Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Home to Half of the World’s Mountain Gorillas
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most famous of Uganda National Parks. It is well positioned at the rim of the western arm of the Great Rift Valley. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in Southwestern Uganda.
Bwindi forest is one of those few found in Africa which flourished throughout the last Ice Age. The forest covers approximately 331 sq km. It is at an Altitude Range between 1160 meters within the Ishasha gorge. This goes up to 2607 meters up the Rwamanyonyi Peak.
Bwindi Forest has a yearly average temperature ranging between 7° C and 20° C. The coolest time in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is from June to July. Bwindi Forest receives the heaviest rains in March and April. It also rains in September and November. The rest of the year is dry through being a tropical rain forest, it rains throughout.
Bwindi is habitat to more than half of the total mountain gorilla’s population in the world. It is Uganda`s leading and also main Gorilla safari area.
Imagine look into their appealing beautiful brown large eyes of these giant creatures! It is the most fascinating unforgettable Uganda wildlife Safari encounter.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park features ninety species of mammals. Among these are eleven primates and the black and white Colobus. The latter is the most prominent due to its characteristic beautiful curving white tail. This makes Bwindi Forest a thriving Uganda wildlife safari spot.
Bwindi has over 23 localized endemic Albertine Rift species. It ranks among the finest bird watching or birding safari destination in the country.
BWINDI NATIONAL PARK SPECIES DIVERSITY
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to more than 400 endangered mountain gorillas. This is approximately half the total world’s mountain gorilla’s population. There are more than 30 elephants as well as 120 mammal’s species among which are 7 diurnal primates.
Bwindi Forest has over 360 bird species and 200 species of butterflies. The Afro-montane rain forest possesses a thick undergrowth of shrubs, ferns plus vines. There are more than 324 species of trees recorded there. 10 of the tree species are not found in any other part of Uganda. Because of its uniqueness, Bwindi is a “must trek” for enthusiastic tourists.
BWINDI FOREST ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has over 400 mountain Gorillas. This makes Uganda gorilla safaris the main tourist activity within the Bwindi.
There are 11 gorilla families that are accessible for tourists to see. The families vary in numbers depending on the strength of the silverback. The Mubare group consisting of Sixteen gorillas with One Silver back. It was the forest to be opened up for tourism back in 1993. The second group is the Habinyanja group that consists of Twenty-three gorillas. It had two silver backs and opened up in 1998, July . There has been a gradual increase in the number of families for trekking.
Things to Note;
Gorilla trekking permits are sold at the offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala.
Only 8 gorilla permits each day per group. We do request for prior booking of at least 3 months before the date of travel.
This Gorilla tracking activity begins at 8:00 in the morning and may last the entire day.
You will be with the mountain gorillas only one hour upon locating them.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi is a moderate energy consuming activity. As a result, tourists are advised to be in good physical shape. Kindly bring sturdy boots as well as rain jackets with them since the forest is often wet.
Bird Watching Safaris;
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is among the finest birding safari destination in Uganda. The forest boasts of over 348 species of birds.
Some of these species include; the Dusky Crimson, honey guide and Bar-tailed Trogon. There is also the Wing, Warbler White-tailed and Blue Monarch Short-tailed Warbler. Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher can also be seen here.
Kivi ground thrush as well as Rusty-faced woodland Gruel’s Rush Warbler too are here. Even a passionate bird watcher may be in a position to identify up to 100 species every day.
The Nature Walks to Bwindi Forest;
The least number of days in Bwindi should be 2 nights or 3 days. There are those with more days within Bwindi impenetrable national park. There are hiking tour across the 4-outland hiking-trails.
On each one of these trails, you’ll be able to experience great adventure. You should look forward to get information about the different bird species. There are various primates, several butterflies and different trees.
It is a must to have the services of a guide for your personal safety and accountability. It also helps to achieve a better understanding of the Eco system of this park.
The River Munyanga walk;
This well-known waterfall walks. The River Munyanga Trail offers a beautiful feature of this forest. There is variety of butterflies, a blend of orchids, tree ferns plus epithetic ferns. You cannot forget the colorful – characteristic of Bwindi impenetrable forest.
This walk ends up in three appealing clear waterfalls. This is a normal ingredient of any tropical rain forest. The walk offers a comprehensive view over the western rift valley floor. This is to its west, and then Parc Nationale Des Virungas in Congo. You will have all in all offering an excellent view.
This can also be seen to both Lake Edward and the majestic Rwenzori Mountain. The Muzabajirro walk offers a memorable sight Bwindi Forest. You can also see the Virungas plus the Western arm of the Great Rift Valley.
There are a variety of pre-historic tree ferns are usually seen as you head to the peak. This is an excellent spot for lunch or a picnic.
The Ivy River Walk:
This trail is appropriate for bird viewing. It is the longest within the park and often will take the entire day. The Buhoma village walk, provides tourists appealing views. this is like those of a standard Ugandan non-urban homestead setting within this area. You can visit a local traditional healer. A detour to the local banana beer brewing exhibition site should not miss.
There will be fascinating cultural performance later in the evening. They are performed by the Women groups. This gives you the chance to experience their traditional dressing trends too.
This walk takes more than 3 hours. It is an activity which is overseen by the local community. All the proceeds including money and donations obtained is put in the community. This is to enhance their welfare.
Visitors might also walk to this Bamboo zone. This is a distinctive area within Bwindi impenetrable national park.
The Bamboo trail walk;
This trail ends up in one of the places of high diversity within the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers fourteen vegetation zones. At the end of this walk, you’ll be offered memorable views like Mafuga forest plus Lake Bunyonyi.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
There are several accommodation options within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Your Bwindi National Park Lodge will depend on the area you will be trekking at. Other factors include your budget, style of travel desire.
The accommodation ranges from luxury to budget. Thus your pocket determines where you will stay. The accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be classified as:
Under this category we have the luxurious and opulent Gorilla Forest Camp in Buhoma. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge also falls here.
This category offers some luxury though lacks opulence that comes with the first category. Under here we have the Buhoma Lodge and Trekkers Lodge.
There are many medium range accommodations in Bwindi. Some woulr rival the upmarket accommodation like Engagi and Silverback lodges. Others are fine, just okay for someone looking for a fairly priced stay.
This is for those that are looking at budget gorilla trekking safaris to Uganda. They are well distributed throughout all the sections in Bwindi. They include Buhoma Community bandas and Gift of nature Lodge.
How to Get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is approximately 550km from Kampala. You are able to reach through several routes. This majorly depends on the place you will be trekking at.
Driving from Kampala, you can get to Bwindi through Kabale. It is a lengthy drive of 108km From Kabale to Buhoma through Ruhija. This is approximately 3 hours. It can be longer when it rains and use 4wd vehicles is an a must.
The finest route is through the surfaced road through Kabale to Ntungamo. This is approximately 60 kilometers from Mbarara. Driving from Ntungamo take a right turn for 45 kilometers. This will take you to Rukungiri. From here go via Kambuga up to Kanungu. You will reach Butogota 17 kilometers to Buhoma Park Head office. The entire journey goes for 534 km and lasts 9 to 11 hours.
You will need to set off early in the morning. A 0600hrs departure time is the most appropriate.
If you are coming from the North eg Kasese or Fort Portal there are two routes. One through Katunguru, Ishasha and then Kahihi going for 3 to 5 hours.
The second route takes the Mbarara road up to Ishaka. 33 kilometers from here up to Kagambe along the Kabale road. This is at the junction with Ntungamo to Rukungiri road. From here more directions heading to buhoma are as stated above.