Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda
Gorilla Trekking is an experience where a group of people get to hike/trek throught the thick forests in order for them to capture a glimpse of what gorillas look like and be able to view the environment in which gorillas stay.
Gorilla Trekking takes place in 4 national parks in the world which are located in 3 countries in Africa which include Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Forest), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and in Congo (Virunga National Park).
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, located in the southwestern region, on the edge of the rift valley. Commonly referred to as the impenetrable forest, Bwindi is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the western side; Kabale town to the southeast is the nearest main town to the park, 29 kilometers away by road. It covers an area of 331 square kilometers and is located in the highest parts of Kigezi highlands with an altitude of 1,190 to 2,607 meters above sea level and 60% of this magical park has an elevation of over 2,000 meters above sea level. The highest elevation in the park is Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge and the lowest part of the park is located at its most northern tip. Bwindi currently has six sectors namely; Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga, Nyundo and Rubugiri with Buhoma and Nkuringo emerging as one of the most visited sectors. The proximity of the national park to the border of Rwanda has long made it possible for tourists to combine Uganda gorilla trekking and Rwanda gorilla trekking experiences in a single itinerary. Such trips can begin either way depending on a client's preference making it possible to do Gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Rwanda - about (4 - 5 hours drive) from Kigali.
Bwindi impenetrable forest is a typical tropical rain forest with an annual mean temperature range of a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. The heavy rains climax from March to April and from September to November. Bwindi forest plays a key role in regulating the outside area's environment and climate. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park was designated as a national park in 1991 and in 1994, it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site because of its ecological importance and a 10 square kilometer area was incorporated into the park. The lush forest became popular to the world because of Gorilla trekking! It is a habitat for more than half of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorilla population. These gentle primates are highly endangered species and the forest possesses more than 360 individuals of the plausible 800 plus mountain gorillas in the entire world. They are highly endangered because of poaching, habitat loss and diseases. This national park generates one of the highest revenues to Uganda Wildlife Authority among st all the safari parks in Uganda. Gorilla trekking here requires a permit that costs $600 each and can be purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kamwokya, Kampala - Uganda. This money goes towards the further conservation of mountain gorillas hence, try to look at the money you are spending on permits in a perspective of helping these endangered mountain gorillas grow and multiply in numbers.
Bwindi is approximately an 8 hour or 9 hour drive from Entebbe by road and just 1 hour away by chartered flights. Usually the first and last days of Uganda gorilla tours are reserved solely for traveling and a few other minor activities along the way. The journey is quite long especially when you are traveling by road but definitely worth it after when you experience a close encounter with the mountain gorillas in it's forests. There is just a lot behind this destination appearing among the most visited Uganda safari parks and am sure you will see it when you travel. Please check out the list of recommended gorilla safari companies that can organize for you exceptional safari expeditions in the wilderness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can also browse through some of our most popular safari packages below;
When is the best time to trek Gorillas in Uganda?
The best time to visit the mountain Gorillas in Uganda is mid-June through October, December running through March. This period is the busiest and best time of the year . These are dry months of the year and are the high season or peak seasons for Gorilla Trekking. Though mountain Gorillas can be trekked all year long in Uganda, with no seasonal closures. Read More...
Safaris to Bwindi
Gorilla habituation is the process of training mountain Gorillas to live closer to people as they continue with their day to day. Gorilla habituation process takes place in Bwindi impenetrable National park.
The experience for habituation is very amazing since one gets to spend more time with the gorillas, compared to the one hour of Gorilla trekking. The permits for gorilla habituation cost 1500 USD and normal Gorilla trekking costs 600 USD.
Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda only takes place in Rushaga southern part of Bwindi impenetrable Forest.
There are only 4 people permitted a day and only one group undergoes the Gorilla habituation process. This experience has been in place since 2016 and this has been taken by few people compared to the normal Gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation is a great experience for one to have time with the Gentle endangered Giants of the forest. During this Gorilla Habituation Process one can be able to get as close as they can to the gorilla’s despite them being Rangers, Researchers or trackers.
The Gorilla habituation experience is not recommended for everyone, since it takes more money, effort, permit expenses and more endurance since one takes four hours with the Gorilla families.
