If there are magical tourist destinations in the world that you shouldn’t miss out in your travel plan then Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of them. This splendid protected area is strategically situated in the Western arm of the Mighty Rift Valley in the southwestern part of Uganda. The 331 square kilometers’ expansive park boasts of its diverse habitats that offer refuge to variety of wildlife.
Uganda’s foremost tourist attraction, the endangered mountain gorillas that stay on the misty slopes of the remote ancient forest. These magnificent apes are both rare and endangered with their total population numbers less than 1000 individuals divided between the forests of Bwindi and the nearby Virunga Mountains. The world’s most remarkable wildlife encounters, gorilla trekking is done in this impenetrable forest and this is a must do adventure if you visit Uganda. In addition to the mountain gorillas, Bwindi also hosts several primates that include chimpanzees, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys etc.
The forested jungle also contains an exceptional variety of flora and fauna. It has 120 mammals, 51 reptiles, over 200 tree species, 310 butterflies and 88 moths. In terms of birds, Bwindi is a haven! Birdlife is exceptionally rich with 357 bird species including 23 Albertine Rift endemics of which 7 species are on the IUCN Red Data List.
The notable activities for you to be explored in Bwindi National Park include;
Boasting of over 440 gorillas, Bwindi National Park is truly a mountain gorilla highland and it is of no doubt that it is the favorite gorilla safari destination in the world. Gorilla trekking is the highlight of a visit to Bwindi and a magical hour in the company of a gorilla family is a memorable and unforgettable experience. Unlike other gorilla watching destinations, Bwindi boasts of about 17 habituated groups that are ready to be visited by tourists every day. Each gorilla family shares unique history and experiences and they are distributed within the 4 main trailheads where the usual treks normally kick start at this park.
They include Buhoma sector that features habituated groups like Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura; Ruhija trailhead with groups such as Bitukura, oruzogo; Nkuringo with only Nkuringo family and Rushaga sector that features families like Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Kahungye and Busingye. To trek gorillas in this park, you need $600 to first secure your permit that offers you opportunity to trek only one habituated gorilla family in a group of 8 (eight) trekkers. Contact time with the gorillas is highly regulated given that gorilla tourism was developed along the guidelines of responsible tourism.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
Unlike the usual gorilla treks, there is a new adventure that has been introduced in in Bwindi. Known as gorilla habituation experience is an exceptionally most extra-ordinary primate adventure that is only offered in Bwindi National Park and not anywhere else in the world. This remarkable primate experience takes you through the semi habituated gorilla families with researchers something different from the normal treks. Visitors on this adventure enjoy all the 4 hours on face to face encounter with the Great Apes in addition to the entire day of following them in the wild unlike the one hour of magical encounter during gorilla trekking. This primate experience rewards visitors with more about these Great apes’ behavior and body gestures.
With over 6 designated nature trails in Buhoma sector, Bwindi National Park is a truly a paradise for nature lovers. A nature walk is one way you can best explore what this park has in offer for its visitors. It exposes you to several incredible attractions most of which include splendid waterfalls, primates, butterflies, tree species, birds, plant exploration a mention but a few.
The key nature trails for you to explore while on safari in Bwindi Forest include River Munyanga walk which comes with amazing sights at variety of birds and primates as well as splendid Munyaga waterfalls, Ivi River walk exceptional for bird watching, the Bamboo trail walk, Rushura hill walk, Muzubijiro loop that takes hikers through six kilometers’ walk around the beautiful hill and catch a glimpse at varied primates and bird species, Habinyanja trails which lasts for 4 to 6 hours walk and many others.
For enthusiastic birders, Bwindi National Park is that one destination you need not to miss to visit while on birding tour in Uganda. It boasts of over 357 distinct avifaunal species that thrive in its dense forest most of which are rarely sighted anywhere in Uganda and East Africa at large. There are 23 bird species that are endemic to Albertine rift and these include the short-tailed warbler, Shelley’s crimson wing, African green broadbill and the blue headed sunbird.
While on bird watching exploration in this park, don’t miss to spot bird species like the African green broadbill, dusky crimson, short tailed warbler, yellow eyed black fly catcher, rusty faced woodland gruel’s rush warbler, bar tailed trogon, Kivu ground thrush and many more. For exceptional bird watching in Bwindi, the notable areas for you to embark on are the Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija and others.
Safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are never complete without cultural encounters. Cultural safaris in this park take you through the Batwa trail and Batwa experience in Buhoma to learn more about the Batwa lifestyles, traditions and cultures. The Batwa pygmies are very famous hunters and fruit gatherers who lived in the jungles for over 5000 years but left without any negative environmental effect. Besides, you can also pay a visit to Bakiga community where you will explore more about their cultures.
In conclusion, Bwindi National Park is remarkably one of Uganda’s most splendid parks. A visit to this park rewards you with a lot more exciting things for you to enjoy while on Uganda safari.