Gorilla Trekking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla Trekking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Gorilla trekking is an incredible experience one shouldn’t miss on Uganda safari destination which can be encountered in the montane rain forest. Besides that, mountain gorillas can be found in four national park in the entire world that is; Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable forest in Uganda. Above all, half remaining mountain gorillas are found in Uganda and is the only country where mountain gorillas can be found in two different national parks
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hosts the highest population of mountain gorillas in the world and is arguably a great location to see these great apes ‘’mountain gorillas’’. This national park is located in south-western region of Uganda on an area of about 321 square Kilometres and was listed on UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.
The park is called impenetrable because of the thick tree canopies common in the forest that prevents direct sunlight from penetrating to the ground. There are more than 20 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi splinted in four gorilla sectors where gorilla trekking can be carried out that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located near some of Uganda’s best visited tourist attractions such as Queen Elizabeth national park which can be easily combined with gorilla safari with spotting of the big five. Note, a gorilla permit in Bwindi is sold at USD700 per person which is less than the USD1500 charged in Rwanda. Congo gorilla permits are bit cheaper at only USD400 each, the instability in DR Congo has made gorilla tours to Uganda more budget friendly. Further notice, the price for a gorilla permit doesn’t include other expenses on Visas, flight, accommodation, transport and food. The total price of a gorilla tour can go up to USD5000 for the luxury traveller.
However, Bwindi is not only about trekking gorillas. Visitors can also engage in other interesting activities such as Visiting the Batwa Pygmy Community, do forest walks, bird watching as well as viewing other primates like Chimpanzees. Bwindi is a world’s premium location for primates where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees can both be found. And as you can be trekking gorilla in the forest, it is very possible to meet the chimpanzees along the trekking trails.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a capital of primates and is divided into four main sectors namely Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushanga. Take a note, Rushaga and Buhoma sector hosts the biggest number of gorilla groups and are the most popular area for gorilla trekking. To visitors who are interested in a gorilla habituation experience can do it from Rushaga, gorilla habituation is a full day experience spent with mountain gorillas face to face in the mist of the forest. The 3 Days gorilla habituation experience allows travellers to study a particular gorilla group more closely in four hours under the guidance of researchers and experienced trekkers. There are two gorilla families undergoing habituation namely Bikyingi and Bushaho groups already open to visitors. In order one to be able to experience in gorilla habituation must pay USD 1500 and it’s good to pay in advance before your trekking time because only four permits can be issued for gorilla habituation experience daily.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking is an emotional experience which can be done throughout the year but the peak season is best time to visit gorillas in their nature inhabits of Bwindi impenetrable forest. The peak season normally falls in the dry months of December to February and between June and August. The wet season occurs in March to May and November, trekking gorillas during these season is bit challenging because of the overgrown forest vegetation and mud trails. However, travellers shouldn’t be discouraged on visiting the park in rainy season. Bwindi is a rain forest so rain should be expected throughout the year. Note, low season attracts discounts for gorilla permits and less crowds of people in the park thus giving them more intimate time with the gorillas and guides. There are both 1day and 2 days Bwindi gorilla safaris. The one-day gorilla safaris to Bwindi is well conversant to those on a busy schedule. Then the 2 days Bwindi gorillas tour package is favourable to those with more time to spend in the park.
The park can be easily accessed by air through Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport or by road from Kampala and Rwanda. From Kampala by road transport is approximately 8 to 9 hours while a flight takes only 1:30 hours. Some travellers tend to avoid the long journey by road from Kampala by arriving from Kigali Rwanda which lasts only 3 hours. Upon your arrival to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, you will be required to present in your passport and gorilla permits once you access the park. And more than 70 people tend to visit Bwindi on a daily basis to see gorillas.
In general, gorilla trekking starts early morning with a briefing at the park headquarters at around 7am.Therefore, visitors are advised to sleep early before the day of trekking and wake up by 5am to take breakfast before beginning the journey from your lodge to the park office, trekkers are divided into smaller groups of 8, each group following a different gorilla family. Since the park hosts very many groups, some groups might start trekking the gorilla family close to the park offices while others to be driven to one of the four sectors its starting points. You will be guided by the park guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority, two armed rangers and porters who move with each group for help. The guides are well trained and knowledgeable. So they are willing to share information about each of the gorilla group members.
The time taken for gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park depends on the gorilla group you’re assigned to trek in. Some groups can take only 30 minutes to locate the family you’re to trek in while others can take hours. Sometimes, a team of trekkers normally goes ahead of the group to identify the location of the family through communicating the lead guide by radio call of the location of the gorilla group. Trackers can be knowing where the gorilla group last built their sleeping nests and can be easily allocated. There is no guarantee of seeing this creature ‘’gorillas’’ but chances of viewing them is very high.
Once the family is located you’re met to trek in, you will be given one hour to watch them so that they don’t start getting uncomfortable. Watching gorillas is extremely emotional event, gorillas behave like humans and are said to have 98% of our Genes. You will have time to observe their behaviour and different personalities as well as enjoying photo taking memories. Please note this, follow the rules and regulations being given for gorilla trekking such as;
Keep a distance of about 6 to 7 meters away from gorillas
Do not run away when a gorilla charges at you
Don’t smoke or drink in the forest
Stay in group
Other activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest park is a diversity of flora and fauna where visitors can visit and be able to engage in several other activities apart from gorilla tour and below are the activities followed;
Visiting the Batwa Pygmies: These are the people who have been here for centuries and used to live in Bwindi forest with mountain gorillas for thousand years ago but now they resettled outside the park. On your visit to Bwindi never leave the park without Visiting the Batwa pygmies where you will get a chance to learn about their amazing culture.
Primates watching: Bwindi is absolutely world’s primates’ destination, a forest where you can see both gorillas and chimpanzees. Other smaller primates that can be sighted on a primate safari in Bwindi include Blue monkeys, Bush babies, Red tailed monkeys, Colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys.
Wildlife viewing: Bwindi National Park is not only a safari destination for gorilla trekking though it’s the major top tourist attraction but still you can do wildlife viewing by spotting animals like leopards, bats, forest elephants, jackals, forest duikers and giant forest hogs among others.
Birdwatching: Bwindi impenetrable forest is a birder’s paradise with over 330 bird species.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Travelers who visit to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park involves choosing the right accommodation. You can choose from luxury, Mid-range and budget accommodation options available. The rate for accommodation depends on your personal choice.
Such lodges or hotels include Volcanoes Safari Bwindi Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Community campsite, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge, Silverback lodge among others.
Where to buy Gorilla permits in Uganda
Gorilla permits can be bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala and at the park itself. Paying for the permits, you’re helping to conserve the gorillas and also giving back to communities like Batwa who have been affected by gorilla conservation activities as well as to the government. Uganda gorilla permits are sold at USD 700 which is far less than the USD 1500 charged in Rwanda.
Lastly, one to be able to participate in gorilla trekking must be holding a gorilla permit and they are on high demand. So visitors are advised to book for gorilla permits in advance in order a tour operator to organise your trip in time, we recommend you to use services of a good tour company, if you don’t hesitate you can contact or email us Achieve Global Safaris to organise for you atrip.