Before you hike you need to have physical fitness we suggest you take long hikes and be ready for the trek. Gorillas are worth looking at and one gets to spend over hours with them instead of the normal 1 hour trek. You will not only observe, however you will as well participate in the gorilla habituation process. This is an all day Gorilla trek experience; only four people are allowed to habituate. You will have a chance to learn about the habits and ways of mountain Gorillas. There are very many accommodations that range from up market, midrange, and budget suits.
Habituation is only done in Uganda in Rushaga, and it can be accessed not only from Uganda but you can as well access it from Rwanda taking 4 hour drive.
The high season runs from June through September-December through March and there are very limited Gorilla permits and people spend more time with the Gorilla family. Gorilla permits are always in short supply during this season and you’re always advised to book 3 months pro to your travel date.
When you contact the tour operator they are willing to plan and set the dates and meetings. Remember these are wild animals and cannot be controlled. You’re in the wild where you suspect predictable and unpredictable circumstances.
People visiting should know that Bwindi is a habitant for Mountain Gorillas and you are in their home area and consider that the unbelievable could be expected. Many times we have to inform potential clients that there are no more habituation permits for them to be included in the experiential Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda.
BIRD WATCHINGBwindi national park, it’s a home to the endangered mountain Gorillas and one of the best excellent destination for birding. It covers the area of 321km2 and is located in southwest of Uganda which is located within Democratic Republican of Congo. .
Bwindi Forest National Park is a home to over 320 bird species and 23 species. The bird species include Western Green Tinker bird, African Wood Owl, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Montana Oriole, and Short tailed Warbler, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Chapin’s Flycatcher and African Green Broadbill and Green-breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill, Great Blue Turaco Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Standard-winged Nightjar, flycatcher, Short-tailed Warbler, Doherty’s Bush shrike, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black-breasted Barbet and many more. .
Bwindi National park is an ancient habitat for diversity of birds, with about 350 recorded different species with 23 endemics other birds include Blue-headed Sunbird plus the Short-tailed Warbler. Red-headed Bluebill, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Blue plus White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and the Common Bulbul, in Bwindi the major trails for birding are the Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija. .
Uganda birding packages The packages are 347 bird species and ten of the twenty are six globally threatened species which are within Uganda. There about 26 Albertine Endemic bird species in the range of African Green Broadbill, Chapin fly catcher and many more. .
Other birds in Congo forest are normally seen in the northern areas, the areas are Afro Tropical highland biome bird species with 68 of the 90.One can easily spot about 100 bird species in a day given on time basis. .
Ruhija is one of the sectors in Bwindi a bird watcher would wish to take a trip in Uganda. The birds are very easy to spot with feeding flocks that are always active throughout the whole seasons, there very many bird species including these Francolin, white-tailed crested Flycatcher, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Rwenzori batis, western Green Tinker bird, red-faced woodland Warbler, Mountain plus yellow-streaked Green buls as well as the Mountain marked plus chestnut-throated Apalises among many others. .
Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park, birding safari in Uganda and Africa at large. Rwenzori Nightjar, the Black Bee eater, the African Wood Owl, the Bar-tailed Trogon, the Dwarf Honey guide, the Grey Cuckoo-shrike, the Fine-banded Woodpecker, the Western Green Tinkerbird, the African Green Broadbill, the White-bellied Robin chat, the Yellow-streaked Greenbul, the Archer’s Robin chat, the Shelly’s Greenbul and the Red-throated Alethe. .
Gorilla Trekking Sectors In Bwindi
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has four gorilla trekking sectors which include Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Mugahinga which was recently added. Rushaga has 5 gorilla families and is actually the only sector that is permitted for Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest National Park. For one to be able to visit Uganda and Bwindi forest national park, one ought to be prepared for the experience because it will be mind blowing.
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Daily buses operate from Kampala to Kabale, Kisoro as well as Rukungiri via Kihihi. From those towns, you can easily connect to Bwindi National Park or arrange with a local guide to pick you up. The park can also be accessed by air, flying from Entebbe airport to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip on a domestic flight. Aero link is a domestic operator with daily flights to Kisoro (only in the morning) and Kihihi airstrips of Bwindi. Below are the flight schedules and times;
Those who may want to visit Buhoma may take on the charter planes and land off from Kayonza airstrip.