Things to do in Bwindi National Park Uganda

 Things to do in Bwindi National Park Uganda

 Things to do in Bwindi National Park Uganda : Bwindi National Park a home to the endangered mountain gorillas is a popular destination in Uganda and the best place to see mountain gorillas in the world.

Bwindi national park protects some of the most pristine virgin forests remaining on the African continent and is arguably one of the oldest “last Edens” on the African continent.

The park covering an area of 32,092 hectares and is one of the most significant areas in East Africa with Afromontane lowland forest extending to well within the montane forest belt. The park is located on the Eastern edge Albertine Rift Valley and sits on the southwestern edge of Uganda’s border with DR.Congo.

Bwindi forest is a home to more than half of the world’s remaining population of the critically endangered mountain gorilla population with more than 400 gorilla individuals , the park also hosts 347 species of forest birds, 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift Region and 22 of the 36 endemics.  Bwindi forest also hosts chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey, African elephants and many birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher, and Shelley’s crimson-wing; and butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail among others.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers many thrilling and memorable safari activities including gorilla trekking, bird watching, gorilla habituation experience, hiking and nature walks.

Things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla trekking / tracking  

Bwindi forest is home to over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with many gorilla families habituated for gorilla trekking on which visitors meet the gorillas in their nature habitat.

Through habituation process, the gorillas get accustomed to humans and their presence, mountain gorilla trekking is done in groups of 8 people and only individuals above the age of 15 years are allowed to participate in this life changing activity.

Habituated gorilla families in Bwindi forest are spread in the 4 sectors of the park namely Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo sectors where gorilla trekking is done.

Gorilla trekking experience starts as early as 08:00 am with briefing at the park’s headquarters where a ranger guide takes you through the rules and regulations to follow while in the forest, in groups of 8 people you are assigned a gorilla family to trek then head into the forest looking for mountain gorillas. The trek normally takes 2-6 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas and where they spent the previous night, once you locate them with assistance from trackers are in constant communication with your rangers and guide, you will spend one in the presence of gorillas. You are allowed to take pictures as long as you flashlight is off.

Gorilla habituation experience  

Bwindi National Park is the only place in the world where gorilla habituation experience can be done, this activity is slightly different for mountain gorilla trekking as it offers visitors 4 hours of being in the presence of the gorillas.

Mountain Gorilla habituation is a process through which mountain gorillas are taken through a period of getting familiar and comfortable with human presence, this process lasts for about 2 years.

In Bwindi, visitors can join the conservationists on their daily routines for an encounter with the wild mountain gorillas. On this activity, visitors get to study the behaviors of mountain gorillas as they get familiar with human beings around them.

Mountain gorilla Habituation is done in the Rushaga sector located in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Birding safaris/ bird watching  

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s bird watching destinations with about 350 bird species including 25 restricted range bird species and 23 of the Albertine Rift endemics.

The park offers the best bird watching tour experience in Uganda, in company of a knowledgeable guide who will help you identify several bird species during your safari. Some of the birds to look out for include the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruel’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch that can only be seen in Bwindi and not in any other place in East Africa.

The best places for bird watching in Bwindi national park are Buhoma and Ruhija sectors, the Mubwindi swamp in Ruhija sectors among others.

The best time for birding in Bwindi national park is from November to April when migratory bird species arrive in the park to join resident species. June and July is also a good time for birding.

Nature walks.

Bwindi National Park offers some of the best nature walks through various trails in the forest, there are six main nature trails used to explore the forest and these include Muyanga waterfall walk, Rushura Hill walk, Muzubijiro Loop, the Ivi River walk, Buhoma-Nkuringo trail and the Habinyanja trail.

These trails vary and offer different nature walk experiences with most of them starting from the Buhoma Sector, during the walk you will spot various primates, birds and plant species which will be explained to you by your guide, you will also enjoy the amazing scenery.

Hiking

Bwindi national park has several trails used to hike in this region, hiking experience is usually done from the north to Bwindi to the south and usually ranges from 5 to 9 hours or less.

For visitors who need challenging hike, the Kashasha River Trail is the best option taking about 5 hours and it involve steeper inclines especially if you take the Buhoma to Nkuringo route which is 600 meters up at the end of the trail.

Encounter of Cultural tour Experiences: Meet the Batwa: Pigmies

A cultural tour to the Batwa is one of the amazing activities to have in Bwindi National Park, the Batwa people also known as the pigmies are one of the indigenous tribes in Uganda. They lived in the forests of Bwindi together with the animals until they were evicted as the area was upgraded to a national park.

Currently they live in communities along the borders of the park, during your visit you will be entertained by local dances and drama, demonstration of their hunting skills, taste some of local foods among others.

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