Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – the Ultimate gorilla experience
In today’s episode of our article series Uganda the ultimate safari destination you should visit in 2020-2021, we are visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. To anyone who ever fancies a dream of having an epic gorilla safari adventure, Bwindi should be one of the places you think about because this park is home to over the endangered mountain gorillas and this makes one of those places should never miss out on while on your Uganda safari.
Where is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located? / Which district is Bwindi found?
A Uganda safari tour adventure to Bwindi impenetrable national park takes on 512km or about a 10hour drive from Kampala city the capital of Uganda in the southwestern district of Kanungu. Bwindi impenetrable national park is boarded by districts of Kabale in the east, Kisoro in the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. This park is located on the eastern escarpment of the western arm of the great East African rift valley lying between 1190-2607metres above sea level with it’s the highest point being Rwamunyonyi hill at 2607metres found at the eastern end of the park while its lowest point is at 1190metres and is found at its northern endpoint. Its territory encompasses the thick canopies of the Bwindi forests. Bwindi forest is believed to be one of the oldest forests in East Africa as its carbon-dated to have existed as way back as the Pleistocene age or ice age which dates back 25,000 years.
What are the weather conditions of Bwindi?
Bwindi forest experiences an equatorial tropical climate with an average temperature range of 18-200C, the minimum temperature range is 7-15OC and the maximum temperature range is 22-28oC. It receives an average amount of rainfall of 60 mm or 2.4iches every month. The annual rainfall amount received in this forest ranges between 1400-1900mm or 55-75 inches throughout the year with most of it received in two periods of double maximum between February- May and between September – December. The humidity levels range between 77-88% every day.
What to see while in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in Uganda. This park is home to a wide range of bio diversity including 120 other mammal species with 10 primate species Mountain gorillas being the dominant of all the primates here. Other primates like chimpanzees, monkeys and baboons, Black and white colobus monkeys, 350 bird species of which 23 species are endemic to the Albertine rift and some of these include the following as slender billed starling, Kivu ground thrush, plus the white bellied Robin-chat, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Mountain Buzzard, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Hill-Babbler, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle, Black-and-white Shriker-flycatcher. 220 butterflies’ species, 27 species of lizards, geckos and chameleon, 163 tree species and 104 species of fern can be found during your tour Uganda expedition. There are also the Batwa people or commonly referred to as pygmies living in communities adjacent to the park.
How many gorillas are found in Bwindi?
Bwindi is home to an estimated 459 Mountain gorillas according to the recently published results of the 2019- 2020 Gorilla population census. However, this number is shared between Bwindi Impenetrable Park and the adjacent Serembwe Gorilla reserve in Congo that shares its boundaries with Bwindi on the western frontier of Bwindi. During a Uganda gorilla safari adventure in Bwindi, you are likely to encounter any of 18 gorilla families that have been habituated in this park and these are found in any of the 4 park sectors of Buhoma in the North with 4 habituated gorilla families, Ruhija in the East with 4 habituated gorilla families Nkuringo and Rushaga in the Southern end of this park with 2 and 8 gorilla families respectively.
How to get to Bwindi?
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be done by either using road or air transport means. For someone who is having only a few days to visit Bwindi, air transport is ideal since this park lies so far away from Uganda’s capital city. There are numerous flight charter companies that operate flights to Bwindi with the commonest being Aerolink Uganda flight company. However, if you can’t afford to pay the heftier flight ticket to Bwindi you but you would wish to still visit Bwindi in the shortest amount of time possible, then you can choose to begin your Uganda gorilla tour from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and then drive to Bwindi which is only 170km or 3-4 hours drive to get there. A drive to Bwindi from Kampala which is about 520km or 8-9 hours promises nothing but pure joy as you will enjoy exciting road stops at Mpambire drum center and have an encounter with local artists as they manufacture a wide variety of local musical instruments such as the drums, African chairs. Your next stop will be done at the Equator which is 77km from Kampala where you get to have an equator experience on how to differentiate the Northern from the Southern hemispheres and also have a photo moment. From here you will proceed with the journey. Enjoy a locally inspired lunch buffet at Igongo country hotel. Continue with your journey to Bwindi passing through the beautiful Mirama hills that have been tamed by locals who are growing bananas and other foods stuffs on the slopes of these hills. Along the way lookout for sightings of local people carrying riding bicycles loaded with farm produces such bananas. You won’t also miss to see women carrying their children monkey style as they have them strapped in their backs. A final stop will be made at the Great Lakes Museum in Kabale where you get to encounter the African tree of life. This tree is a made of different sculptures that depict the different forms of life of Africans. You can take a moment a pose for photos before you continue with the rest of your journey to the lodge in Bwindi.
