Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda Gorilla tracking Safari
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda Gorilla tracking Safari is Located in the south west of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park stretches for 321km2 at an altitude of 1,160 – 2,607 m above sea level. The area is among the East African areas with largest tract of Afromontane forest which existed since the pre historic era and endured through the last ice age forming the ground for great biodiversity concentration with highest number of trees in relation to other areas of its altitude stature. The park has enormous numbers of butterfly species some of which are endemic to the park and it is also holding great concentrations of mammal numbers. Containing about 400 out of 880 mountain gorillas that apparently thrive in the wilderness with none existing in captivity, the impenetrable forest of Bwindi holds the mantle as a great gorilla trekking safari destination. Surrounded by high population density with great agricultural attachment, it’s very interesting that Bwindi still has great biodiversity concentration including; 163 species of trees, 104 species of fern alongside other taxa. 16 species of trees are restricted to the Uganda’s south western region including Lavoa swynnertonii which is globally threatened.
Tourist activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
The Gorilla trekking activity is the primary activity in Bwindi impenetrable national park. The activity is done in the park’s four regions where a range of gorilla groups have been habituated for gorilla tracking experience. These include; Ruhija in the east with three (3) habituated gorilla groups namely; Bitukura, Kyaguriro and Oruzogo; Buhoma region in the north with three (3) habituated groups namely; Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura. Nkuringo in the west with one (1) habituated gorilla group namely; Nkuringo and Rushaga in the south with five (5) habituated gorilla families namely; Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Mishaya and Nshongi. The maximum of eight (8) people are allowed to track each group with one hour of direct encounter. The activity commences at 8am with short briefing by UWA rangers at the headquarter of each region before setting out to the mist in search of mountain gorillas which lasts between 2 – 8 hours depending on the movement of gorillas. The gorilla trekking encounter requires one to be in possession of a gorilla permit which is provided by Uganda Wildlife Authority at a price of $600 in the peak season or $350 in the low season for foreign nonresidents, $500 in the peak season or $250 in the low season for Foreign residents, 250,000/= in the peak season or 150,000/= for East African citizens in the low season. The activity is guided by UWA park rangers that have gathered considerable skill overtime.
Important notes to consider while undertaking gorilla trekking experience.
Jungle shoes which are firm on ground and light to carry for long and strenuous trek.
Since it may rain any time in Bwindi, the rain jacket is recommended.
Use ear plugs if uncomfortable with jungle sounds.
Sunscreen lotion, hat and insect repellant are crucial on this gorilla trekking activity.
You need to carry with you packed lunch as the activity might take longer than expected.
You need walking sticks to give you support through the steep terrain of Bwindi impenetrable forest.
Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
The Impenetrable forest of Bwindi has 350 bird species with 23 Albertine endemics and 14 species existing nowhere else in Uganda. The region of Ruhija offers good birding opportunities and the entire Bwindi forest in general. Birds include; Blue headed sun bird, Short tailed warbler, Red headed blue bill, Common Bulbul, African blue and white tailed blue flycatchers and African Emerald cuckoo. This activity is favorably done in the morning and in the evening along the Buhoma waterfall trail, along Bamboo zone, the main trail and the Mubwindi swamp.
Cultural Encounters in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is surrounded a range of tribal groups including the Bakiga and the Batwa communities. These tribal groups have differing traditions which are interesting to encounter while on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association
This community encounter lasts 3 – 4 hours exploring the traditions of Buhoma village. It starts at a local handicraft shop which sells locally crafted items like fabrics, wood carvings and bees wax candles. The walk through the Batwa community allows you to explore their traditions and how they are trying to set up a new life after their eviction form the forest. The activity exposes you to traditional performances, traditional healer who uses herbs to cure diseases, local school and other experiential activities like making banana juice, gin and local brew. The collections from the tour go to supporting local school, maize mill and local microfinance circle. The Batwa collections are given back them as they are.
Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)
The village of Nkuringo is close Congo boarder thus giving you an opportunity to explore the views of Democratic Republic of Congo. This activity offers great cultural encounters and scenic views. It takes you to the blacksmith called Nicholas where the traditional iron smelting is blended to with stand the contemporary changes. You enjoy the sights of knives and machetes being made live. This cultural encounter also takes you through peoples’ homesteads like Sicilia’s home exploring the traditional huts, traditional tools like cooking pots, grinding stones and local waragi distilling apparatus. Pena who is a traditional healer will show you how she applies traditional shrubs to come up with ointments, herbal powders and tea which are used locally to cure a range of ailments.
Buniga Forest Nature Walk in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
The Buniga forest is a pocket forest and is under the control of Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) that conduct guided walks through the forest. It is rich in flora and fauna. Its eco-tourism use was motivated by the increased encroachment by the locals which was threatening the continuity of biodiversity. The community decided to put some trails in the forest so as to promote eco-tourism that would lead to sustainable resource use in the area.
Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)
The Nkuringo Cultural Center is one of most experiential cultural encounters while on Uganda safari. It is designed to equip guests with a new skill while on their safari in Uganda which can supplement your gorilla trekking encounter. The activities range from weaving, traditional cooking, drumming and dancing. The center also provides guided village walks traversing the local homesteads, sharing with local people learning their life style and encounter the local crafts. The visit to the local school exposes you to the energetic Kiga dance with the belief that the best dancer is the one who shakes the ground.
