Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a primate safari destination situated in the south western part of Uganda. It is a typical tropical rain forest with annual temperature range from minimum of 7-15 degrees celicius and a maximum of 20-27 degrees celicius. Bwindi forest receive heavy annual rainfall of about 1400-1900 millimeters. The heavy rain starts from March to April and from September to November.

bwindi gorillas

 

Bwindi forest has chilly weather due to its immerse canopy therefore you are advised to come along with warm clothings for evening and mornings plus long sleeved shirts for gorilla trekking. You need to be in a better physical condition in order to go up and down during the ultimate experience of the gorilla trekking or in search of birds and butterflies. Due to its great bio diversity in hosting different flora and fauna and being blessed with half of the remaining mountain gorillas, Bwindi forest impenetrable forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. The park’s 321 square kilometer is covered with bamboo and shrubs laying on steep slippery valleys with ridges and hilltops.

Location of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi forest is located in the south western part of Uganda at the edge of the riftvalley.it is bordered Democratic Republic of Congo in the western side and Kabale in the south east and it is the shortest route to the park. It is 29 kilometers away by road to the park and covers a square kilometer of 331 and also situated in the parts of kigezi highlands. Bwindi forest has an altitude of 1190 to 2607 meters above the sea level with an elevation of 200 meters above the sea level. The highest elevation is Rwamunyonyi hill found at the eastern edge.

Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Animals

Bwindi forest is blessed with over 120 rare mammal species which hide in the thickets of the dense forest both the big and the small mammals. These animals include the buffaloes, lions, elephants, golden cats, bush pigs, duikers, giant forest hogs, yellow-backed duiker, black-fronted duiker, clawless otter, numerous bats and rodents among others.

Butterflies and Amphibians

The forest is gifted with over 200 butterfly species and the eight Albertine rift endemics like the African giant swallowtail and the cream-banded swallowtail. Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park is blessed with 27 amphibian species and 11 of them being endemic to the Albertine rift, 14 lizard species and 14 snake species.

Birds

The forest is a home to over 350 bird species making it the perfect birding destination in Uganda. Bwindi forest has 23 Albertine rift endemics plus the 14 can’t be found anywhere in Uganda. These species include Shelley’s crimson-wing, Chapin’s flycatcher, collared Apalis, white bellied robin chat, Fraser’s eagle, blue headed and regal sun birds among the rest. Birding safari is only done in the Mubwindi swamp in Ruhija sector of the park.

bwindi birds

Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is an encounter where a traveler or a group of people go hiking through the thick forest so that to capture how the eye catching gorillas look like and also clearly view the place where gorillas stay. Bwindi forest is the best destination to go gorilla trekking since it has almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is done on a daily basis after getting a gorilla trekking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices. You are advised to book the gorilla permits in advance at least 4 months prior to the date of travel for the best trekking experience in Buhoma. A maximum of 8 people from 15 years of age are allowed to visit the gorilla family per day. On reaching the gorillas you are allowed only 1 hour with the gorillas learning their behaviors and lifestyles. The park currently has 4 trekking sectors which include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.

gorilla trekking in Bwindi

Gorilla habituation

Gorilla habituation is the experience where the gorillas are trained to live with humans. Visitors are given more time with the gorillas like up to 4 hours learning their behaviors. Gorilla habituation is only done in the Rushaga sector which is found in the south of the forest. The activity is best done in the months of June to September and December to march.

Bird watching

Bwindi forest is one of the Africa’s birding destination due to its large number of bird species. It has over 350 bird species including 23 which are Albertine rift endemics plus the 14 which are which are recorded nowhere in Uganda. The forest can be accessed easily for birding since it has birding trails leading to different places including the waterfall. Bwindi forest has knowledgeable professional guides who have enough information about the birds both the endemic and the non-endemic.

Nature and waterfalls walks

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has various different trails leading you to the wonderful waterfalls where you can dive in the water. Here you are provided with an armed Uganda Wildlife ranger guide to safe guard you in case you come across with the wild animal. These trails include the Rushaga hill trail, it passes through the forest which is shared between Uganda and Congo, Buhoma-Nkuringo trail which is 4-5 hours crossing through the national park.

bwindi nature walks

Gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

The forest has four gorilla trekking sectors which include Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo. Rushaga has 5 gorilla families and is the only sector where gorilla habituation experience is done. Therefore one oughting to visit Uganda wouldn’t miss to prepare for the experience because it is mind blowing.

Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park                                                         

Gorillas in Bwindi forest are grouped in families and live in gorilla sectors. The gorilla families have the silverback being the male and the head of the family. These mountain gorillas are trekked according to the gorilla families and the gorilla sectors.

Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

The park can be accessed from any part of Uganda, it is situated about 478 kilometers from the capital city Kampala. You can access the park either by road or by chartered flights. By road it is approximately 7 to 8 hours’ drive and you can also access the park from Queen Elizabeth national park through the ishasha sector which is 3 to 4 hours’ drive. The park can be accessed by air flying from Entebbe International Airport to kisoro or kihihi airstrip on a chartered flight using Aero link.

Accommodation facilities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Accommodation facilities in Bwindi forest range from luxury budget and mid-range. You choose a type of accommodation depending on the gorilla trekking sector you would love to trek. The lodges include the following; Buhoma-silverback lodge, Mahogany springs, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge. Rushaga-Rushaga Gorilla Camp, chameleon hill, Bwindi jungle lodge. Ruhija-broadbill forest lodge, agandi lodge. Nkuringo-clouds mountain gorilla lodge among the rest.

Best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

The best time to visit Bwindi forest is during the dry months of the year and are the peak seasons for gorilla trekking. These are the months of mid-June to October and December to march. In the nut shell gorilla trekking can be done all year round with out closure.

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