Bwindi impenetrable national park is one of UNESCO’s heritage sites that was gazette in 1942 as a forest reserve and later in 1992 was upgraded to a park and in 1994, the park was recognized as a world heritage sites. The park is best known for its gorilla trekking activities of the endangered mountain gorilla species. This is one of the few national parks in Africa to have flourished through the last ice age and is a home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The variant biodiversity is supported by the fact that Bwindi is extremely old and estimated dating back to about 25000 years ago. The forest is situated in a mountainous environment with slopes extended over a broad altitudinal range of 1447m – 2607m above sea level. Park is a home of 400 mountain gorilla species, 120 mammals like elephants, chimpanzee, monkeys, small antelope, 202 butterfly species, 400 plant species, 200 tree and 100 fern species, and 384 bird species.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda on the edge of the western arm of the great east African rift valley and about 530km from Uganda, bordered by democratic republic of Congo in the west and Kabale in the southeast. The park occupies 124 square miles (321 sq. km) area which makes it unbelievably big; this is one of the reason why the park is divided into four gorilla tracking sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga sector.
This is the most popular and developed sector of all sectors which was the first developed for gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda with Rushegura, Mubare and Habinyanja gorilla families available for trekking.
The sector lies closely to Buhoma sector situated in the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park and a home to three gorilla families; Nkuringo gorilla family, bikingi gorilla family and bushaho gorilla family.
This is the most remote sector and famous for its abundant birdlife on top of the gorillas. Ruhija sector has oruzongo, bitukura and kyaguriro A and B gorilla families.
This is one of the most famous sectors following Buhoma with the highest number of gorilla families; mishaya, Nshongi, bweza, Kahungye and Busingye gorilla families. The sector lies between Kabale and Nkuringo while coming from Ruhija or Kampala.
Activities in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
• Gorilla trekking and habituation experience.
The main activity in Bwindi is gorilla trekking and habituation experience where you have 99% chance to see the gorillas. The activity is famous because the park is a habitat for half of the gorillas in the world. Gorilla trekking is limited to only 8 visitors to visit each gorilla group per day which implies that there are limited gorilla permits. Permits should be booked prior to your date of trekking the gorillas because they are on a very high demand all year around. The price of the permits vary depending on the nationality and residential status, USD 700 for foreign non-residents, USD 600 for foreign residents and 250000 shillings for east African residents.
• Birding in mgahinga national park.
Bwindi impenetrable national park offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa and is a key destination to the birders. Sighting 150 bird species in day here is very common which makes this park a birdwatcher’s paradise. The park has recorded over 300 bird species available for bird lovers to watch and among these is the numerous possibilities of seeing the 23 albertine rift endemic species, including globally threatened species like Shelley’s crimson wing and the African green broadbill. Other species like Doherty’s bush shrike, African citril, Jameson’s antpecker, pink-footed puff back, Waller’s starling, crested guinea fowl, barred long-tailed cuckoo, grey crowned crane, white headed saw-wing, yellow-runmped tinklebird, African olive-pigeon, buff-spotted wood, pecker, Pettit’s cuckoo-shrike, Cassin’s flycatcher, Ruwenzori batis, ansorge’s greenbuls, snowy-crowned robin chat, African paradise fly catcher, cape wagtail, mountain wagtail, yellow-fronted canary, archer’s robin-chat, dusky twin spot, brown capped weaver, blue spotted wood dove, tambourine dove, handsome francolin, helmeted guinea fowl, African pygmy-kinfisher and many other including the four globaly threatened; African green broadbill- pseudocalyptomena graueri-vulnerable, grauer’s rush warbler- bradypterus graueri endangered, chapin’s flycatcher-muscicapa lendu; vulnerable and shelley’s crimson-wing –crypospiza shelley vulnerable.
• Other wildlife viewing.
Primates and mammal viewing in Bwindi impenetrable national park as the park is inhabited by amazing numbers of primates in the deep forest like elephants, giant forest hogs, antelopes, side stripped jackal, African civet and many more. Some of the primates in Bwindi include; black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, red tailed monkey, galago species and nocturnal potto.
• Batwa cultural experience.
Batwa cultural experience. These are the ancient people who inhabit Bwindi forest before it was gazette. The Batwa are regarded as keepers of the forest who are hunters and food gatherers who majorly depended on hunting wild animals and gathering fruits, even today, they still practice these ancient life styles. Your visit to the Batwa villages will give you a chance to hear their stories, watch them gather wild honey, make fire with sticks and stones, get entertained by their songs and dance. You will encounter these amazing people as they continue to go on with their day to day lives.
When to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Uganda is suitable for travel any time of the year; the country has two seasons a year, the dry and rainy season. It is not advisable for you to travel during the rainy season which is from March till May and October till November and early December. The best time to travel to Uganda is during the dry season and especially from mid-December to late February and from June till September. However, the country is mostly sunny with an average annual temperature of 26 degree Celsius.
The park can either be accessed by road or air from Kampala.
While using the road, the park can be accessed through Kampala – Kabale route which connect you to Nkuringo sector, Buhoma and Ruhija sector and takes about 8-9 hour’s drive from Entebbe/Kampala. You can also connect through Kabale- Ntungamo – Rukungiri -kihihi- Buhoma about 390 km followed by murram roads to Buhoma. There is another route through Queen Elizabeth national park via kihihi and Buhoma passing through Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park.
Alternatively, you can use air from Entebbe airport through the scheduled flights to kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi with flights in the morning and afternoon. There are also flights to kisoro which is close to the southern sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park with flights that only leave in the morning. You can also take charter flights from kajjansi to either kisoro or kihihi however, the charter flights are a bit expensive.
Accommodation facilities in Bwindi impenetrable park.
There are different accommodation facilities in Bwindi national park which vary from luxurious, midrange and budget accommodation facilities. There is plenty of accommodation depending on the sector you are planning to trek. The prices of accommodation facilities tend to rise in the months of June, July, August and September because it’s during this time that a number of tourists flock east Africa because of the dry season. However, these prices vary depending on the Likes and preferences, Season; in case of drier seasons of the year, hotels are booked to their full capacity and the prices are high yet in the wet season, a few tourists are visiting east Africa therefore, hotels are not so busy and the price are low. Lodges like; four gorilla lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge, clouds mountain gorilla lodge, Rushaga gorilla havens lodge of Rushaga, Buhoma lodge, Rushaga gorilla camp, mahogany springs lodge, Bwindi lodge, gorilla forest camp, trekker’s tavern lodge, Bakiga lodge, you can also get a lodge around Lake Bunyonyi lodges in Kabale like Bunyonyi overland resort, Lake Bunyonyi rock resort, Arcadia lodge Lake Bunyonyi among others. Contact Pamoja Tours and Travel Company for an exclusive experience. Our team has acquired knowledge and experience to help you plan a trip that matches your description, budget and dreams.