When it comes to gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park never goes unmentioned. This is a typical tropical rain forest protected area and a popular destination for tourists to see the world’s unique attraction; the mountain gorillas while in their natural habitat.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is of no doubt a splendid rain-forest park, perched suitably in the extreme Southwestern Uganda along the rim of the rift valley. This park borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west and Kabale is its nearest town. It protects one of the world’s ancient and biodiverse tropical forest whose history dates back to over 25000 years making it an exceptional Uganda safari park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a compact Uganda safari park. It occupies only 331sq.kms of land area and lies along the highest side of Kigezi highlands with altitudinal range of 1190 to 2607m. In 1991, Bwindi was designated as a national park and later, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Wildlife of Bwindi
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse Uganda safari destination. Its wildlife range within its dense rain-forest and they include world’s iconic attractions-the mountain gorillas. Over 459 of the world’s 1063 mountain gorillas call Bwindi their home which makes it the most sought-after destination by tourists on gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. The endangered mountain gorillas make up part of the 120 species of mammals Bwindi prides itself of.
Aside of gorillas, this 331sq.kms park also shelters significant population of antelopes, forest elephants, L’Hoest, baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys. Remarkably, Bwindi is of no doubt the only destination in Uganda where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees share the same habitat.
Bwindi also protects a huge population of about 200 butterfly species and 42 of these are Albertine rift endemic species. There are also pottos, blue monkeys, civets, bats, golden cats, forest hogs and bush pigs. You will also come across several amphibian species, 11 of which are Albertine rift endemic. Over 14 snake species, lizards, several plant and tree species also exist in Bwindi for you to explore on Uganda safari.
Birds in Bwindi National Park
Bwindi inhabits over 360 bird species and features among the Important Bird Areas in Uganda. They include about 23 Albertine rift endemic bird species and 14 are never sighted anywhere in Uganda. This park boasts of globally threatened bird species including Shelley’s crimson wings, Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s flycatchers. Other than the threatened species, there are also several Fraser’s eagle, regal sunbirds, blue headed sunbirds, black billed turacos, white bellied robin chat, purple breasted sunbird, African green broadbill. Expect also to sight the Kivu ground thrush, handsome francolins, weaver birds, western green tinker bird, montane oriole, tit hylia, Rwenzori batis, yellow greenbul, black bee-eater, red throated alethe, bar tailed trogon. The key area to explore diversity of birds on birding tour in Bwindi include Mubwindi Swamp in the Ruhija region in the eastern side of the park.
Nothing is as magical as striking your imagination with the rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. For such lifetime experiences, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the place to be on Uganda safari. About 20 gorilla families have been habituated and readily trekked by tourists in Bwindi making it one of the best places to go for gorilla trekking.
Mountain gorillas are world’s amazing creatures and they exist only in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. In Uganda, Bwindi is the leading gorilla safari destination and the other is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, all of which, are found in the southwest. While on gorilla safari in Bwindi, tourists can begin their treks in any of the park’s 4 gorilla trekking regions and this is what makes Bwindi Impenetrable National Park a distinct gorilla safari destination.
Gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at US Dollars 700. This is for all foreign non-residents; US Dollars 600 for the case of foreign residents and shs. 250,000 East Africa community citizens. Gorilla permits for Bwindi or Mgahinga can be booked through a reliable ground tour operator and we are a trustworthy gorilla safari company in Uganda you can deal with. It is also possible to book permits directly through UWA.
Gorilla habituation experience
Bwindi is an interesting destination with lots thrilling adventures. It is undoubtedly the only park where you can participate in mountain gorilla habituation experience in Uganda and Africa at large. Unlike embarking on normal gorilla trek to spend an hour with mountain gorillas, gorilla habituation experience allows you to have 4 hours with these dramatic creatures in the wild.
Bwindi is of no doubt a birder’s paradise. Birders on Uganda safari never get bored as they are kept busy throughout with astonishing bird sights. The park hosts 360 bird species and among the many you should expect to keep an eye on are; African green broadbill, red headed blue bill, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori batis, Shelley’s greenbul, tit hylia, Africa wood owl, chapin’s fly catcher, African emerald cuckoo.
Batwa cultural experience/forest experience
Combining your gorilla trekking experiences with cultural encounter in the Batwa pygmy community is one amazing thing most tourists prefer on Uganda safari in Bwindi National Park. The Batwa live just adjacent the park and originally, they were inhabitants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for over 500,000 years. They lived harmoniously with wildlife but they were only displaced when Bwindi gazetted as a national park.
Encountering the Batwa on cultural tour/walk after gorilla trekking is amazing. You get to learn not only their traditions, cultures or enjoy their dances, music as they perform before you but also you will have an in-depth insight into their ancient hunting and gathering techniques.
Other exciting activities tourists on Uganda safari can add while on a holiday in Bwindi include mountain biking, coffee to cup experience, guided nature walk (about 6 nature trails are available for nature walk in Bwindi), Buhoma village walk and a lot more.
When to visit Bwindi National Park Uganda
Safaris to Bwindi can be done all year-round. But for visitors on hiking/gorilla safari, the dry season is considerably the best time. This is usually recorded from June, July, August to September and December, January, February. In case you are an enthusiastic birder, then consider visiting Bwindi during the wet/rainy season starting March to May or October to November.
Where to stay
Available accommodation options in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park exist as budget, mid-range and luxury. Budget travelers can choose from Ruhija community rest camp, Buhoma community bandas, Broadbill forest camp, Gorilla friends resort.
Mid-range travelers can book Bakiga Lodge, Haven Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge or Gorilla Forest Camp. Luxury/up-market visitors can reserve the Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge and others.
Access to Bwindi on Uganda safari
There are 2 ways tourists can reach to Bwindi to enjoy a Uganda safari holiday. By road/by air. By road, you need a comfortable 4WD vehicle and you drive southwestern Uganda starting from Entebbe/Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara to Kabale route which may take between 8 and 9 hours. Others can cut the long hours by driving from Kigali via Katuna or Chanika borders which is estimated to take 3-4 hours’ drive.
By air, you can spend few hours and flights are available from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrips where visitors can easily connect to Bwindi. You can use a comfortable 4WD rental car to connect to Bwindi to start your adventure.
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