Are you looking for gorilla trekking experiences in Bwindi forest national park? Mountain gorillas in Africa can only be found in 4 national parks in 3 countries. Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DR Congo and in Uganda you find them in 2 national parks Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park. Uganda is a habitat to half of the remaining mountain gorillas and it’s the only country where you can see these apes in two national parks.
Situated in south western Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home to the highest number of mountain gorillas in the world making it the best place to see endangered mountain gorillas. The park is a UNESCO world heritage and its called impenetrable because of the thick tree canopies in the dense forest that don’t allow sunlight from penetrating on to the ground. Bwindi impenetrable national park has 19 habituated gorilla groups which is the highest number of groups compared to other parks. Bwindi is located near some of the best tourist attractions in Uganda for example queen Elizabeth national park which makes it possible for visitors to combine mountain gorilla safaris with game viewing or any other activity. A gorilla permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park costs 700 USD which is way cheaper than gorilla trekking in Rwanda where a permit costs $1500. DR Congo permits are the cheapest going for 400USD and in low season 250USD and all this is because of instability in the country making gorilla tours in Uganda more budget friendly, safe and convenient. It’s important to know that the price of a gorilla permit excludes accommodation, VISA, transport, flights and food.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is not only a home of gorillas. Visitors to Bwindi impenetrable national park can engage in activities such as game viewing where you see chimpanzees, elephants and duikers, bird watching, forest walks as well as cultural encounters where you get to visit the batwa pygmy community. When you talk about chimpanzees, it’s only in Bwindi impenetrable national park where you see both the gorillas and the chimpanzees in the same area in the whole world. It is possible to meet the chimpanzees on your way to trek gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable is divided into four main sectors in the east, south and in the north. These sectors are Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo. Rushaga and Buhoma are the most popular and visited sectors because they have the highest number of gorilla groups. Visitors who want to participate in gorilla habituation experience can visit Rushaga sector. Visiting and of the gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park for habituation experience helps you to be with these apes for about four hours learning their behaviors, see them feed, play, breast feed and go hunt food under the guidance of researchers and well experienced guides. There are two gorilla habituated families in Bwindi impenetrable national park that are open for tourism and these area Bikyingi and Bushaho groups. A gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park costs $700 and that for gorilla habituation costs $1500 per person per day. There are only 4 permits issued out per day for gorilla habituation experience.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is always done throughout the year but the peak season is always the best time to visit the park. The peak season is actually the dry season and it happens in the months of December, January and February then it happens again in the months of June and august. The wet season is in the months of March to May and October to November and these months are good for gorilla habituation since the visitors in the park are few. Trekking gorillas in the rainy season is very difficult because of overgrown vegetation and the muddy trails. The low season comes with discounts on gorilla permits and there is always less crowds in the park giving visitors enough time with gorillas, researchers and the guides.
Bwindi impenetrable national park can be accessed using air transport from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip where visitors can connect to Kihihi. Or they can access the park by road transport from Kampala or from Rwanda. The road transport from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable national park takes you about 8-10 hours while the flight will take you about 2 hours or they can access the park by road transport from Kampala or from Rwanda. The road transport from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable national park takes you about 8-10 hours while the flight will take you about 2 hours to Kisoro airstrip. Some travelers avoid long way journeys from Kampala to Bwindi so they instead cross the border via Kabale-Katuna-Kigali road taking them only 3 hours to reach the park. You will be asked to present your passport and a gorilla permit once you reach Bwindi impenetrable national park. Bwindi impenetrable national park receives more than 88 visitors a day for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experiences.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national parks begins with a briefing from the head guides at Buhoma park headquarters at around 7 am in the morning. Visitors who want early morning breakfast can wake up early in the morning and be ready by 7am. After briefing at Buhoma headquarters, gorilla trekkers are grouped into 8 with each group trekking a different gorilla family. There are gorilla groups where trekking can start immediately at the briefing Centre while others you will need to be driven to the starting points in one of the four sectors in the forest park. Each group is led by well-trained guides from Uganda wildlife authority, two well-trained armed rangers, researchers and porters in case of big luggage and elderly people. The guides being well trained and informed about these apes, they will share with you every information about very gorilla group member you choose to trek and the forest in general.
