What to do in bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most visited national parks on the African Continent. The national park which is located in Southwestern Uganda is one of the world’s top destinations for gorilla trekking activities. A lot of visitors are reported to fly into the country to track the endangered species of Mountain gorillas that live within the dense forests of Bwindi.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is part of the popular Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. In 2018, a population census that was carried out in the Virunga Conservation Area showed that there are about 1004 mountain gorillas in the world, with 604 mountain gorillas recorded in the Virunga Massif, which covers Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The survey also showed that there are about 400 mountain gorillas living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone. This shows that the national park shelters almost half of the total population of mountain gorillas in the world.
Bwindi National Park is located in Kanungu district in the southwestern province of Uganda. The national park is one of the smallest national parks in the country, spanning over an area of 321 square kilometers. The national park is elevated between 1,160 meters and 2,607 meters above sea level.
It was gazetted as national park in 1991 and later named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 in an effort to protect its endangered species of mountain gorillas, along with other unique wildlife and plant species. The national park has over 350 species of birds, about 400 species of plants, and 120 mammals including other primate species like baboons, monkeys and chimpanzees.
Activities done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
There are quite a number of activities that tourists can take park in during a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some of the activities offered by the park include;
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi marks a highlight of any visit to the national park. Many visitors are attracted by the rare mountain gorillas that live within the thick forests of the national park. Bwindi national park has a total of 18 habituated gorilla groups, with 15 gorilla groups available for tourists to track while the rest are strictly meant for research purposes.
Gorilla trekking activities in Bwindi national park take place from four head trails which are; Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma, and Rushaga. The activity begins at 7:30am with registration which is followed by a briefing at 8am, and actual tracking commences at 8:30am.
Visitors can only get to trek mountain gorillas in groups of a maximum of 8 people each. Eight gorilla trekking permits are available for each of the 15 habituated gorilla groups, meaning that the park provides a maximum of 120 gorilla permits every day. Given that gorilla trekking permits are always on high demand especially during the peak seasons (June to September and Mid-December to February), visitors are advised to book their gorilla trekking permits at least 6 months in advance. Those interested in trekking mountain gorillas can do so at a fee of USD 600- USD 700 dollars per person for a gorilla permit.
Birding in Bwindi National Park:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is among the top destinations for bird watching tours in Uganda. The national park has over 350 bird species, including 23 species that are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley region. The national park has four trailheads with excellent birding opportunities, and they include; the River Ivi Trail, Munyaga River Trail, Bamboo Trail in Ruhija sector, and Mubwindi Swamp Trail. Birding expeditions in Bwindi cost USD 30 dollars per person.
Guided Nature Walks:
Although gorilla trekking is the main attraction in Bwindi, other activities are offered in the national park like guided nature walks. Nature walks provide visitors with an opportunity to explore Bwindi impenetrable forest, which is one of the loveliest rainforests in Uganda. Nature walks in the national park take place every morning at 9am and 2pm in the afternoon. There are walking trails which offer visitors in the park great sites, and these include;
Munyaga River Trail: this trail is located below the Buhoma trailhead and provides visitors with a short walk to view birds and primates living within the forest.
The Waterfall Trail: This trail leads visitors through one of Uganda’s most pristine tracts of rainforest, passing beneath tree ferns and orchids, and leading to three beautiful sparkling crystal clear waterfalls.
Rushura Hill Trail: This trail provides unique views across the plains of the Albertine Rift Valley, and Lakes Edward and Rwenzori on clear days.
Muzabajiro Loop Trail: This trail climbs to the summit of Rukubira Hill giving visitors breathtaking views of Bwindi forest, the Albertine Rift Valley and Virunga Volcanoes.
Other trailheads such as River Ivi trail are also used by visitors taking nature walks in the forest. Visitors interested in taking a guided nature walk in Bwindi national park will have to pay a fee of USD 30 dollars for day nature walks and USD 40 for the night guided nature walks.
Visitors in Bwindi national park can also opt to take walks through the nearby villages located in Buhoma and Nkuringo sectors of the national park. Such cultural encounters provide visitors with an insight into the lives of the local Batwa (Pygmies) and Bakiga people. The Buniga Forest Walk, which is also known as the Batwa trail experience, is conducted by Batwa guides who show visitors their traditional forest customs, knowledge and experience.
Tourists visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will not be disappointed on their stay in the national park as there is so much to do in the park. This national park is the ideal place to be for visitors looking to trek some of the last populations of mountain gorillas in the world.
Book with us a 5Days gorilla trekking tour to Bwindi National Park and get to explore the park’s amazing hidden treasures.