What to do when you visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Given the fact that Bwindi is home to a wide range of attractions including gorillas, birds and the indigenous Batwa people, all options of activities are on the table and it will definitely depend on your safari interests. However, most visitors to Bwindi are gunning for that incredible gorilla safari hiking adventure so as to encounter these mountain giants and also an encounter with the Batwa people fascinates many travelers to Bwindi. If you’re interested in a gorilla encounter in Bwindi, you will need to spend the night before the gorilla encounter in one of the several Uganda safari lodges that are found within or the outskirts of this park. This is mainly because gorilla trekking begins quite very early in the morning at 8:00am. If you spent your previous night in Bwindi lodge, you will have an early morning breakfast served at 6:30am comprising of a wide assortment of bites ranging from truly delicious tropical organic fruits and confectionaries to give an energy boost for the gorilla trekking in Bwindi experience ahead of you where you get to meet one of the gorilla families in this park for a full hour. Depart from the lodge with your packed lunch and gather at the park center where you will be welcomed by the park sector warden who will take you through the history of gorilla conservation in this particular park sector and Bwindi park in general. While here still you get to have a miniature cultural performance from the local Batwa people who will showcase their musical skills to you. With your armed ranger in the lead, embark on a trek, searching for your allocated gorilla family, On seeing the gorillas, count yourself among the lucky people who have managed to see these endangered mountain giants in their natural habitat. You will be granted a full hour with these magical beings to watch them as they go about their daily lives and if you’re lucky you might get to see the young gorillas break the 7-meter rule as they get closure to you to have you incorporated in their games. After the full hour contact with these gorillas, you will transfer back to the park center where you get awarded a Gorilla tracking certificate for your tracking efforts.
How do I get a gorilla permit?
You can get a gorilla permit for your Uganda gorilla safari adventure from Uganda Wildlife Authority which has its headquarters located in Kamokya in Kampala. In order for you not to miss out in securing yourself a gorilla permit, it’s advisable that you acquire one 3-6 months in advance. However, you can also buy an all-inclusive package from any of the several indigenous tour operators that are found in Uganda such as Wild Gorilla Safaris, Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd, Car hire rentals Kampala Uganda, Kenya Safari tours, Tanzania Safari tours and Safari Uganda Safaris, A Uganda safari
How much does a gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi cost?
A Gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi is relatively cheap as it costs only 600$ as of today but it was increased by an additional 100$ hence it will cost 700$ beginning July 1st 2020. Even with this increase accounted for, gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi will still cost 800$ less than a similar gorilla tour permit in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Which lodges /accommodation are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has got numerous safari lodges that range from luxury to mid-range and budget lodges and these found in the different park sectors.
Some of the luxury lodges in Bwindi include Gorilla Forest Camp Chameleon Hill Lodge and Silverback Safari Lodge.
Mid-range lodges in Bwindi include Buhoma Haven Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Lake Chahafi Resort, Muntandala Lake Resort, Gift of Nature Safari Lodge.
Budget Lodges include Broadbill Forest camp, Buhoma haven community rest camp, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Conservation Through Public Health Camp and many others
Next time we will visit Lake Mburo National Park.
At Wild Gorilla Safaris, we strive to meet all your Africa safari needs as we have got virtually the safari packages that will give you a memorable Africa safari experience. For anyone interested in Uganda wildlife safaris packages we have got you covered with wide range of packages that are tailored basing on the number of days you have and the destination you would like to visit on your Uganda safari tour. If you’ve got only a few days, then choose from our short Uganda wildlife safaris which run from 2 days to 5 days such as 2 days Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison falls or 5 days Uganda wildlife safari with chimpanzees and many more. For those that have got more than 5 days, then I suggest pick from our compressive long Uganda wildlife safaris that run from 6 days to as many as 21 days such as
On top of an epic Uganda safari adventure to many of these savanna parks, you have an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. Yes, a Uganda gorilla tour experience is very possible when you visit gorilla trekking Uganda destinations Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla safari to any of these parks gives you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you nothing but the ultimate Uganda gorilla tours experience, you can ever think of.
If you’re interested Uganda gorilla safaris these are available in both short Uganda gorilla safari packages such as 3 days gorilla tours in Bwindi and 4 days Bwindi gorilla tour and wildlife in Lake Mburo. There are also long Uganda gorilla tours that run from 6 days to as many as 18 days while featuring many other things along the way to the gorillas. After a magical gorilla tour in Uganda, you can always visit Lake Bunyonyi Uganda and enjoy the stunning views of this magical lake. A visit to Lake Bunyonyi gives you an opportunity to experience a boat ride on Africa’s second deepest lake.
Rwanda is also another gorilla destination you wouldn’t want to miss out on, hence if you are planning for a Rwanda gorilla safari package, check out some of our Rwanda gorilla tours packages which also come in form of short Rwanda gorilla gorilla safaris for those that have got only a few days in Rwanda but those that have got more days, then Long Rwanda gorilla trekking safari packages will do you good as they also give you a chance to visit other Rwanda safari attractions.
Congo as well is another gorilla destination and we have numerous Congo gorilla safari packages that will take you on a Congo gorilla tour adventure to either Virunga National Park for an encounter with mountain gorillas or Kahuzi Beiga National Park where you will encounter Eastern lowland gorillas. Besides gorilla safaris and wildlife encounters in Uganda, you can still explore Uganda’s diversity using any of our wide range of day trips that visit other sites that are near the capital city Kampala or Entebbe international airport such as a Mabamba birding day trip to Mabamba island Kampala city tour day tour Jinja day tour and 1 day Ngamba island chimpanzee safari. Check out our great east Africa safari to such as Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safari tour that take you on an Africa wildlife safari adventure to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.