The time you trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park depends on the gorilla family one is trekking which is known during briefing. Some gorilla groups can take 30 minutes to allocate them while others take hours to find them because they move deep in the forest. A team of trekkers led the group and identify the location of the gorilla family and then inform the lead guide of the location of the gorilla family using a radio call. Rangers and guides know where the gorilla group last slept the previous night and they will follow that direction. There is no guarantee of seeing these mountain gorillas but there are 90% chances of seeing them in Bwindi impenetrable national park. When the gorillas are too deep in the forest and time is going, the gorilla trekking activity is cancelled to allow visitors go to their hotels and lodges before getting dark.
Once you allocate a gorilla family, you will be given one hour to stay with them as you learn about their habits because the more you stay with them they start getting uncomfortable. Watching gorillas is an exciting experience because these apes behave like humans and share 98% of human DNA. The one hour given to you gives you time to observe their behaviors as you take photos and record moments with them. While at the briefing Centre you are given rules and guidelines which you should follow whole in the forest such as not smoking, lowering voices, avoid eating near the gorilla, not littering among others.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is blessed with enough flora and fauna. The park is not only a place for mountain gorillas. Visitors to Bwindi impenetrable national park get involved in so many activities among which include the following.
Visiting the batwa pygmies:
Batwa are the people who live in the dense forest of Bwindi thousands of years ago. These people were later evicted when the area was gazzated into a national park. When you visit the park you can actually visit them because they live in the neighborhood. Visiting batwa group of people gives you opportunities to learn and discover more about their culture and engage in some of their activities especially traditional dances while listening to their ancient stories of how they used to hunt animals and gather fruits in Bwindi forest.
Bwindi happens to be the only park in the whole world where you can spot gorillas and chimpanzees at the same time. Visitors who participate in gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park come across baboons and chimpanzees along the way. There are other primates in Bwindi can be seen on a primate safari and these include bush babies, l’hoest’s monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys and blue and white colobus monkeys.
Gorilla trekking remains the top most attraction in Bwindi impenetrable national park but the park has other animals such as forest elephant, forest duikers, giant forest hogs, bats, jackals, leopards, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, numerous bats and rodents.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has about 350 bird species so far recorded in the park with 23 endemic to the Albertine region i.e. Collared Apalis, Montane Masked Apalis, strange weaver, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-throated Alethe, red faced woodland warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori Turaco, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, blue headed sunbird, Handsome Francolin. . Birding in the park is done along the main trail, bamboo zone, buhoma waterfall trail and Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija. When you visit Bwindi impenetrable national park expect to see birds such as White-browed Crombec, brown woodland warbler, Green Hylia, Green-headed Sunbird, green crombec, Tiny Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Grey Apalis, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, stripe-breasted tit, Grey-headed Negrofinch, White-breasted Negrofinch, Grey-headed Sparrow, great blue turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Honey guide Greenbul, Klass’ Cuckoo, and many more forest species.
Gorilla safaris in Bwindi involves choosing a right accommodation in order to have a memorable safari. There are several accommodations in the and near the park ranging
Gorilla safaris in Bwindi involves choosing a right accommodation in order to have a memorable safari. There are several accommodations in the and near the park ranging from luxury to mid-range to budget but the choice depends on the money you have. Below are some of the major hotels and lodges in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Ruhija gorilla friends resort and campsite
Volcanoes safaris Bwindi lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge
Buhoma community campsite
Clouds mountain lodge
Gorilla forest camp
Every tourist planning to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park for gorilla trekking has though of how much a gorilla permit costs. Well a gorilla permits costs $700 for trekking which is cheaper than $1500 of Rwanda and gorilla habituation experience permit in Uganda costs $1500. Gorilla permits can be obtained from Uganda wildlife authority offices in Kampala or at the park itself. You can also use a trusted tour operator to do for you everything from accommodation to transport to booking permits or you can organize yourself a gorilla safari and visit Bwindi impenetrable national park. Money collected from selling gorilla permits a certain fraction is for the guides and rangers, another money is channeled to gorilla conservation as well as supporting local programs with an aim of improving the condition of local people living around the park. By buying a gorilla permit, you help in protecting the gorillas and giving back to communities such as Batwa pygmies who have been affected by gorilla activities and changes by the government.
Gorilla permits for Bwindi impenetrable national park are on a high demand and its advised you book these permits months in advance to be sure most especially if you are planning to travel in peak season or dry season. You should be aware of the sector you are interested in visiting. Apart from a gorilla permit, you need to plan for transport, VISA and accommodation and it’s advised you travel with a friend to share costs.
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