Bwindi Impenetrable National park, Gorilla Trekking
BwindiImpenetrable National park is found in south western Uganda and is a safari destination offering habitat to more than 340 of the endangered world mountain gorilla population. It is popular for Mountain Gorilla Tracking Safaris. It covers an area of 321 square kilometres with a landscape comprised of both montane and low land forest and it can only be explored on foot. The impenetrable forests of Bwindi supports a diversity of steep landscape, thick forest with undergrowth vegetation, highly slippery valleys, mixed up vegetation as well as several ridges. Visitors are advised to carry strong hiking boots with good ankle support to enable you to move easily along the slippery paths. They are also encouraged to dress in long sleeved shirts and long pants to protect them from scratches from the bushes and insect bites during this Uganda Safari Holiday. Warm clothing is recommended particularly for the cold temperatures mainly in June and July. Bwindi Impenetrable forest experiences two rain seasons; the long rains are received starting in the month of September up to November while the short rains are received from March to May.
The name “ Bwindi” means “impenetrable” which is meant to be cautionary advice since Bwindi not only is has a thick forest, but the undergrowth is hard to manoeuvre through as well. So taking a trek in what is believed to be one of the oldest rainforests in Africa will reward you with the best wildlife encounter in the world.
In 1942, the Bwindi was gazetted as a forest reserve, however in 1992 it upgraded to the status of a national park thanks to the rich biodiversity. Although its most popular for its remarkable Gorilla Trekking expeditions, it is a wonderful place to see other primates as well as enjoy bird watching.
Mountain gorilla tracking is exhausting as it may sometimes require hiking for long distances along the damp, steep and slippery slopes of this thick forest. There are four (4) mountain gorilla groups within Bwindi open for tourism-activity and they include; Mubare, Nkuringo, Rushengura as well as Habuyanja. Although tourists are allowed to visit this park all year long, only 8 members are allowed to see each of these gorilla families daily. A three day gorilla safari by Travel Gorge to Bwindi can accomplish your goals but some holidaymakers normally combine the trek with a wildlife adventure or a water adventure extending the number of days on the safari.
Visitors can only spend one hour with the gorillas and each trekker should have a valid gorilla trekking permit. A gorilla permit is an identity that is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority that allows you to trek the mountain gorillas. Visitors are separated into groups of eight (8) and then led into the forest by the ranger guides. Every visitor must abide by the gorilla tracking rules and regulations for the safety of the gorillas and the trackers themselves. These rules have been put in place to protect the mountain gorillas from human diseases and other threats.
Several other primates live within this forest like the grey checked mangabeys, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, red colobus monkey plus the black & white colobus monkeys, in addition to a diversity of other animals for example antelopes, huge forest hogs and elephants. Bwindi Impenetrable forest is one of Africa’s best eco-systems and comprises lowland and montane forests that support over 160 types of trees ad 100 species of ferns. It is listed as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO and its home to more than 110 species of mammals, over 25 frog species as well as a number of different geckos and chameleons.
Following the Munyanga river trail that leads to three beautiful falls namely; the Rushurra river trail, Muzabajirro trail and the Ruizi River trail will offer trekkers a chance to explore a bewildering part of the forest during which they will encounter a very large number of epithectic ferns and orchids.
Wildlife in Bwindi National Park
There are an estimated 27 frogs species, chameleons, geckos, 120 mammals species, 348 birds species and 220 butterflies species in addition to several endangered species. the main attraction within the impenetrable forests of Bwindi is the Mountain gorillas, and this park is home to more than half of the total mountain gorilla population in the world. it has four (4) gorilla groups that have been habituated and these can be visited by tourists. they include: the Nkuringo group living within the Nkuringo area, Rushengura, Mubare and Habuyanja groups living close to Buhoma area.
In 1993 Gorilla tracking became an internationally highly sought after activity and the Bwindi became a one of Uganda’s popular tourist destinations. Some of the additional wildlife that can be seen here includes:
Other species in the park include; the giant hog, red tailed monkey, the small antelope species, L’Hoest’s monkey, chimpanzees, African elephants, vervets plus the black and white colobus monkeys in addition to the African green broadbill and the cream banded swallow tail. The park also harbours a number of carnivores like the African civet and the jackals.
Best time to Visit Bwindi National Park | When to go?
Holidaymakers can visit the Bwindi all year round although it is better to visit during the dry season. The park is open from January to December for gorilla trekking but the optimum time is from the month of June to August. the other wildlife is usually seen in the dry season as the vegetation is less dense, the amount of rainfalls is less to interrupt the trip as well as hike is less slippery and challenging since the forest paths are not so muddy.
