5 main activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
What are the 5 main activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park Uganda? Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the most visited national park in all gorilla parks in the world and it’s located in the southwestern part of the country in Kabale, Kisoro, and Kanungu districts. The Park borders Mgahinga national park and Virunga national park of DR Congo. Mountain gorillas are the main attractions in the park and they are found in 4 sectors of the park namely Rushaga, Buhoma, Nkuringo, and Ruhija. To trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park requires one to have a valid gorilla trekking permit which is issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority although you can still get it from a trusted tour operator. The following are the 5 main activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park;
Gorilla trekking (spend 1 hour with gorillas) in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Gorilla trekking is the main activity done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and this activity is done throughout the year in this park. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to 19 habituated mountain gorilla families and more than half of the mountain gorilla population. Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national parks give you a 99% chance of seeing these endangered species of primates in their natural environment. The Park has 4 gorilla trekking sectors and these are Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Rushaga, and Nkuringo in the south.
To trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park requires one to have a valid gorilla permit which can be bought directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or any trusted tour operator. The trekking age limit is 15 years in the park for some different reasons. If you are intending to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi in the high season, you are advised to buy your permits in advance of 30-4 months because they sell out quickly.
Gorilla trekking in any of the sectors of Bwindi begins with a briefing after which grouping is done and ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle to search for these gentle apes. while looking for mountain gorillas, the trekkers have an opportunity of meeting different bird species, tree species, and different animals such as monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, elephants, and buffaloes among others. When the trekkers locate mountain gorillas, they are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around mountain gorillas while watching them do daily activities, learn their habits and take photos.
Spend up to 4 hours with mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Gorilla habituation experience is one of the rare unique experiences only done in the Rushage and Nkuringo sector of Bwindi in the entire world. Gorilla habituation is a unique activity that allows trekkers to be around mountain gorillas for a maximum of 4 hours as they make mountain gorillas get used to human presence. The gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga or Nkuringo is done by only 4 people and this means there are only 8 gorilla habituation permits in Bwindi. For this reason, we advise you to book your gorilla trekking permit with us or from the Uganda wildlife authority in advance to avoid inconveniences.
Gorilla habituation starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where the trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla habituation activity. after the briefing, the trekkers are grouped into 4 and a group of ranger guides together with researchers, caretakers, and conservationists join the team to search for the mountain gorilla family. During the habituation experience, the trekkers have opportunities of meeting different park animals such as monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, bird species, water sources, and plant species. When the mountain gorilla family is allocated, the trekkers are given a maximum of 4 hours to be around mountain gorillas, take photos, watch them do daily activities, and also make them get used to human presence.
Bird watching activities in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to over 350 different unique bird species among which 23 are endemic to the Albertine rift region making it one of the best places to do bird-watching safaris. Some of the birds in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park that are endemic to the Albertine region include Archer’s Robin-Chat, Neumann’s Warbler, Blue-headed Sunbird, Dusky Crimson-wing, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Collared Apalis, Montane Masked Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, Kivu Ground Thrush, Regal Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, and Handsome Francolin.
Other bird species in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include; Evergreen Warbler, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Turner’s Eremomela, Green-headed Sunbird, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Great Blue Turaco, Grey Apalis, Cassin’s Honeybird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Coppery Sunbird, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Grey-headed Sparrow, Crowned Hornbill, Dusky Tit, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Crombec, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, White-breasted Negrofinch, White-browed Crombec, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Green Hylia, Grey-throated Barbet, Tiny Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, Honeyguide Greenbul, Klass’ Cuckoo, Collared Sunbird, and many more forest species.
Cultural encounters in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
The cultural encounters in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are done in Batwa pygmies who used to live in the forest not until the government evicted them to protect the remaining species of mountain gorillas and forest. When the Batwa got evicted, they decided to settle around the park and they are slowly getting used to living the life of other people. The Batwa were fruit gathers and used to hunt small animals for food, they used to collect honey in the forest, make fires using sticks, and used to use different plants as medicine.
The Batwa experience in Bwindi is led by the people from the Batwa community who take you around the forest showing you how they used to live in the forest, use bows and arrows to kill animals for meat, gather fruits, collect honey and they will show you different plants that they used to use as local herbs. The Batwa cultural experience also takes you to different communities around the park where you get entertained by the Batwa people through traditional songs and drama. You can also support the Batwa women by buying some of their local crafts.
Nature walks in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park comprises tropical and subtropical forests which makes the forests to be thick thus the name impenetrable. The nature walks in Bwindi are done in all sectors of the park are led by a well-trained UWA guide at a fee. The nature walks in the Bwindi forest give travelers an opportunity of seeing, and learn different tree species, different bird species, waterfalls, seasonal rivers, animals such as buffaloes, monkeys, elephants, giant forest hogs, duikers, and much more. Nature walks can be done after a successful gorilla trekking or habituation experience and are done by persons above 6 years of age.
How to get to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park?
After understanding the 5 main activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you nee to ascertain enough information on how to access the park for tourism. Bwindi located in the southwestern part of Uganda can be accessed using road transport or air transportBwindi impenetrable forest national park located in the southwestern part of Uganda can be accessed using road transport or air transport. By air transport, the park can be accessed from Kajansi airstrip in Kampala or Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip or Kihihi airstrip inside Bwindi taking only 2 hours. From there you can use ground means to access the lodge or park in a few minutes.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can also be accessed using transport from Kampala/Entebbe via Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale or Kisoro to different sectors of the park taking only 9-10 hours. The journey is long but rewarding with beautiful views of the countrysides, beautiful people, hills, and so many things. The park can also be accessed from Kigali city taking only 4-5 hours via Cyanika border in Kisoro or Katuna border in Kabale.
Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
There are 4 sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and each sector has different accommodation facilities. The sectors of Bwindi are Buhoma, Ruhija, and Rushaga. The accommodation facilities in these sectors range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and some of them in each sector include
Rushaga sector- Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla havens lodge, Gorilla safari Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Four Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, and Rushaga Gorilla Camp. Some travelers opt to sleep around Lake Bunyonyi in lodges like Arcadia lodge, Birdnest, Bunyonyi overland resort