Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Location, Size, Activities and Tour Guide
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the amazing places holidaymakers on Uganda safari should consider a must-visit. Set in the extreme Southwestern Uganda in the districts of Kabale, Kanungu and Kisoro, Bwindi is Uganda’s leading gorilla trekking destination. It is typically a rain-forest conservation area lying on the edge of the rift valley near the Congo border to the west.
Bwindi features among the 10 beautiful Uganda safari parks and it was gazetted in 1991 with the aim of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Later in 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it lies on elevation range of 1190-2607m. This is the highest part of the Kigezi highlands and only covers an area of 331sq.kms.
Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an incredible destination with biodiversity which thrive within its tropical forest whose history can be traced back to 25000 years. The mountain gorillas are the main attraction in Bwindi and about 459 of the world’s 1063 call this park a home. They also account part of the 120 species of mammals to see on Uganda safari in Bwindi and others include chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, antelopes, forest elephants, baboons, red tailed monkeys, bush pigs, golden cats, civets, pottos, blue monkeys. Other than mammals, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park protects many species of amphibians of these, 11 are endemic to the Albertine rift; 14 snake species, butterflies plus distinct floral species.
Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an exceptional destination to explore more than mammals but also diversity of bird species. An estimated number of 360 bird species live in Bwindi and they include 24 species that are endemic to the Albertine rift. They include grauer’s broadbill, African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Shelley’s crimson wings, regal sunbirds, black billed turacos, Rwenzori batis, kivu ground thrush, bee-eaters, yellow greenbul, black billed turacos, purple breasted sunbird.
The others include the dusky twin spot, dwarf honey guide, montane oriole, tit hylia, western green tinker bird, African emerald cuckoo, red headed blue bill, dwarf honey guide, shelley’s greenbul, grey cuckoo-shrike, short tailed warblers, blue tailed flycatchers, blue headed sunbird.
Safari activities/things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) has 4 gorilla regions where treks begin from each day and these include Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija and Rushaga. The 4 regions offer a great opportunity to explore Bwindi’s 20 habituated gorilla groups. Gorilla permits are sold at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and shs.250000 when you citizen in East African Community. Eligible person to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi should be 15 years and above.
Birding in Bwindi
Bwindi has amazing birding trails for enthusiastic birders to look out for its diverse bird species. The trails here include among others the Mubwindi, bamboo zone, Buhoma waterfall. The avifaunal species to expect to come across on birding trip in Bwindi range from handsome francolin, African green broadbill, regal sunbird, red headed blue bill, Kivu ground thrush, dwarf honey guide, Chapin’s fly catchers, montane oriole, Rwenzori batis, Shelley’s greenbul, dusky twin spot, African wood owl, western green tinker bird and others.
Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Forest
Bwindi National Park is an outstanding gorilla park and the only place to enjoy mountain gorilla habituation experience. This is unique from the normal gorilla treks in the sense that you get to explore the semi-habituated group of mountain gorillas and involves mostly scientists, researchers and trackers. The whole adventure is entirely following mountain gorillas, observe their daily behaviors and you spend 4 hours on face-to-face encounter. Gorilla permits for this particular experience are sold at US Dollars 1500 per person for foreign non-residents, $ 1000 foreign residents and shs. 750000 East African community citizens.
Cycling tours are amazing and they are offered by Ride 4 a Woman at Buhoma. This is a community support initiative. They have mountain bike rentals and take you through guided biking tours in and around Bwindi.
Batwa cultural encounter
Addition of a cultural experience on your gorilla safari in Bwindi can be fun. Visit the Batwa pygmies on Batwa Forest experience or Batwa cultural encounter and interact the renowned forest dwellers, hunters and gatherers. They spent close to 500000 years harmoniously with wildlife but they were displaced when Bwindi was gazetted as a park in 1991.
Buhoma village walk
The Buhoma village walk is 3 hours on-foot-walk experience you shouldn’t miss out on Uganda safari in Bwindi. You will be led by an experienced guide and you navigate through Buhoma sector. Expect more than exciting sight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest’s biodiversity as you will also interact with locals.
Bwindi features distinct nature trails each ushering visitors into the park’s unique habitat with interesting species. It is possible to go for a day or long hike from Buhoma to the North to Southern sectors Rushaga or Nkuringo.
Best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Generally, Bwindi forest national park can be visited at any months of the year. But the dry months are the best for gorilla trekking and they run from June to September and December to February. Bird watching is interesting from March to May and short one from October to November. These are the wet months of the year in Bwindi National Park.
The different lodging options to have overnight stay in and around Bwindi include Broadbill Forest Camp, Nshongi Camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Buhoma Community Bandas, Gorilla Friends Resort, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge; Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Haven Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge; Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge.
Accessibility to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP)
By road; a road trip to Bwindi can take you 8-9 hours driving from Kampala via Masaka to Kabale. From Kigali, through Katuna or Chanika border about 3-4 hours’ drive or fly from Entebbe Airport/Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro/Kihihi airfield.