From April to May the amount of rainfall increases and this makes the hike in the forest very slippery and challenging. Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that this is a rainforest so rain is expected any time of the day.
What to do in Bwindi NP | Activities
Gorilla trekking: Bwindi impenetrable forest is famous for gorilla trekking an activity that will offer you a chance to see the endangered mountain gorillas within their natural habitat.
Guided Nature Walks: There are several walking trails to be savoured and these include the River Ivi, river Munyaga as well as the Muzabajiro loop which take from just a couple of hours to a whole day to complete.
Cultural tours: Buhoma village walks starting at Buhoma community rest camp are a fun guided experience that will give your personal opportunities to interact with the locals in thid area as well as learn about their fascinating culture and practices.
Bird Watching Tours: Bird watching can also be enjoyed on a Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable forest since it has a record of approximately 352 bird species.
Other activities conducted here include cycling and hiking.
What is a Mountain Gorilla Trekking Experience?
Well this is a very fascinating and memorable wildlife encounter experience. The best way to describe a gorilla trekking experience is to give a detailed story
The mornings in this gorilla sanctuary begin early and are exceptional. if you manage to awaken before sun-rise, you will observe that The astounding forest is covered with mist, and as the sun rises from the East which makes for a scenic view. The silence off the disappearing night is broken by the chirping of birds here and there or the cry of primates which makes for an impeccable setting for a scrumptious breakfast to kick-start your day. The landscape of Bwindi Impenetrable forest is unique and absolutely beautiful. The scene is truly picturesque.
A heavy breakfast is a necessity to begin a day of gorilla trekking. There is a feeling of satisfaction as you have your breakfast while watching the sun rising over Bwindi. Take a look at a sample 3 day safari with gorillas.
The gorilla trekking – search for the gorillas
You proceed to the appropriate park headquarters after packing all your gear. It is still morning so the mist is still over the tree tops building an atmosphere of anticipation.
The park ranger guides offer a short orientation to the visitors about their visit with the mountain gorillas, outline the dos and don’ts as well as provide guidelines on how to enjoy and successful complete the trip. There is a maximum of 8 participants per gorilla trekking group. Your guide is usually the person who was part of the habituation process for the group of the gorillas you are going to track. The guide provides a lot of information and insights about the gorilla family you are going to visit.
Every group of trekkers is assigned a military guide for your safety though there have never been any incidents of insecurity. the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) does this to ensure your safety.
Porters are available for hire at the park headquarters to assist carry your bags. This enables you to better enjoy the trek and it gives you the freedom to look around and take photographs without the burden of a heavy bag. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest can take up to 8 hours. Once you locate the gorillas, the visit is one hour. The most thrilling part of the gorilla safari is the trek. The time spent in the rainforest is as you track down the gorilla family will be used by the guide to offer you more information about that gorilla family.
Every day, the gorillas migrate to a new location in the forest so as you walk along the forest’s trails, the job of the guide is to pick up from where they were last seen the day before and try to find them again.
The actual trek begins when you reach the gorillas’ previous location. The guide then begins to look for signs and directions of movement for example footprints and broken twigs. Gorilla trekking requires patience, takes time, good knowledge of the forest and the behaviour of the mountain gorilla family you are tracking.
Meeting the Gorillas
Once you finally track down the gorilla family, you have the time limit of an hour to be astounded and watch them. Mountain gorillas are simply fascinating and many people are left speechless and in awe that they are standing a few meters from them. It is a once in a lifetime kind of moment.
The hour passes in a blur as you watch the mountain gorillas and have your mind blown by this beautiful experience. Such a feeling is priceless and cannot be replicated.
What else can I see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
As you are tracking gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest you will cross paths with other primate species. There are some chimpanzees in Bwindi however they have not been habituated like the gorillas and they may not be very tolerant of human presence. Other primates in the forest include: the black & white colobus monkeys, baboons, L’Hoest’s, blue-tailed monkeys and the red tailed monkeys.
Beside primates there are a number of other mammals living within Bwindi and these include: forest elephants, forest duikers and bushbuck antelopes. The forest also has a large diversity of bird life with over 345 bird species and 200 species of butterflies. It being a rain forest there is a variety of exotic trees and other plants which you will encounter as you explore the forest while gorilla trekking.
It is because of the Gorilla trekking adventures carried out here that Bwindi National Park has become one of the most popular Safari destinations not only in Africa but the world at large. For that reason, no Safari in Africa is considered complete without a visit to this Bwindi Gorilla Sanctuary.
Please contact us for more information and our great team from Travel Gorge will assist you in organizing your dream Gorilla Trekking Safari.