Though named “Impenetrable”, our relatives, the Mountain Gorillas co-relating with several primate species, rare birds and plants have made and still make millions of travelers penetrate the lush Afro-montane forest of Bwindi impenetrable national park, located in the southwestern part of Uganda, a true destination that deserves the word Jungle
Groups of travelers out for a safari to Bwindi Impenetrable national park should appreciate that the exodus of this gorilla habituation dates back in 1993 when the vast land of Bwindi forest was set aside as crown forest reserve.
The southern section named Kasatora crown reserve whereas the northern dubbed the Kayonza crown forest reserves both summing up to 207sq.km of land by 1942. When the two were combined, they were renamed, impenetrable crown forest reserve which expanded to 298sqkms, under the management of both Uganda forest department and Uganda government’s game parks.
Following the 1942 expansion, Bwindi forest was transformed into an animal sanctuary in 1964 to render protection to the endangered mountain gorillas that were increasing in number yet facing the threats from poachers and diseases. Still under the management of the forest reserve and game sanctuary in 1966, more two forest reserves were added to the original one.
Then comes 1991, when the government of Uganda declares it a national park, renamed from Central forest reserve to Bwindi impenetrable national park. This was done alongside Mount Rwenzori and Mgahinga national park. It was then listed among the world heritage sites in 1993, with more ten square kilometers of land added into it.
The Bwindi impenetrable national park which seats on roughly 331sqkms of land is home to half of the world’s mountain Gorilla population open for trekking and Gorilla habituation for a group of up to eight people per day. It is located in the southwestern part of Uganda, along the base of the western rift valley, and neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
There is a lot recorded in the park such as the lush biodiversity of the Afro-montane rain Forest, over 300 individual endangered mountain gorillas, approximately 120mammals including the forest elephants, 350 bird species, and several primates among others
You can track the gorillas in any of Bwindi’s four sectors namely, the Buhoma sector which is the oldest and still receives highest number of visitors. Notable Gorilla families here include the Habinyanja group habituated in 1997, the Mubare group habituated in 1991, and the Rushegura group habituated in 2000.
Rushaga sector has Bweza group, the Busingye group, Nshongi group, and Kahungye group habituated in 2011, among others.
Ruhija sector includes Bitukuru group habituated in 2008 and Oruzogo habituated in 2011, etc. while Nkuringo sector which has Nkuringo group habituated in 2004, with approximately 19 exciting members. You can also engage in Gorilla habituation in the Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors with two groups set aside for your full-day experience.
Why Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park?
Firstly, Bwindi impenetrable forest is host to half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, found in the Virunga Mountains, which extends to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The chances of encountering these gentle Apes in Bwindi is very high since there are many families with the attributes that best suits your interest
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is situated in a remote place, noise-free, secure, with the cool environment, classic accommodation, accessible by both Land and air no matter your direction. It only takes three to four hours to drive from Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking permits cost 700usd per person per day, relatively cheaper than that of Rwanda and higher than the one of the Democratic Republic of Congo
When to Visit Bwindi Impenetrable national park?
Uganda has two seasons, the dry season (December- early March, June to early September), then wet season, (April to August, October to November).
The best time for visiting Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park as a group is during the dry season, when the roads are clear, and the ground is not muddy for Hiking.
The Gorillas are always exposed during this period in time as they roam around the park, climbing huge trees in search of fruits, fiber, and water.
What to Do in Bwindi Impenetrable national park?
The main activity in Bwindi impenetrable national is Gorilla trekking, done in any of the four sectors, through the guidance of expert park rangers.
A group of up to eight people, aged 15 and above are allowed to track per day, while obeying the set rules governing the park, such as the 7-meter distance from the Gorillas, no making noise, using flash fewer cameras, no littering the park and respecting the gentle Apes all times.
Other activities a group can engage in while in this destination include; –
Bwindi impenetrable forest is a true bird haven, hosting over 347 unique bird species, of which over 25 are believed to be endemic to the Albertine region and approximately 23 non-endemic. Additional, Guinea-Congo-forest biome bird species, Western Green Tinker bird, Fine-banded Woodpecker, African Wood Owl, and Archer’s Robin-Chat among others thus becoming the best spot for group birding experience while at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
The commonly used Trails include Mubwindi swamp at Ruhija sector, Buhoma sector, and the Bamboo zones among others
This is one of the best offers to any number of tourists to or from Bwindi Impenetrable national park. You will enjoy a scenic ride at Lake Mutanda, which gives you a clear view of the Virunga ranges, unique bird species, and thriving tree plant species by the lake shores. Chances are that you will spot the locals of the place fetching water.
Batwa Pygmy Experience
Interacting with the locals will put a smile on your face, especially after meeting your relatives the Mountain Gorillas. The Batwa pygmies are believed to be one of the oldest cultures in existence on earth, initially living in the forests as wonderers and gatherers, who depended on the wildlife for food, medication, and shelter.
However, though they have been evacuated from the forest, their spirits are still alive, and they keep demonstrating what they inherited from their forefathers. They take you through honey gathering and tasting, sing sorrowful yet interesting songs, take visitors to the caves, and tell ancient stories related to their ancestral origin among others.
This gives you the opportunity of adventuring the fascinating biodiversity of flora and fauna at the park, watching several bird and plant species, farmlands, forest walk, and engaging in the community walk and community funded projects.
Choosing your accommodation
In Bwindi impenetrable national park, there are four sectors that Gorilla trekking is done, and while choosing accommodation, we advise that you pick one from the sector you will do the tracking from because it will save your time of rushing for Briefing that commences at 7:30 am.
There are pocket-friendly luxury, midrange, and Budget loges, homesteads, campsites, and Bandas in each of these sectors. Some of the Notable accommodations include; Buhoma Lodge, Silverback lodge, gorilla forest camp, Mahogany springs, Bwindi Haven lodge and Buhoma community campsite in the Buhoma sector, Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge, Gorilla mist camp, and Broadbill forest camp in Ruhija sector, Rushaga gorilla safari lodge, Ichumbi lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens lodge among others in Rushaga sector, and Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge among others
Joining a group to visit Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
Heading for a safari to Bwindi impenetrable national park as a group is the best way of cutting costs of accommodation and transportation among others, having fun and networking. Gorilla
Trekking permits remain at the same price for eight people aged above 15years. However, you can contact a professional tour operator in Uganda, who will find a suitable group for you. Primate lovers with similar likes and dislikes, out for the same purpose, and ready to welcome you. The group has not to exceed 8 people.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park group safari is an amazing offer, very rewarding with a lot of activities to be done, all you need to carry are the hiking pieces of equipment such as boots, cameras, binoculars, warm and long-sleeved clothes, and many more.