Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi National Park also known as Bwindi Forest National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a tropical rainforest which receives a mean temperature range of 7-15 degrees Celsius minimum and 20-27 degrees Celsius maximum, with an annual rainfall range of 1400-1900mm. Bwindi National Park is most famous for inhabiting the endangered mountain gorillas, which can only be found here and the Virunga Massif Area which encompasses Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Volcanoes National park of Rwanda. With about 1063 mountain gorillas recorded, the Park Uganda inhabits almost half the total world population of mountain gorillas, and currently has the most habituated gorilla families that travellers can encounter on gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south western Uganda, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. The Park is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, Kabale town to the south east which is also the nearest town to the park. The Park covers a total area of about 331 square kilometres, with an altitude of range of 1190-2607 meters above sea level. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 8-9 hours from Kampala city by road, and about only 1 hour by charter flights.
The Park is a beautiful lush green tropical rainforest, with thick vegetation that the park derives its name “impenetrable” for nothing. The Park is one of the most visited national parks of Uganda, with a number of attractions and activities that travellers do come to see and take part in.
Attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
There are number of attractions in Bwindi National Park that travellers can encounter once in the park, and they include;
Mountain gorillas are the top attraction in the Park, which see a number of travellers visiting to encounter them on various activities like gorilla trekking. The Park located in the different gorilla sectors of the Park. Travellers can encounter these endangered mountain gorillas anytime of the year.
Mammals and other primates in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Apart from the endangered mountain gorillas, mammals and primates in the Park that you can encounter while in the park include forest elephants, the African civet, side stripped jackal, red tailed monkeys, galago, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, among so many others.
Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are one of the reasons that travellers do visit the park. The Park has over 350 bird species recorded and is a great birding destination for bird enthusiasts. Of the birds on Bwindi National Park there are about 23 of them which can only be found in the Albertine Rift, and 14 bird species endemic to the Park. Some of the bird species in Bwindi include the handsome francolin, regal bird, African wood owl, Kivu ground-thrush, western green tinker bird, among so many others.
There are a number of hiking trains in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which lead through some of the most fascinating attractions in Bwindi, and sometimes even hidden treasures and gems like the waterfalls. There are a number of trails in the Park and they include the River Ivy trail, Habinyanja trail, Waterfall trail among so many others.
The Batwa Pygmies
The Batwa pygmies are the very ancient inhabitants of the Park, who used to co-exist with the wildlife in the area. They were hunter gatherers who got evicted from their home the Bwindi forest as the park was protected solely for the endangered mountain gorillas. Travellers do get to see the Batwa pygmies with a Batwa community visit where you shall be shown their ancient way of life which hasn’t changed much, and their day to day lifestyle which may be otherwise different from what you are used to.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking in the Park is the most sought after activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla habituation is an activity that involves hiking the jungles of the park until when one encounters the gorilla family that they are habituate. Gorilla habituation takes travellers alongside gorilla experts to habituate the gorillas before they can be fully availed for travellers to gorilla trek them. Gorilla habituation has travellers spending about 4 hours with the gorillas, taking longer than gorilla trekking which is only 1 hour long. Gorilla habituation allows only 4 trekkers per gorilla group, and costing as much as USD1500.
With the lush green vegetation of the park, as well as the scenic sights, nature walks are some of the activities that you can do in the park. Nature walks can be done all throughout the day, and can take anything from 3-4hours or more depending on the trail chosen.
Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most amazing activities you can enjoy. Birding safaris in the Park have travellers encountering a number of bird species like the great blue turaco, bar tailed trogon, black breasted barbet, and green broadbill, among so many others. The most amazing bird watching trails in the Park are the Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail and the bamboo zone.
Batwa Cultural Experience
The Batwa cultural experience shall take you through the ancient lifestyle of the Batwa pygmies who were hunter gatherers who coexisted with the wildlife in the park. The Batwa cultural experience shall see you learning how to hunt, cook locally like the Batwa, making fore with sticks, among so many others as the Batwa people did in the past.
Gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
There are four gorilla sectors in the Park, which are available for visiting all throughout the year. The four gorilla sectors of the Park include Buhoma sector located in the northern part of the Park and the oldest gorilla sector, Ruhija sector of Bwindi which is one of the nearest sectors to access and located in the east of Bwindi, Rushaga sector located in the south of Bwindi as well as Nkuringo gorilla sector.
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Travellers can get to the Park by both air and road. By road, the Park is about 8-9 hours from Kampala, via the Masaka highway to Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro and Kanungu. One’s driving time is however determinant on the gorilla sector to be visited. By road however the Park is about only 4 hours from Kigali, for those travellers who can fly into Kigali International Airport. By air, travellers can have charter flights from Entebbe or Kajjansi to any of the airstrips in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park like Kihihi airstrip, and then get transferred to your lodge of stay ahead of your much anticipated gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The best time to visit the Park, or even to be specific the best time to go gorilla trekking in the Park is during the dry season which falls in the months of June through October, and December through February, which is also the peak season of travel in the country. Though these are considered the dry months of the year, the Park is a rainforest which has rains falling any time of the year, travellers are thus advised to carry warm clothing and jackets to protect oneself from rains when they do fall.
The Park is a great destination in Uganda that you could visit for a number of activities like the much sought after gorilla trekking to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Combining a gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with an African safari tour say with Kenya safaris, Tanzania safari or even Zanzibar holiday safaris would be very rewarding, giving you an opportunity to encounter the prime attractions and activities of the African continent. A gorilla trekking and Serengeti wildlife safari sounds great, and winding it up with a Zanzibar safari tour in the fine white sand beaches is one of the best safaris you could ever have. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you pitch together an amazing gorilla safari and more.