Nyundo Community Eco-Trails
The Nyundo community undergone a serious climate change encounter and the rainfall volumes reduced drastically and the patterns changed. The hill slopes undergone severe erosion and the mist dis appeared and at lastly the crop production began to reduce. In return the local people reached a ground of restoring the forest so as to reverse the climate change effects. The eco tour trails were established in this forest to ensure its sustainable use. The trails expose you to King Bakyara’s waterfall, local brewing distillery, blacksmith, bee keeper, and banana plantation and cattle farm. The encounter also exposes you millet bread preparation, yoghurt making and craft making.
Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)
This is in the south of Bwindi and is designed to enable you explore the life of Rubuguri community. Rubuguri is one of those hard to reach areas that are connected by dirt road passing through rugged terrain. The area is remote and the local inhabitants have kept their traditions alive. The village walk takes you through a swamp, homesteads exposing you to the local people. Pay a visit to the local school called St. Peters Primary School and then enjoy the traditional Bakiga dance.
How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
Accessing different regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where gorilla trekking takes place including; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga can be done from Kampala, Kibale , Mgahinga and Volcanoes NP.
4 x4 Wheel drive is recommended due to the nature of the roads most especially in the rainy seasons.
The park can also be accessed using public transport. Buses from Kampala connect to Butogota passing through the towns of Rukungiri and Kihihi. Though one should know that the departure and arrival time is not specific.
The gorilla safari destination of Bwindi can also be connected to by Air. Aero link conducts scheduled flights to Kihihi and Nyakabande Airstrip in Kisoro from the International Airport of Entebbe. The Kihihi Airfield and Kayonza Airstrip provide easy connection to northern sector of Buhoma and Ruhija in the East while Nyakabande in Kisoro is ideal for southern sector of Nkuringo and Rushaga.
Murchison Falls National Park was established in 1952 and it is Uganda’s largest national park. Located in the north west of Uganda at the tip of the western rift valley also known as the Albertine rift, Murchison Falls National Park is in a distance of 311km about 5 hours’ surface drive from the city of Kampala. The national Park covers a surface landscape of 3,440km2 while the wider Murchison Conservation Area which embeds Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves combine to cover 5,308km2. . The Murchison Falls National Park is closer to Masindi town 85km about 2- 3 hours’ of surface drive. The Park is bisected by the River Nile which is the longest river in the world as it makes its way from Lake Victoria to Mediterranean Sea leaving a natural wonder famously known as Murchison falls which is the most powerful waterfall in the whole world. The feature derives its nomenclature after Sir Roderick Murchison who was the president of the Royal geographical society at the time of its discovery by Sir Samuel Baker. This feature is among the hotspots in Murchison National Park thus should not be missed while on safari in Uganda as it squeezes its self to make the way through an 8m ravine before plummeting 43m Read More About Murchison Falls Park
First established as Kazinga National Park in 1952, Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in the west of Uganda nearing the Rwenzori Mountains with snowcapped peaks towering at 5,109m above sea level. The National Park of Queen Elizabeth covers a cross section of the western rift valley floor stretching for1, 978km2 land coverage. Queen Elizabeth National Park is currently the most visited park in Uganda and is listed as a world biosphere reserve. It has rich biodiversity concentration with 95 species of mammals, 600 species of birds which makes it the first in Uganda regarding the bird populations, ten (10) species of primate and 20 predator species. Queen Elizabeth is also a habitat for the tree climbing lions dwelling in its sector of Ishasha, the famous Kazinga channel stretching to 45km long connecting Lake Edward and Lake George, the amazing Kyambura gorge with counts of Chimpanzees not forgetting the range of explosion craters some of which are salty lakes while others contain sulphur. This conglomerate to make Queen Elizabeth National Park an ideal destination that can be encountered while on safari in Uganda. Read More About Queen Elizabeth Park
Located in the south west of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park stretches for 321km2 at an altitude of 1,160 – 2,607 m above sea level. The area is among the East African areas with largest tract of Afromontane forest which existed since the pre historic era and endured through the last ice age forming the ground for great biodiversity concentration with highest number of trees in relation to other areas of its altitude stature. The park has enormous numbers of butterfly species some of which are endemic to the park and it is also holding great concentrations of mammal numbers. Containing about 400 out of 880 mountain gorillas that apparently thrive in the wilderness with none existing in captivity, the impenetrable forest of Bwindi holds the mantle as a great gorilla trekking safari destination. Surrounded by high population density with great agricultural attachment, it’s very interesting that Bwindi still has great biodiversity concentration including; 163 species of trees, 104 species of fern alongside other taxa. 16 species of trees are restricted to the Uganda’s south western region including Lavoa swynnertonii which is globally threatened. Read More About Bwindi Impenetrable Park
