Sited in the hillsides of southwestern Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a tropical impenetrable rainforest covering a total land area of 331 square kilometers.The national park was garzetted in 1991 to accommodate for the endangered mountain gorillas and was acknowledged as a world heritage site in 1994. The national park is a home to the uppermost population of mountain gorillas in the whole world roughly 400 making it the best gorilla trekking site worldwide. There are approximately 36 gorilla families thirteen of which have been habituated for trekking.
The impenetrable forest national park is a water catchment area in the region with several watercourses that provide water to the adjacent communities. Among the rivers in the forest include Ihihizo, Ivi, Munyanga, Ntegyere and Ishasha River among others. Travelers are free to visit any of the streams providing them with an inordinate experience.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi
This is the principal attraction in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park drawing flocks of travelers from all parts of the world. The national park is a home to the highest population of mountain gorillas approximately 500, which is half of the world’s mountain gorillas. In total, there are thirty-six gorilla families thirteen of which have been habituated for trekking. The habituated families include Mubare, Rushegura, and Habinyanja in Buhoma sector, Bitukura and Oruzogo in Ruhija sector, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye and Kahungye families in Rushaga sector and Nkuringo in Nkuringo sector. More still, there are two families that are under habituation and these are Bikingyi and Bushaho and most travelers have taken part in the experience.
Gorilla permits Booking
This is a must have for everyone taking part in a gorilla safari in Bwindi forest. A permit is accessed at a cost of 600usd from the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) or any trusted tour company that organizes gorilla trekking packages. More still, travelers are required to book in advance and pay booking fee for timely allocation of gorilla families. On the other side, the gorilla habituation experience permit costs 1500usd, which is quite expensive, compared to the trekking permit. Both permits require a traveler to book at least three months in advance to avoid dis organization at the last hour.
There is no specific time for trekking but it varies depending on the location and movement of the mountain gorillas. It can take from 30 minutes to six hours but it’s a great experience despite the time spent. After reaching the mountain gorillas, travelers are allowed to spend an hour with the mountain gorillas after which they descend back to the starting point. A distance of seven meters recommended between the mountain gorillas and the travelers to avoid the spread of spread of human wildlife diseases.
This is the first activity done before trekking. It normally starts at 8:00am and here travelers are introduced to the dos and don’ts while trekking. Travelers are reminded to take photographs with only non-flash cameras, avoid coming close to the gorillas and not to feed the endangered species in anyway. More still, due to the susceptibility of mountain gorillas to human diseases, travelers with sicknesses such as cough and flue are not allowed to trek. Also, travelers are cautioned to turn back their backs while sneezing or coughing to avoid the spread of air borne diseases to the mountain gorillas.
Though not compulsory, proper dressing is very helpful to the trekkers. They are reminded to put on long sleeved shirts, panties, jackets, rain jeers, hiking boots and hand gloves. The reason for such kind of dressing is due to the un predictable weather conditions in the national park. It is a tropical rainforest meaning that rain can shower at any time of the day despite the season. More still, the grounds can be slippery especially when it rains and in the early mornings, hence an advantage for those trekkers with hiking boots and hand gloves.
Where to sleep
Various lodges positioned in all corners of the national park serve travelers to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. These include among others
Mahogany springs safari lodge located at the extreme of the national park in Buhoma sector. The lodge offers luxury food and room services to travelers of each kind at affordable prices.
Gorilla forest camp is another upmarket luxury lodge in buhoma sector of the national park.
Chameleon hill lodge is located in Rushaga sector of the Bwindi national park over looking lake Mutanda. There are 6 cottages double rooms and the other ones singles at the same time twins.
Other lodges in Bwindi national park include Bakiga lodge, gorilla mist camp, gorilla view lodge, Nkuringo lodge, clouds safari lodge trekker’s camp, travelers rest camp in Kisoro is also available for the trekkers.
The best time to visit
Bwindi forest national park is a tropical rainforest meaning that weather cannot be predicted. Therefore, the dry season is best to trek the gorillas since the grounds are not slippery which make it easy to hike. However, trekking can also be done in the wet season and permits are issued at a low rate hence an advantage to low budget trekkers.
Conclusively therefore, a visit to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a lifetime experience. Travelers should therefore visit the park with a great assurance of generation experience and high quality services.