Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a prime Uganda safari destination, is located in southwestern Uganda, with thick vegetation like its name suggests. Every day when tourists go out for the famous gorilla trekking adventure the ranger guides have to cut vegetation for trackers to access way to where gorillas nested the previous night. It is the true African jungle with droplets of the sun coming through the think forest cover giving you a feeling of being in paradise with zero pollution from several emissions common to our daily environment. The
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 because of its rich diversity in hosting different flora and fauna and being home to half of the worlds remaining mountain gorillas. The park covers an area of 321 km2 all of which is forested with some areas being covered by bamboo and shrubs. The forest lies on steep slippery valleys with ridges and hilltops.
The weather in Bwindi is chilly because of the immerse canopy, you are advised to carry some warm clothing for evenings and long sleeved shirts/trousers for trekking. For the ultimate experience to anyone who chooses to trek the mountain gorillas or search for birds, butterflies or shrubs, you need to be in good physical condition to go up and down the terrain. It lies at an altitude between 1160m-2607m above sea level.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
For mountain gorilla safaris, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park offers refuge to about 400 individuals which represent about half of the total population that is believed to be still thriving in the world. For life time experiences, only 11 habituated gorilla families are available for tourists to track every day in any of the four sectors; Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga area. Each group offers a different experience and if you have adequate time, you can visit more than one family while on their safari. Only 8 tourists are permitted to track one gorilla group per day. For magical encounters, visitors are allowed to spend only one hour with these endangered apes in the wild. Gorilla trekking adventure is unpredictable. This adventure depends on the group that is allocated to you and your level of physical fitness. For visitors who intend to visit Buhoma sector, the groups for you to track are Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura group; Ruhija area comprises of the Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro group; in Rushaga area which features as one of the best sectors for gorilla trekking comes with Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Kahungye and Busingye family; in Nkuringo area you can track Nkuringo family. Besides, you can also engage in Gorilla Habituation Experience which is only conducted in Bwindi which makes it one of the extra-ordinary national parks for you to catch a glimpse of these rare species while in their natural habitat. Permits in Uganda are purchased at $600 and if you are interested in habituation experience, permits are sold at $1500.
How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
You can reach Bwindi National Park by road or air. By road, a 4 by 4 safari car is preferable to help you transverse through the hills. You will spend about 8 to 10 hours while driving from Kampala to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You can set off from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park towards the North for about 2 to 3 hours from Kabale to the South for one to two hours or from Kampala through Mbarara. You will make a stopover at Queen Elizabeth National Park to catch a glimpse of the rare tree climbing lions at Ishasha sector or at the Equator for a memorable photo taking. Other routes include the Kampala-Kabale Kanungu-Buhoma; Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma sector and this is one of the simplest and most convenient routes for you to connect from Kampala direct on a tarmac road to Rukungiri and then connect on a murram road to Buhoma area. You can also take the Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma route or Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo sector. There are also public transport means for you to use especially the buses that set off each day from Kampala to Butogota. But this will require you to hire a vehicle or boda boda to help you connect up to the park
By air, you can fly from, Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield and then land off from Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip. For visitors who prefer visiting Buhoma sector, they can take on charter planes and land in Kayonza airstrip.