Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mountain gorillas have made Bwindi NP a famous tourist destination in Uganda. The park is situated in Kabale, Kisoro and Kanungu districts of south-western Uganda (covering an area size of about 321 square-kilometres). Together with Rwenzori national park, Bwindi impenetrable was officially declared a world UNESCO heritage site because of its magnificent biodiversity in 1994.

The park comprises a number of animals like forest elephants, giant forest hogs, duikers, etc. It also consists of eleven primate species with mountain Gorillas, baboons, monkeys and chimpanzees being the primary centre of attraction. It is true that some of the 120 different mammal species found in the park are rarely seen due to thick forests.

In addition to mammals, the park provides homage to over 350 bird species thus making it one of the best birding spots in the country. The birds include 24 Albertine rift valley Endemics with 14 unrecorded anywhere in Uganda. The best sites for bird watching are “Neck section” that lies between Buhoma and Ruhija as well as Mubwindi swamp in the southern wing of the park. Some of these birds include but not limited to the following; Shelley’s crimson-wing, regal sunbird, handsome francolin. Other special creatures of the park are the beautiful butterflies (200 species), amphibians (27 species with 11 endemics), snakes (14 species) and lizards (14 species).

How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National park?

A number of roads lead to Bwindi impenetrable park depending on where you are. Those from Kampala use Mbarara-Masaka road that passes via Kabale town. This journey lasts for eight to ten hours.  The other route is through Fortportal – Queen Elizabeth National park via Ishasha road (taking about 6 hours). This road blesses you with views of climbing lions and enroute game drives.

The park can as well be accessed by road from Kigali, Rwanda.

Flight services are provided by Aero Link Company from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip. All flights do not go beyond 2 hours. One can also fly to Kisoro Airstrip which is a one hour flight.

ACTIVITIES IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest N/Park takes place in Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Ruhija regions, with each of these regions containing a unique habituated gorilla family available for trekking. This therefore calls for prior planning before visiting the park by any tourists in order not to miss the spontaneous experience.

Currently, there are about 21 habituated mountain gorilla families available for trekking distributed in these four regions.

Being home to half of the world’s total population of Mountain Gorillas, trekking happens daily in Bwindi forest NP and only eight people are allowed to trek a given family at ago. It is therefore vital for one to secure trekking permits as soon as possible in order not to miss.

Trekking permits in Bwindi go for 700$ in comparison with those of Rwanda that go for 1500$. For one to engage in this trekking must be in a good health state and must be above fifteen years of age. This is because one can easily transmit human diseases like cough and flue to these innocent animals.

Gorilla trekking experience.

Wakeup early and have breakfast from the lodge followed by briefing at the head office.

Here you are assigned a group of gorillas to trek by our professional tour guides. You are required to have waterproof hiking boots, rain jacket, insect repellent, gloves, packed lunch and enough drinking water before engaging in the trekking activity. Park rangers will provide you with walking sticks. Trekking lasts for two eight hours plus one hour of interacting with these giant apes as you watch them dine, play and mate. You can as well take as many pictures as you want.

While enjoying this adventure, you are required to stand seven meters away from the gorillas with no shutter sound and flash light. You then retreat to the headquarters and receive your trekking certificate.

Bird watching.

0ver 350 bird species (both migratory and endemic) reside in Bwindi impenetrable NP. These include; handsome francolin, regal sunbird and Shelley’s crimson-wing, to mention but a few. All these can be traced in the areas of Ruhija, Buhoma and Mubwindi swamp.

Nature / forest walks.

A nature walk depending on your choice is part of the many activities in the park. This is an opportunity where you watch diverse animals like buffaloes and elephants. To make your walks secure and less boring, you are accompanied by a tour guide who will interpret for you and teach you more about the ventures encountered.

Most famous trails include Nkuringo-Buhoma walking trail (6hrs walking), Rushura hill trail that takes you to the Uganda-Congo border and Munyanga river trail (famous for bird watchers).

 Local Community Experience.

“Keepers of the forest” (the Batwa) are the major human inhabitants of Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga. These are legendary hunters, fire makers and herbal medicine makers. This tour takes about five hours and costs about 20$.

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