Located in south Western Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is an exceptional tourism destination every traveler should visit on his/her Uganda safari. As its name, Bwindi is a thick impenetrable forest which was initially a home for the Batwa pygimies who co-existed with wild animals in this jungle. The forest was transformed into a national park in 1991 and its when Batwa pygimies were forced out to protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas which were then at the verge of extinction. The park is one of Uganda;s 10 national parks all managed by Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) a government body responsible for wildlife conservation and tourism in the pearl of Africa.
Regarding climate, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park receive annual rainfall through the year with two rain fall seasons. also, the park is a water catchment area being a source of several streams, rivers and waterfalls which keep it fresh and wet most times despite the season. the rivers in the forest include river Munyaga, River Ivi, river Ntengyere, River Ihihizo and River Ishasha among others. The rivers flow into the neighbouring lake Bunyonyi and Mutanda in kabale district.
Bwindi is a home to over 121 species of mammals, 250 bird species, 222 species of butterflies and over 30 species of frogs all inhabited in this tropical rain forest.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest
Gorilla tracking is the most done activity and hundreds of travelers flock into Bwindi everyday to encounter with these endangered species. The national park is a home to the highest number of mountain gorillas which are habituated in 12 gorilla families. All travelers to Bwindi are required to buy a gorilla permit costing 700 USD to allow them spend an hour with these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Uganda gorilla permits can be obtained direct from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or through any trusted tour operator offering Uganda safari packages to Bwindi Forest National park. Everyday, UWA issues out 96 gorilla permits which give travelers a chance to meet and interact with these endangered species in their natural habitat.
Gorilla families in Bwindi
As already mentioned, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a home to 13 gorilla families split in four regions of the park namely, Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo in north; and in the South and Eastern corners of the park, gorilla groups in Bwindi are Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Kahungye and Busingye families. Each family is visited by a group of eight people for an hour.
Besides gorilla trekking, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is famous for mountain gorilla habituation. Its only in Bwindi where travelers take part in habituating wild mountain gorillas before they are declared ready for trekking. However, gorilla habituation is quite expensive at a cost of 1500 USD for a four hour’s interaction. Presently, 2 gorilla families (Bushaho and Bikyingi) are undergoing habituation and will be soon open for trekking. Everyday, UWA releases 8 gorilla habituation permits since each family is visited by four people everyday. Gorilla habituation is aimed at making wild gorillas get used to human presence before they are open to trekkers.
Still in Bwindi, do not miss out penetrating this impenetrable forest on foot. A forest walk is the best way to explore and enjoy the calmness of the forest which most travelers often miss out. Hike to waterfalls, rivers and even to the adjacent communities through local people’s gardens makes a safari indeed memorable.