BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
"the Ultimate Gorilla Experiences"
While the generic idea of a safari in Africa would comprise of an endless plain with dry grass, big predators stalking oblivious prey and a heartwarming sunset to cap it off, there is quite a lot more to offer in this continent.
You might not even believe what you are in store for when you step a little high up into the rolling forests of Uganda, where one of the most majestic and endangered species of primates resides - Mountain Gorillas. Not only this, it is completely different from anything you would’ve seen in your life. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of those national parks that are one of a kind. An 8-hour drive from Entebbe will bring you to the rolling hills in Southern Uganda where the Bwindi national park is located. It is in the vicinity of several other national parks with a similar terrain of mountains and deep valleys with lush vegetation like the Mgahinga National Park. However, the Bwindi National Park is the most famous, the most diverse and the largest of its kind in Uganda. The gorilla tracking experience an adventure unique to Uganda only.
The park was gazzetted in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. The park lies at an altitude of 1160m-2607m above sea level. It's also a source of five rivers that flow into Lake Edward. Approximately 400 mountain Gorillas are habitats to the park.
ACTIVITIES IN BWINDI
GORILLA TREKKING IN BWINDI
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for its Mountain Gorilla populations and gorilla tracking although, it also offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa and is a key destination for any birder doing a Safari to Uganda. Amongst the numerous possibilities are no fewer than 23 of Uganda's 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including spectacular, globally threatened species such as Shelley's Crimson wing and the African Green Broadbill. Bwindi is one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age and it is home to roughly half of the world's mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for its outstanding gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge to elephant, chimpanzee, monkeys and various small antelope and bird species. If you book a Uganda gorilla safari without Gorilla trekking then you will have missed an opportunity to see these rare and threatened gorillas. The variant biodiversity is supported by the fact that Bwindi is extremely old and also its slopes extend over a broad altitudinal range of 1447m above sea level, enabling habitats ranging from lowland forest to Afromontane vegetation.
CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS IN BWINDI
Explore the culture of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities with village walks, blacksmith visits, craft shops and vibrant dances - all against the astounding backdrop of the forest-covered hills of Bwindi.
BIRDING IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
The varied habitats of Uganda’s oldest forest mean it is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species.
HIKING/NATURE WALKS IN BWINDI
There are six main nature trails in Buhoma for those who wish to explore the “impenetrable forest”, including waterfall walks, forest walks, primate encounters, mountain views and impressive birdlife.
CYCLING/MOUNTAIN BIKING IN BWINDI
Mountain biking follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
CLIMATE AND WHEN TO VISIT
Bwindi is chilly in the morning and at night with average temperatures ranging from 7⁰C - 20⁰C. The coldest period in Bwindi is June and July, while wet seasons are March-May and September-November with total annual rainfall of up to 2390mm. Rains in March-May are short. They are heavier in September-November but can just be long hours of soft drizzle.
Gorilla tracking can be enjoyed any time of the year. However, depending on your tolerance for mud underfoot and rain trickling down your neck, there’s some variation in how comfortable you might be during the Gorilla tracking activity
Uganda’s dry season runs from December to February and from mid-June to mid-August which also doubles as the peak season for Gorilla Tracking safaris. However, the habitat being a montane forest sometimes it rains during these dry months. Wet season is March to May and again in September through until November. The long rains stretch from mid-March to mid-May.
WHAT TO BRING
Good walking boots if attempting any hikes or climbs, wet weather clothing and warm layers for the evenings – it gets cold and damp at this altitude. The sun is still fierce during the day – even when overcast – so be sure to still wear sunscreen and a sun hat. You may also want to bring waterproof bags to protect cameras and other equipment when hiking.
Water and snacks are also recommended, as well as a packed lunch for full-day tours.