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Complete Guide to Visiting Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular of all Uganda’s
national Parks. Located in southwestern Uganda, this UNESCO world
heritage site features among the most splendid protected areas in East
African Region. It lies at the border area between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
just along the Albertine rift valley. It covers an area of about 331
square kilometers comprising of mainly the montane and lowland forests.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park lies between
altitude 1160 and 2607 meters and it was gazetted mainly to offer
refuge to most of its incredible wildlife species. This park is one of
the most biodiverse areas in Africa. It offers refuge to about 120
mammal species, 350 bird species, 27 frogs, 220 butterflies, 1000
flowering plant species plus more than 163 tree species as well as 104
ferns. As you head to the northern sector, you will find numerous Guinea Congolian flora that include 2 endangered species, brown mahogany and brazzeia longipedicellata.

The weather and climate of Bwindi National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park receives rainfall amount of around
1500mm and given the kind of habitat, this park features as a
significant rainfall catchment area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site
also experiences two wet seasons and two dry seasons with a wet season
starting from March to May and from October to November then the dry
season begins from June to September and December to February.

The people

Like any protected area, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
is surrounded by the Bakiga and Batwa pygmies. This also means that a
visit to this park doesn’t only reward travel endeavors with magical
mountain gorilla encounters but also with thrilling cultural experiences
from the Batwa and Bakiga communities where you will be amazed by their
rare dances, music performances and also get a chance to learn more
about their life styles.

What to do in Bwindi National Park

 

Mountain gorilla trekking

The main activity in this park is mountain gorilla trekking and it takes
visitors through the thick forest and steep slopes to look out for the
rare mountain gorillas. To track gorillas in this park, there are four
main trailheads where treks usually start from and they include Buhoma,
Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Each of these regions feature habituated
gorilla families of which Bwindi National Park comprises of about 17
habituated groups which are readily available for this life changing
experience. To be part of this lifetime gorilla safari experience, you
need $600 to secure your permit.

Gorilla habituation experience

 

Unlike other destinations where gorilla trekking safaris
are conducted, Bwindi National Park offers both the usual gorilla treks
and gorilla habituation experiences. With gorilla habituation
experience, you get opportunity to enjoy incredible moments with these
great apes in the wild. Bwindi National Park is the only national park
in the world where gorilla habituation experience is conducted. With
this adventure, you have all the fours to be with gorillas, explore
their behavior, take photos as many as you can. It is a rare experience
the fact that it takes you through semi-habituated gorilla families.

Bird watching

 

For those of you who love birding, Bwindi National Park is one of a few
remarkable birding habitats you need to consider a must to explore.
About 350 bird species call this park a home and these include 23
species that are endemic to the Albertine rift. Among the many birds
that thrive within this park include the African green broadbill, short
tailed warbler, blue headed sunbird and others. Bird watching in this
forested protected area is conducted in four of its main trails-Buhoma
waterfall, bamboo zone, Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija.

Nature walks/hiking

This park comprises of 6 (six) nature trails most of which are found
within Buhoma sector and you can embark on guided nature walks which
take you through hidden treasures of this protected area. Among other
incredible sites for you to explore include the waterfalls, primates,
mountain views as well as bird species. The nature trails in this park
include the Muyanga waterfall walk, Ivy River walk, Rushura hill walk,
Muzubijiro loop, Habinyanja trail and many others.
Other safari activities for you to do while on safari in this park include cycling or mountain biking, cultural encounters.

Where to stay in Bwindi National Park

Bwindi National Park is known for its numerous accommodation facilities
where tourists spend a night before or after their strenuous adventures.
The available lodges for you choose for your overnight stay in Bwindi
include Chameleon Hill lodge, Buhoma lodge, Mahogany springs lodge,
Silverback lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge, Trackers safari lodge,
Buhoma gorilla resort, Gorilla safari lodge, Bwindi Jungle Lodge and
many more.

Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is reachable both by road and
by air. By road, most routes to this park converge to Butogota
approximately 108 kilometers away from Kabale to Buhoma through Ruhija.
If you are traveling from Kampala, you will head off to Buhoma via
Kabale to Ntungamo. There are also many other routes. Alternatively, you
can embark on direct flight from Entebbe International Airport or
Kajjansi airstrip to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip where you can easily
connect up to the park within a shortest time.

Conclusively, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is not only
popular for mountain gorillas but also for a number of most significant
wildlife species for you to catch a glimpse at while on Uganda safari.

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