Gazetted in 1991, the park covers an area of 33.7 Sq.km making it Uganda’s smallest national park. It is a second refigium of the endangered mountain gorillas after Bwindi. It is also known for its golden monkey. The park has a strong cultural attachment to the pygmy community that inhabits the area. It has three conical features of extinct volcanoes which is part of the spectacular Virunga area. It shares boundaries with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mgahinga is located about 15 kilometers, by road, south of the town of Kisoro and approximately 55 kilometers, by road, west of Kabale, the largest city in the sub-region. The entire park is located in Bufumbira County, Kisoro District the extreme south western corner of Uganda thus among the secluded destinations that a traveler can visit while on Uganda Safari. Read More About Mgahinga Gorilla Park
Kibale National Park is found in Western Uganda sharing the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, approximately 320 kilometers, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. Fort Portal in Kabarole District is the nearest large city to the national park. It covers an area of about 795Sq.km and it one of the last surviving tropical forests in Uganda with over 351 tree species some of which are 200 years old and over 55m tall, 70 mammal species, 13 primate species including chimpanzee and over 375 species of birds. The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged Forest Reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park creating a 180 km wildlife corridor. It is a significant eco-tourism and safari destination, well known for its populace of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates. It also acts as the location of the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS). The park is surrounded by two major tribes, the Batooro and Bakiga who rely on the park for food, fuel, and other resources with the assistance of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Read More About Kibale Forest Park
Traditionally, two brothers settled on the land that the park currently occupies. These were Mburo and Kigarama. One night, Kigarama dreamt of an area flooding and cautioned his intimate brother to relocate from the area. His brother (Mburo) disregarded the dream and refused to relocate to the adjacent hills like what Kigarama had done. Unfortunately, the dream came true and Mburo was drowned by mass floods the filled the valley to form the lake that was later named Lake Mburo while the adjacent hill was named Kigarama in reference to these two brothers. Before the gazettion of Lake Mburo as National park, the place acted as royal grazing area for king of Ankole vis-à-vis other Bahima pastoralists who refer the area to “Nshara – ensinungyi erikwera”. Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda. The park is situated about 30 kilometers, by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. This location is approximately 240 kilometers, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. At 260 square kilometers, the park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more Read More About Lake Mburo National Park
The fabled mountains of the moon as described by Ptolemy in 150AD present the most exciting treasure that a visitor on a Uganda Safari would live to remember in his journey memoir. Gazetted as a national park in 1991 covering an area of about 996 Sq.km, received a designation status by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty with Margarita peak standing over 5,109m above sea level and without forgetting its coverage by snow throughout the year despite its closeness to the world latitude (Equator) makes it an attraction worth of encountering. Being a mountain range, it was once described as one of the challenging mountains to climb in the Africa travel magazine. The glaciers like Nyamwamba add spice to its scenic view and the park status assures the wild life of their safety making it their closest habitat. The park shelters 70 mammal species, 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation that differ in its five zones including; montane forest zone, bamboo forest zone, tree heath vegetation zone and Afro-alpine moorland zone. Read More About Rwenzori National Park
Kidepo National Park is positioned in the north western part of Uganda in Kaboong district 220km north West of Moroto the biggest town in the sub region and 700 km from Kampala – the Uganda’s capital city. Kidepo National Park was established in 1962 and it covers 1,442km2 of land surface providing habitat to 77 mammal species along with 475 bird species which makes the second in ranking after Queen Elizabeth National Park. Interestingly to note is that 60 of these bird species are endemic to Kidepo on Ugandan standards. Besides Birds, Kidepo also contain 5 primate species including the including the localized patas monkeys; 20 predator species which include the Kidepo endemics such as the aardwolf, bat eared fox, black-backed jackal, caracal and cheetah. Kidepo National Park has 12 species of Antelope which include the Kidepo endemics namely; lesser kudu, greater kudu, mountain reedbuck and Guenther’s dik-dik. Other wildlife also exist in the park including; elephant, lions, buffaloes, lions, bush duiker, leopard among other wildlife. Formerly, the area where Kidepo National Park belonged to Dodoth pastoralists and indigenous Karimojong who practiced cultivation before the establishment of wildlife reserve in 1958 to ensure the protection of wild animals from poaching. The park is the most remote of all Uganda National Parks which Read More About Kidepo Valley Park
The park covers an area of over 1,121 Sq.km with the fourth tall mountain in East Africa which was the once the highest mountain in Africa far from Kilimanjaro but only to be reduced to 4,321m due to denudation forces. With the last eruption occurring 24 Million years ago, Mt. Elgon can be considered oldest and largest solitary volcano not only in Uganda but East Africa in general. It houses one of the world’s intact largest caldera stretching to over 42Sq.km supported by 4,000 Sq. km base which is the largest volcanic base in the whole world.It was first gazetted as a Forest Reserve in 1929 and in 1940 the area became the Mt. Elgon Crown Forest while in 1951 it became a Central Forest Reserve. Due to encroachment by the Benet-Ndorobo people, the government alloweda 6000 hectare portion of the Reserve for settlement in 1983 though more 1500 hectares were settled illegally and in 1993 the area received a national park status thus can currently be incorporated in your itinerary while planning your Safari to Uganda. Read More About Mount Elgon Park