Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Uganda’s 10 magnificent national parks nestled suitably in Southwestern side of the country. This protected area is undoubtedly a premier gorilla trekking safari park and it lies along rim of the Albertine rift just at the border area with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Three districts surround Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro with its elevation ranging between 1160m and 2607m.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best Uganda safari parks and it was founded as a national park in 1991 purposely to protect a section of the endangered mountain gorillas. In 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site making it one of the exceptional safari destinations in Uganda and world at large. The park sits on hilly countryside and it is largely composed of a lush tropical rain-forest where its floral and faunal species are confined.
Wildlife species in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of endowed Uganda safari parks with diverse faunal species. It is here where an estimate of over 459 mountain gorillas out of all the 1063 individuals on earth exist. This is an estimate of about half the world’s population of rare mountain gorillas, majority of which have been habituated for tourism reasons making it one of the world’s best gorilla trekking safari parks.
Aside from mountain gorillas, there exist also a huge profusion of other primates and other mammal species, reptiles, butterflies to mention but a few. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also accommodations L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees (making it one of the only parks where mountain gorillas share the same habitat with mountain gorillas), civet cats, elephants, buffaloes, striped jackals, African golden cat, bush bucks, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black fronted duikers, clawless otter, genet cat, yellow backed duikers, rodents, bats, red tailed monkeys plus about 220 species of butterflies, chameleons to mention but a few.
Birdlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is listed among the best bird watching destinations in Uganda and East Africa as a whole. The park hosts a huge profusion of birdlife, accounting for over 360 bird species and they include among others the Kivu ground thrush, yellow eyed black flycatcher, bar tailed trogon, green broadbill, grauer’s warblers, black billed turacos, black bee-eaters, white tailed blue monarch and others.
Flora in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Over 220 tree, 1000 flowering plant and 100 fern species make up Bwindi Impenetrable Forest’s diverse floral species. They include the brown mahogany and the rain-forest plays a significant part as a water catchment area, source of food for wildlife and a major source of water to numerous rivers flowing through the park especially the River Ivy, Ntengyere, Ishasha and Munyaga.
Tour activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain gorilla trekking is a top safari activity attracting thousands of tourists on Uganda safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla treks are carried out in the park’s 4 existing regions; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Presently, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda’s premier gorilla trekking destination comprises of 20 habituated gorilla family groups, each trekked by only 8 trekkers. These include Katwe, Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura (Buhoma); Rwigi, Kutu group, Busingye, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, Kahungye, Bweza, Nshongi, Bikingi (Rushaga) and Nkuringo family, Christmas group and Bushaho in Nkuringo sector.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is one of the many exciting activities Uganda safari visitors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can engage in. This is one of the rarest primate adventures and one of its kind in Africa. It is conducted by researchers, scientists and trackers.
Gorilla habituation experience is a process of making the semi-habituated gorillas get used to human presence. After, they can be opened for gorilla trekking. The process can take 2 years or less and presently, Kutu gorilla group family of Rushaga area is under gorilla habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Unlike gorilla trekking, habituation experience permits cost $1500 but you have 4 hours of a face to face encounter with the mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is absolutely an exceptional birding paradise, boasting of over 360 bird species. A birding tour in this birder’s paradise involves identifying varied birds mostly the Kivu ground thrush, yellow eyed black flycatcher, bar tailed trogon, green broadbill, cream banded swallow tail, grauer’s warblers, black billed turacos, black bee-eaters, white tailed blue monarch.
Remarkably, there is possibility of you identifying over 100 birds in just a day! The different birding areas in Bwindi include Buhoma waterfall trail, Ruhija, Bamboo zone and others.
Guided Nature Walks
There are many ways to explore Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and guided nature walks offer exceptional insight into what this protected area hosts. You will visit various habitat through different trails, each rewarding you with lots of amazing sights ranging from birds, plants, primates, butterflies and others.
Outside the usual game safaris, the experience you get on bike is absolutely different and a Uganda safari in Bwindi lets you to be part of biking tour experience. Biking or cycling tours in Bwindi are operated by Women’s Group and you will explore the nearby communities and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with possibility of sighting various birds, primates and many more.
Batwa Cultural Encounter
After a gorilla trekking experience, visit the Batwa community for a captivating traditional and cultural performances displayed by the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa lived as hunters and gatherers for over 500000 years. However, they were displaced to pave way to gorilla conservation and protection.
When to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be done at any time of the year and this is due to the park’s favorable climatic and weather conditions. But it is best visited during the dry season especially for gorilla trekking. The dry months of the year you should mark on your calendar when planning for a gorilla safari in this park are June, July, August, September and December, January, February. The wet season is also good when it comes to Uganda safaris to Bwindi and this occurs in March, April, May and October, November.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If you have any plans to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is essential to choose the right accommodation for overnight stay. Visitors can choose from luxury to budget lodges in and around the Bwindi.
Some of the budget lodges to stay in while on gorilla safari in Bwindi include Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Wagtail Eco Safari Camp, Nshongi Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp; Engagi Lodge Bwindi, Gorilla Mist Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Eco-Marvel Gorilla Resort-these are mid-range options and luxury lodges include among others Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Spring Lodge.
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed by road or by air. By road, there are many routes that lead to this park and you can start driving from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka through Mbarara-Kabale/Kisoro a journey estimated to cover 8-10 hours. Or drive from Kigali via Katuna/Chanika border area about 3 or 4 hours’ drive.
By air, it is possible for you to also take flight from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield at 7:00am/8:00am to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip about 1-2 hours then you can drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.