Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safaris /Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park-Mountain Gorillas
Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safaris is definitely the most famous done activity on Uganda Safaris although, they can be found in four national parks which are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla national park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park both found in Uganda. Fortunately, Uganda boosts with half of the remaining mountain gorillas and the only country blessed with two different national parks.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park lies in southwestern region of Uganda and listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park was named impenetrable because of the extremely thick tree canopies common in the forest that present sunlight from penetrating to the ground. Bwindi consists of 20 habituated gorilla’s family which are splintered in four gorilla trekking sector which are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija sector each sector is located in different parts of the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is positioned near to one of the best attractive safari destination such as Queen Elizabeth national park thus making it possible for travelers to do combined Gorilla Safaris with adventuring the big five.
Mountain Gorilla trekking is such an incredible activity that starts early in the morning after breakfast at the lodge. Go for briefing at the park headquarter to explain you the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking in the forest. After meet up with your safari guide to head you to the assigned gorilla family, you will go in search of them through forest trail heads. As your searching you will get a chance of seeing chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, plants among others. Once you locate them you will be given one hour to spend with them as you learn about how they play, feed, grooming their young one, swing around tree, lay their nest on tree branches and on ground as well as enjoying memorable photography.
Bwindi gorilla trekking permit costs USD700 for foreign nonresident per person per day, USD600 for foreign resident and UGX250,000 for East African Member and Gorilla habituation experience which can only be done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest costs USD1,500 for foreign nonresident and USD1,000 for foreign residents. Rwanda Gorilla permits costs USD1,500 per person per trek and Congo gorilla permits cost USD400 which is budget friendly to visitors. Gorilla trekking experience is an hour activity and gorilla habituation a full day done activity with four hours given to the trackers accompanied by the researchers, doctors, park ranges.
Take note, gorilla trekking fees is exclusive with expenses on accommodation, Visas, transport, food and flights.
The park is only trekking area for gorillas but also visitors on their safari can go visit to the Batwa pygmy community, bird watching, forest walks, primate viewing such as chimpanzees, black and white monkey, colobus monkey among other. Note it is very rare to find two species like chimpanzee and gorillas in the same area in Uganda can be seen in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park. Therefore, very possible to meet the chimpanzees along the away as you track the gorillas, Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safaris .
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park can be done in four gorilla sectors Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo. Visitors interested in doing Gorilla habituation experience can be done in Rushaga.
3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Habituation experience is full day activity that allows visitors to study about a gorilla group more closely for four hours under the guidance of researchers and park rangers. The habituated gorilla families in Rushaga sector include; Bikyingi and Bushaho groups which are already open to visitors. Gorilla Habituation Permits costs USD1,500.
Best time to do gorilla trekking /habituation
Bwindi Gorilla trekking safari can be done throughout the year but the peak season is the best time for tourists to visit gorillas in the park, the peak season starts from June to September and December and February.
Wet season starts from March to May and October to November. During wet season gorilla trekking, trekking can be more challenging because the forest trail becomes muddy and slippery. However, visitors wouldn’t have visited the park in wet season. Although, permits can be on discount, accommodation prices lows and the park can be out of conjunction of visitors during wet season. Gorilla trekking safari is best designed for 3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Safari.
Accessibility; Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park can be accessed by both air and car. By road from Kampala or Entebbe or Rwanda.
From Kampala is approximately 8 to 9 hours to the park.
Driving from Rwanda and connect to Cyanika border crossing ,the driving journey is very short which is only four hours to access the park.
By domestic flight; You can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield booking a domestic flight by Aero link airline or Bar Aviation that flies visitors to Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro and you will meet up with your safari guide to drive you to the park.’’1:30 hour’’
At the gate you will be required to present in your valid passport and gorilla permits in order to access the park. Currently 152 permits available per day in Bwindi Gorilla safari –Uganda 2022.
Rules and Regulations of the park
Respect the limited number of eight people allowed to tracking mountain gorilla.
Pay attentive to the guide’s instructions when you with gorillas.
Stay a distance of about 6 to 7 meter away from gorillas.
Flash disc are not allowed.
Gorilla trekking is limited to 8 people.
Apart from doing Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi, there other amazing activities to do which include;
Visiting the Batwa pygmies, will help you have a great chance to learn about their culture and also part of their interesting cultural activities like the traditional dances, listen to their historical stories on how they used to survive in the forest with the mountain gorillas, how they used to hunt in the forest and also gather fruits in the forest.
Primates viewing; Bwindi is well known as a safari for primates as mountain gorillas are the most sought but other small primates are also species of Bwindi including Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Bush babies ,L’Hoest monkeys ,Vervet monkeys and colobus monkeys.
Wildlife Viewing; Mountain gorillas are the most tourist’s attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and here some other animal’s species to explore in the park including leopard, forest elephants, bats, Jackals, Forest duiker and Colobus monkeys.
Bwindi is also a birding site with over 330 bird species making it a birder’s paradise.
Cultural activities ; You can do culture tour in Bwindi through visiting Buniga forest ,village walks ,visiting the local people and craft shop.
Accommodation Facilities in Bwindi National Park; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park has got perfect lodges with good amenities ranging from Luxury –Mid -range and Budget.
Buhoma Lodge and Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge are luxury unit,
Gorilla Mist Camp and Lake Muhehe Safari lodge are Mid-range
Bwindi Back packers lodge and Buhoma community rest are budget