bwindi national park gorilla tracking uganda hiking tours

Bwindi National Park/ Bwind gorilla Tracking, Impenetrable Forest National Park- A guide to  gorilla Tracking and  safaris, hiking and trekking tours, primate safaris and wildlife experiences, hotels, lodges, car hire in Uganda's Bwindi Impentrable Forest National Park.

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Bwindi National Park,  Bwindi Gorilla tracking, Bwindi National Park Uganda

Location:  Bwindi National Park ( Also called Bwindi Impenetrable forest) is located to the South Western Uganda, the western  edge of the Rift Valley. Bwindi National Park is shared by the districts of  Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro. Bwindi has an area of 331 square kilometers, with an altitude range of 1160 metres (Ishasha gorge) 2607 metres (Rwamunyonyi Peak). The annual temperature in Bwindi ranges from 7-20 degrees Celcius.  The best months to visit months are June-July-August to September..  

Getting to Bwindi  National Park
Bwindi National Park is approximately 520 Kms from Kampala.  4Wd vehicles are recommended from Kabale.  There are two routes.  

  • From Kampala-Kabale (414Km; 6-7 hours on sealed road) to Kabale-Kanungu- Kanyantoorogo - Buhoma Park Headquarters (120Kms; 3-4Hrs via on Murram) .

  •  Kampala-Kabale (414Kms)- Ruhija-Buhoma(95 kms:3 hours).

Rainfall in Bwindi  range between 1130 mm - 2390 mm.  Heavy rains are experienced in the months of March, April and  September, October and November. The rest of the months are relatively dry.

 

Around Bwindi national park the local people are the Bakiga and Bafumbira.  The area experiences high population densities with 233 people per square kilometer.

Species Diversity: With 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 324 species of trees, Bwindi National Park  is a centre of biodiversity.  The vegetation is dense and hence the name impenetrable forest. Among the mammals are 11 primates and elephants. Among the primates of Bwindi  National Park are of course the endangered mountain gorillas and black and white Colobus monkeys.

 

Gorilla tracking Bwindi, hiking and  Bwindi Gorilla trekking safaris 

Currently Bwindi National Park has three gorilla families open for tracking.  These are:

  • Habinyanja group ( 23 gorillas, 2 silver backs )  

  • Rushegula ( 27 members, 2 silver back )  

  • Mubare group ( 16 gorillas; 1 silverback )  

  • Nkuringo (25)

Our safaris to Bwindi National Park feature a visit to one of either of each family at a time.  Six permits daily are sold for each of these groups at UWA Headquarters in Kampala.  That means 18 people can track each day.

.

Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi is strenuous, hence  physical fitness is a must.

 

Biwndi Gorilla tracking, trekking and hiking requirements

 

Please bring the following for tracking gorillas.

  • Hiking boots- ankle level boots are ok but make sure it is something handy.  

  •  Gloves

  • A warm cardigan

  • Thick trousers and a long sleeved top are ideal for tracking.

  • Rain Coat

  •  Video- filming is allowed in the parks though not outside the park

  • Water proof container for their cameras

  •  A pair of binoculars if you are a keen bird watcher.

  • If you prefer wearing a hat, a baseball cap is recommended.

 

Encounter with the gorillas

 

Submissiveness

When you encounter the gorillas always remember to be submissive

  • Do not look at them straight in the face rather give a sideways glance. 

  • Do not stand over them-crouch instead, stay in a tight group

  • Speak in whispers

  • Do not use flash photography

Gorillas are wild

Bwindi gorillas are not tame.  They are wild and they should not be provoked in any way.  The UWA does not take any responsibility for any injury sustained by wild animals in their habitats, hence

  • Keep your flight distance about 7 metres from them and bear in       

  • mind that gorillas have freedom of way

  •  Do not feed the gorillas

  • Do not entice them to get into contact with you in any way.

  • Do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas

 

Environmental Consciousness

  Do not litter the park

  Always burry your faecal

 

Health of the Gorillas

There are currently approximately 700 mountain gorillas in the wild.  Thus these animals are classified as endangered species.  To avoid transmitting human diseases to them,

  • Avoid tracking if you suffer from contagious disease.  In case you develop a sever case of flu, your money will be fully refunded if you make this known in advance. However if you attempt to track and fail for whatever reason, or if the guides discover that you cannot track due to disease, you do not qualify for any refund. 

  • Do not sneeze towards them

  • Do not spit in the forest or defecate carelessly.  If you need to the guides will help you with a matchet to dig a hole to bury your waste. 

  • Do not track if under age- Only 15 years and above can track.

 

Hiking, trekking and gorilla Tracking safaris- the facts

 

How hard should one prepare for gorilla tracking in Uganda?  The facts below will help you to answer this question.

  • Tracking takes place at altitudes of 3000 metres-this means that moderate/ average physical fitness is what is necessary and not athletic fitness.

  •  Tracking gorillas is conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide experience in natural history with particular attention to gorilla behaviour

  • Trekking, hiking and tracking safari is conducted at a moderate pace with plenty of stops for resting, fielding questions further briefs etc.  Competitive hiking is discouraged as the aim of the guides, porters and rangers is for all the group members to make it to the gorillas and back to the base.  Believe it or not, the slowest hiker/ trekker will determine the pace of the trek.

Your hiking gorilla tracking starts at 08:30Hrs local time and may last the whole day!

For Conservation reasons, visits to the gorillas are tightly controlled.

 

Bird Watching in Bwindi Naitonal Park

Bwindi is the Bird watchers paradise.  The park has 348 species of birds, including 90% of all Albertine rift Endemics.  Among the birds are Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer's Rush Warbler, Wilcock's Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others.

 

Nature Guided Walks in Bwindi National Park.

For the visitor who has 2 or 3 days in Bwindi, the park has 4 fantastic hiking trails. Nature walks in Bwindi National Park are conducted by knowledgeable guides making it a whole learning experiences.  The guides are well versed in primatology, ornithology, botany, butterflies etc.

 

There are four hiking  trails in Bwindi are

The Munyanga River Trail

This is ideal for visitors with little time to spare. One has an opportunity to see birds and primates of the forest edge. The popular waterfall trail provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, epithetic ferns, orchids and Bwindi's colourful array of butterflies. This trail which leads to 3 delightful crystal clear waterfalls typifies your impression of a tropical rain forest.

 

The Rushurra Trail

Commands expansive views across the western rift valley floor. To the west, Congo's Parc Nationale des Virungas provides a spectacular backdrop, and on clear das Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountain are visible.

 

The Muzabajirro Trail

Offer breath taking views of Bwindi Forest. Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way, you witness hundreds of pre-historic tree ferns. The top of this trail is a great place for a picnic lunch.

 

The Ruizi River Trail

This is the longest of the trail and takes a full day to complete.

The Ruhija crossing is ideal for guests with 4WD vehicles. It offers the finest vistas in one of Uganda’s most beautiful landscape.   In Ruhija, visitors can take the three-hour scenery packed hike to the Mubwindi swamp.

 

The Bamboo Trail

The Bamboo trail offers 14 vegetation types and is one of the areas of highest diversity in the park. At the top of this trail, you witness panoramic views encompassing L. Bunyonyi and Mafuga forest.

 

Cultural dances:

The evenings are enlivened by traditional dance performances by local tropes. 

Accommodation

Bwindi has a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury to basic.  Below are some of them

  • Abercrombie and Kent luxury tented camp

  • Buhoma Homestead

  • Mantana luxury tented camp 

  • Community Rest camp 

  • Ruhinja Guest House

  • Savannah Resort Hotel at Kihihi  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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