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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Home of the mountain gorilla, old, complex, and biologically rich.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is old, complex, and biologically rich. Diverse species are a feature of the park, and it became an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its ecological importance. Among East African forests, Bwindi has some of the richest populations of trees, small mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, and moths. The park’s diverse species are partly a result of the large variations of elevation and habitat types in the park, and may also be because the forest was a refuge for species during glaciations in the Pleistocene epoch.
The main attraction to this misty African safari destination are its over 600 mountain gorillas. Visitors from all over the world pay the hefty US$700 gorilla permit to be escorted into the jungle floor of it belly to have a glimpse at the famous mountain gorilla giants. Gorilla trekking in this forest is major tourism earner for the country and also helps in protecting the mountain gorilla from porches and keeping them healthy.
The best months to visit this rich African jungle on a gorilla safari is in the dry months of June through October and January through March. During this time the rains are less, the forest floor is easier to hike and the gorillas are easier to track and find.
You should note that kids of the age less than 15 will not be allowed in the forest to track mountain gorillas but they can stay near the camp and visit the villages. Also, gorilla trekking has strict rules that should adhere to or you may face punishment form the rangers. Mountain gorillas are found only in these parts of Eastern Africa and no where else, they are susceptible to human diseases and are critically endangered. So you would understand why they are protected more than the president.
Why Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
The best place to watch Gorillas in Uganda with over 40% of the population in the world with 36 chimpanzees and 19 families habituated and are tracked by the tourist. Getting face to face with the gorilla is an amazing and memorable experience as you watch them feed and interact with their families. Bwindi forest is divided into four sections that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Some of the families are Mubare with nine members, Busingye with 9 members, Nshonga with 18 members, Oruzogo with 23 members and Nkuringo with 19 members. The gorilla families are led by a silver buck and it’s identifiable since it’s the biggest in the family with silver stripe.
How to get to there or reach Bwindi?
The park is approximately 452.3kms from Kampala city and below are the different transportation ways.
This is the most common type of transportation to the park and it will take you approximately 8-9hrs from Kampala city via Masaka road with stopover at the Equator crossing in Uganda as you get to do more of sightseeing. The roads are in good condition but as you get closer to the park, the roads are Marram and you may experience the African Massage. Please note that the park can be accessed using four directions that get to their sections that is Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga.
You can also access Bwindi by road from Kigali city via Cyanika border in Kisoro or Katuna Boarder in Kabale for a 4-hour drive to any sections of the park. We recommend you use a 4×4 Vehicle and this ranges from Us dollars $200-$350 per day minus drivers’ allowance.
The air transportation is operated by a few companies that is Aero link and fly Uganda. There is always 1 flight that takes 1hour and 45minutes to Bwindi from Entebbe international airport at 7:00 am- 08:45 am by Aero link to Kihihi Airstrip. It takes approximately 40-45 minutes to reach the Bwindi Game Reserve. You can also take an international flight with stopover at Kigali International Airport then drive to Bwindi for 4 hours.
Air transport fees depend on whether you are using a scheduled craft or chartering one for your group.
What to do or Attractions in Bwindi?
The equatorial climate in Bwindi has blessed it with quiet a number of attractions from wildlife to waterfalls that are all found in one place.
- Wildlife highlights
The park is the primary area to watch half of the mountain gorillas in the world and a gorilla trekking is one of the activities that can’t miss out on your itinerary. To participated in this activity, you will require a permit that costs $700 per person for any of the sectors either Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo. Please wear trekking shoes, long sleeved blouses and trouser as well as a rain coat with packed lunch. The activity is done once a day and starts with a briefing at 8am in the park Headquarters then you proceed for the trek in search of the gorillas and once you find them, you will be allowed to spend only 1 hour with them. Furthermore, Bwindi has other wildlife that are not easily spotted since they aren’t habituated like the Chimpanzee, different types of Monkeys (black and white Columbus, red tailed and Vervet), Forest Elephants, duikers and bushbucks as well as over 300 butterflies.
Bwindi forest has over 350 bird spiece all forest montane birds with 15 specie not recorded anywhere in Uganda. This park shouldn’t miss on any birder’s itinerary while on a safari in Uganda. It’s location in the Albertine rift offers Bwindi 23 other unique birds that are attracted to only that environment like Neumann’s warbler and blue headed sunbird. Please not that migratory birds are only present in November to April.
Bwindi forests offers tourists the scenic beauty of untouched environment with hikes to the different waterfalls within the park found in the different sections like Bayende in Rushaga sector, Muyanga Waterfall in Buhoma. The park also has rivers that form these powerful falls like River Ivi in the Buhoma and Nkuringo sector and River Kashasha which starts in Buhoma and ends in Nkuringo
Best time to Bwindi
The time of visit varies depending on the seasons that’s wet or dry, however, Bwindi is open for gorilla tracking all year long. The best months for gorilla tracking are December- February and June- August with less slippery trails and great photography moments. The best time for birdwatching is March- September and Migratory bird watching in November-April. The wet seasons are March, April, May and November with higher rains that may interfere with your activities.
However, due to global warming there has been a change in the rainfall patterns therefore this can change year after year.
Where to stay in Bwindi
There are a number of places to stay while on your Bwindi trip which ranges from Budget, Midrange to Luxury accommodation. Budget accommodation ranges from $30-$150, Midrange from $200- $250 and Luxury from $300-$1000.
- Mahogany Springs
- Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge
- Buhoma Lodge
- Gorilla Forest camp
- Chameleon Hill Lodge
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
- Lake Mulehi Gorilla Lodge
- Lake Mulehi Lodge
- Lake Mutanda Lodge
- Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge
- Silverback Lodge
- Gorilla Nest Guest house
- Karungi Camp
- Nshongi Forest Camp
- Bwindi Backpackers Lodge
- Bwindi Cultural center
For your planning purposes you can visit the park for a day or multiple days depending on your budget. We recommend that you combine this tour with other classical places in Uganda like Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls, Jinja tour, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Kibale forest N.P.
Furthermore, cross border safaris can be added in Rwanda like Akagera, Nyungwe, Kivu and Volcanoes N.P. In Kenya don’t forget to add on the Masai Mara for the wildebeest and Amboseli for the big five. These combinations will just add a slice to your safari as you touch each of the EastAfrican countries.
In conclusion, Bwindi being the first and primary area for gorilla tracking means you will never be disappointed when you add it to your safari while in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Forever Africa Safari offers a variety of gorilla trekking safari options at unbeatable rates. Contact us for the best rates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us /WhatsApp us +256 772 221 880 to start planning your safari / tour today!