BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
Set suitably in the southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is incredibly one of Africa’s most spectacular montane national parks. It lies strategically along the Albertine rift valley just at Uganda border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bwindi National Park spans up to 331 square kilometers making it one of the smallest parks. It forms part of the vast Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is Uganda’s one major water catchment areas. This rainforest park straddles between altitude 1160 and 2607 meters.
What to see while on Uganda safari in Bwindi National Park
There are many things to see while you are on Uganda safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park boasts of its natural endowment and remarkably, it is a host to 11 primate species including over 440 mountain gorillas that make up about half the total population of mountain gorillas that still thrive on the planet today. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park also inhabits other remarkable primates including chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys and olive baboons a mention but a few. More than 350 bird species do thrive within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, 23 of which are Albertine rift endemics and 14 may not easily be spotted in any other part in Uganda. The notable birds for you to spot out while on birding tour in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park include the African green broadbill, brown necked parrot, Frazer’s eagle owl, white tailed flycatcher, blue flycatcher and many more. Besides, there are also over 200 colorful butterfly species for you to catch a glimpse.
Activities in Bwindi National Park
Gorilla trekking is a major safari experience that every visitor on Uganda safari to Bwindi National Park shouldn’t miss to take part. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of the 4 parks where mountain gorillas can only be tracked in the wild. This park features among a few preferred destinations for gorilla trekking given its many tracking areas that make up the 4 major regions that is say Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Each of these areas has its habituated gorilla families which have been set for visitor to track while on Uganda safari in Bwindi National Park. For memorable gorilla safari, the habituated groups in Bwindi National Park include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe in Buhoma sector; Rushaga area has Mucunguzi, Rwingi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza and Nshongi while Ruhija sector is composed of Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro and Nkuringo sector has Nkuringo and Christmas. To take part in gorilla tracking in Bwindi National Park, you need $700 for you to secure a gorilla permit. You can obtain one through a reliable, trustworthy tour operator in Uganda or reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Gorilla habituation experience
A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park allows you to take part in gorilla habituation experience in addition to the usual gorilla treks, a unique primate adventure that allows you to spend more hours face to face with a group of mountain gorillas while they are in their natural habitat. Gorilla Habituation experience in Bwindi National Park gets you 4 hours of magical encounter unlike the usual gorilla trekking where you have only 1 hour. There are 2 groups set aside purposely for this extra-ordinary primate experience and they include Bushaho and Bikingi. Permits for mountain gorilla habituation experience cost $1500 per person.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a true birder’s haven. About 350 bird species do thrive within this forest park and they include the western green tinker bird, chestnut-throated apalis, Kivu ground thrush, montane oriole, African green-broadbill, collared apalis, shinning African blue, common bulbul, white tailed fly catcher, fine banded woodpecker, short tailed warbler a mention but a few.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is ideal for nature walks. With nature walks, you have a chance to get close nature and explore the hidden treasures within this pristine park. A nature walk in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park takes you through different trails including the Munyanga River trail which gets you the best sights at distinct species of primates, birds among others. The waterfall trail-this takes you to the 3 scenic waterfalls, Muzubijiro loop-which gets you the best views over Bwindi forest, western rift valley, the Virunga volcanoes and others, Bamboo trail that is characterized by 14 different vegetation types, Ivi river trail which is ideal for bird watching, Buhoma village tourist walk that takes you to Batwa and Bakiga community, Rushura trail and others.
Bwindi National Park like most parks in Uganda and Africa at large are surrounded by local communities. The residents in the adjacent communities do have unique cultural and traditional practices that are worth exploring while you are on safari. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is surrounded by the Batwa and Bakiga communities. Each of which has its story to tell. However, a cultural safari in any of these communities allows you to explore more about their unique lifestyles, cultures, dances, music performances and many more.
You may also take part in mountain biking, village walk and others.
Safari lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has many accommodation options-they range from budget to luxury. Visitors on Uganda safari in Bwindi can choose to spend a night in any of the following safari lodges-luxury options-Buhoma lodge, Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge; Budget lodges for overnight stay in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park include wagtail eco safari camp, gift of nature lodge, Buhoma community rest camp, Broadbill forest camp, Nshongi camp, Ruhija community rest camp; the midrange/moderate options include Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Silverback lodge Bwindi, Gorilla Mist Camp, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort, Engagi Lodge Bwindi, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp.
When to visit Bwindi National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is an all year round safari destination. But most significantly, any intending visitor on Uganda to Bwindi National Park needs to take note of the dry and wet season. The dry season always begins from June to September and December to February. The dry season is the most preferred period for most visitors on Uganda safari to Bwindi National Park. The rainy/wet season normally begins from March to May and October to November. This is characterized by heavy rainfall, muddy ground and slippery steep slopes.
How to get to Bwindi National Park
There are two options for you to get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park that is by road or air. By road, it takes you about 8 to 10 hours to get to Bwindi National Park. Your journey starts from Kampala or Entebbe in a good 4 WD safari car. From Kabale, drive for about 108 kilometers to Buhoma via Ruhija about 3 hours. Kampala-Buhoma route is good from Kabale to Ntungamo. From Ntungamo, drive for 45 kilometers to Rukungiri where you then drive via Kambuga to Kanungu then finally come to Butogota about 17 kilometers to Buhoma.
Alternatively, you can save time by taking a flight from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield and then you land in at Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip where you can easily connect up to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park by road.
In summary, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of Uganda’s most magical tourist sites that you need to pay a visit. A visit to this park allows you to explore a lot more of its intense biodiversity and also to take part in different exciting safari experiences.