma with three gorilla families namely Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura. Ruhija region has Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro. Rushaga in the south has Mishaya, Nshongi, Busingye, Bweza and Kahungye while Nkuringo region positioned in the southern part of Bwindi has one gorilla family identified as Nkuringo.
Note that eight permits are sold on daily basis for each of these habituated Gorilla groups at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. You are requested to book at least 4 months in advance to ensure that planned dates of travel are not occupied.
Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest bird watching opportunities in Africa, and is an un missable destination for any birder visiting Uganda. There are an estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemic to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda. Globally threatened species such as African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimsonwing are also found here. Other birds include the Handsome Francolin; Black-billed Turaco; African Broadbill; Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters; Western Green Tinkerbird; Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds; Short-tailed and Black-faced Rufous Warblers; Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis; Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls; and Many-colored Bush-Shrike, among others.
Tourist’s activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Gorilla Tracking – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Gorilla trekking is main tourist activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It’s the safe destination were you can get an opportunity to trek one of the few habituated gorilla families in the Africa jungle. Depending on which region of Bwindi you are holding permits, experienced guides and trackers will accompany your party on an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes. The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, is abundantly rewarded with the lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. You will have an opportunity to be within meters of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Mountain gorillas are extremely rare with only an estimated 880 remaining in the wild. This is an experience which will stay in your mind for the rest of your life time. Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed.
Bird Watching in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest is considered Bird watchers paradise in Uganda. The park houses 350 bird species and houses 90% of all Albertine rift Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in single day especially in the bird endowed areas of Ruhija and Buhoma.
Batwa Cultural Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
This is mainly done by visitors in the evening’s hours; you can participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups, village walks, blacksmith visits, and craft shops. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park. The activity allows you to explore the unique cultures of the local Batwa communities who are the traditional inhabitants of the areas covered famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park. The highly educative, memorable cultural tours in Bwindi can take you through various community groups.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Visitors have an opportunity for a guided nature walk between Nkuringo in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Buhoma on the opposite side of the park; Bwindi Impenetrable national park has six fanciful nature hiking trails. On all these 6 trails, you have unique opportunity to explore Bwindi Impenetrable forest park and along the trails you are rewarded with the views and sights of the various bird species, butterflies, trees species, and some other primate species .organisms. Arrange at the reception for a guide. The guide’s company is mandatory and yet offers you an excellent understanding of nature’s system at work in the park.
Cycling/Mountain Biking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Mountain biking in Bwindi follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The six-seven hour round trip departs in the morning, and is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp under the “Ride for a Woman “community development initiative.
Access to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla Park
Kampala to Kabale is a distance of 414 kms on bitumen surface and takes 6-7 hours. An additional 120 kms from Kabale to Buhoma Park Headquarters via Kanungu and Kanyantoorogo on Murram surface takes 3-4 hours and may require a 4WD vehicle. Kabale- Ruhija-Buhoma is 95 kilometers and takes about 3 hours. This road is not used much by the public. A 4WD vehicle is recommended.
From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.
MAP SHOWING HOW TO GET TO BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST GORILLA PARK
MAP SHOWING THE OFFICIAL LOCATION OF BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST GORILLA PARK
Where to stay in Bwindi Impenetrable national park
All the four gorilla trekking regions in Bwindi are served with all categories of lodges. Each of the habituated gorilla families can be easily accessed when you spend a night or more at the various lodges that are located in this sector. It is very advisable to know the gorilla trekking sector you are to trek in so as to determine where to spend the night to avoid long hour drives early in the morning to the briefing point.
Lodges in Buhoma sector include Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, and Volcanoes Bwindi lodge, Mahogany Springs, Engage lodge and Buhoma Community Rest Camp.
Accommodations in Ruhija sector include: Chameleon hill lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Trekker’s Tarven and Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Broad Bill Forest Camp.
Some accommodations inn Nkuringo or Rushaga include; Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Clouds Lodge and Wagtail Lodge.