The famed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular of all Uganda’s national parks. Located on the edge of the western rift valley (Albertine rift) in South Western Uganda, Bwindi is best safari destination to see mountain gorillas in the world. This UNESCo world heritage site is shared by Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. Under the skies of Bwindi forest lies a vast green rain forest that is home to almost a half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas! These great apes have called this place their natural home for many years!
On your gorilla safari to Bwindi, spend a full good hour in observation and photography after a simple hike and leave the forest with memories of the life changing wildlife encounter. The one hour duration can be extended if you visit the park on gorilla habituation program where tourists spend the all day in company of the silver back and other gorillas.
The impenetrable forest covers around 331 square kilometres on an Altitude Range of 1160 metres (Ishasha gorge) to 2607 metres (Rwamanyonyi Peak).
The annual average temperature Range is 7-20 degrees Celcius the coldest period being June and July.
Heaviest rains are experienced in March-April and September – November. Other months are generally dry.
Annual Precipitation: 1130 mm – 2390 mm Coldest Period: June-July
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a habitat to 326 gorillas almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. The forest has about 30 elephants and 120 species of mammals including 7 diurnal primates. 360 species of birds and over 200 species of butterflies. This Afro -montane forest has dense under storey of fern, vines, and shrubs. About 324 tree species have been recorded here, of which 10 don’t occur else in Uganda.
Things to Do in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
There are lots of best things to see and do in Bwindi. Of course it’s gorilla tracking the park’s main tourist attraction but there are many other things to do and see in Bwindi Impenetrable national park like Batwa experience, community excursions, hiking, waterfall visit, riding a bicycle for a woman, nature walks, bird watching, volunteerism, community retreats among others. All the park activities are exciting and inexpensive in terms and the total experience you get.
Gorilla Trekking Tours
This is the most known tour adventure in Bwindi forest and the highlight for many Uganda safaris every day. Gorilla trekking starts every morning and is done once a day in all the four park sectors of Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo. The park has over ten habituated gorilla families ready for tourists daily but reserving your gorilla permit is a priority due to competition and high demand for the adventure. Remember to spend a night close to the park if your gorilla trek is next day for matters of convenience.
Batwa Cultural Tour
You will need just an afternoon to experience the rich culture of the Batwa people who vacated their ancestral home for the conservation of mountain gorillas. They were born and raised in the jungle forest of Bwindi national park and lived with animals until when the park management convinced them to settle outside the forest and leave the jungle for mountain gorilla conservation a prime attraction in Uganda. There is surly a lot of ancient culture trends that will interest you including hunting, Music, dance and drama, Batwa shooting bow and arrow skills and dress code.
Bwindi Community Walks and Retreats
This also requires an afternoon or all day if time permits for one to explore the nearby park villages, homesteads, hospitals, schools and projects. Get a chance to meet different community members, learn more about their traditions and customs including handcrafts, local beer, locally made coffee and dig into the life of traditional healers who present multiple natural herbs in demonstration with particular diseases they cure. Retreats can also be done in schools, hospitals making your stay fabulous and wonderful.
Bwindi Forest Walk
This is another forest excursion for those who visit the park purposely to explore the jungle. Bwindi forest walks are great in the mornings and afternoons depending on the guests wish though among the five forest walks in Bwindi, the most popular are the water falls hike that involves some moderate hikes and climbs.
Muyanga river trail is fantastic just outside the main park trekking areas and takes 30 minutes starting and ending in Buhoma. This trail is great for bird watchers, monkey and baboon warthogs, duikers and much more can be seen. Also checking out Mazubijiro loop trail and Rushara hill trail will be amazing if time permits. Those interested in the all day forest walk, Ivo River walk for 8 hours is simply the best.
Plan a Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
GORILLA SAFARIS TO UGANDA IN AFRICA
Gorilla Trekking is the major tourist attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are 14 gorilla groups that have been habituated for gorilla treks and are currently available to be visited on daily basis. The oldest habituated gorilla group is the Mubare group (16 gorillas; 1 silverback) and it was opened for tourism in 1993, while the Habinyanja group (23 gorillas, 2 silver backs) was ready in July 1998. Later several other gorilla groups have been habituated for gorilla viewing and currently there are 120 gorilla permits available daily.
Maximums of 8 gorilla permits per group per day are sold for each of these groups at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. Book at least 3 months (but not more than one year) in advance to ensure that requested dates are available.
Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi can be strenuous therefore make sure you are physically fit. Carry jungle boots and rain jackets given the fact that the park is often wet.
Gorilla tracking experience starts at 8:30 am local time and occasionally lasts the whole day! Once tracked, gorillas are supposed to be met for only one hour For Conservation reasons, visits to the gorillas are tightly controlled.
What is The Best Time & period to visit Bwindi
June- October and December –March are known dry months in Uganda and definitely the best time for every Uganda safari tour including gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. However, tracking gorillas is a year round activity that everyone can enjoy according to convenience. If your free time is limited make it a point to go for the 3day 2night gorilla safari tour and explore this breathtaking forest. Don’t forget to enjoy gorilla permit discounts that run in April, May and November and save for your next vacation.
General Bwindi Forest Trips
Usually Tour Itineraries to Bwindi National Park are flexible and are designed depending on the guest request, so feel free to choose your own number of days and nights and enjoy your trip in the amazing natural forest. Make it a point to inform your trip planner about all your tour interest at the time of booking.
Gorilla Trek Recommendations
Travel light if backpacking or even when going for the trek in order to hike and trek comfortably in the jungle. Put on comfortable walking shoes, long sleeved wears, use inset repellants, and also carry your lunch box and enough drinking water since the time of the trek depends on where the gorillas spend a night before your trek. Remember they are wild animals that roam in the forest in search for food.
To learn more about planning a trip in Bwindi, get updates from the following websites
- Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Headquarters,
- Visit Bwindi – a resource for tourists looking to visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with lots of information on what to see, what to do, how to get there and more
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – the national park travel planner