Although gorilla viewing is possible year-round in Bwindi, the ideal time to see gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is during the dry/peak season. The drier months of December through February and June through August are when the peak season occurs. It rains from March through May and from October through November. The thick undergrowth and muddy pathways make tracking gorillas during the rainy season more difficult. Visitors shouldn’t be deterred from scheduling tours during the wet season, either. There are discounts for gorilla permits during the rainy/low season. Additionally, the park is less crowded, giving tourists more time with the gorillas. The fact that Bwindi is a rain forest should not be overlooked. Rain can fall at any time, no matter the season.
Getting to Bwindi Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is reachable by road from Kampala or by air through Kajjansi/Entebbe. The trip from Kampala takes no more than two hours, while the journey by car takes roughly eight hours. Some people bypass Kampala’s lengthy road trip by passing through Kigali. It takes 4 hours to go from Rwanda’s Kigali to Bwindi.
A briefing at the park’s administrative office is held at roughly 7:30am before the first gorilla walk in Bwindi Forest. Before the day of tracking, visitors should get a good night’s sleep and rise at 5 a.m. to eat breakfast before heading to the park office. Trekkers are split up into smaller groups of eight after receiving a briefing at the park headquarters. A specific gorilla family is followed by each of the eight groups. While some gorilla families are discovered farther away from the park offices, others are located close by. Each group is followed by two armed rangers, two park guides from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and porters. The Guides are extremely knowledgable, skilled, and experienced. They will teach visitors about the gorilla family and other species present in the jungle as they guide them to the gorillas.
The gorilla group to which one is assigned determines how long it takes to trace gorillas in Bwindi. Some groups can be located in under 30 minutes, while others may take hours. In order to locate the gorilla family, a team of trackers typically travels ahead of the troop. By radio call, they then give the precise location of the gorilla family to the lead Guide. These early trackers will move in that direction since they are aware of where the gorilla group constructed their most recent sleeping nests. Although there is no assurance that you will see gorillas, your odds are over 98%.
You will only be permitted to spend one hour with the family after you have located them in order to prevent them from becoming uncomfortable. Since gorillas behave like humans and have 98 percent of our DNA, seeing them can be a very emotional experience. Take your time while you capture some fantastic pictures for your memory, observing their behavior and their characteristics. Observe the guidelines for tracking gorillas, such as not eating or smoking in the vicinity of the primates. When a gorilla charges at you, lay down and keep your heads bowed as a symbol of surrender rather than running away.
Additional things to do at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park
Because of its incredible biodiversity, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park is included as a UNESCO world heritage site. Other activities that visitors to Bwindi can participate in include any of the following: –
Visiting the Batwa pygmies: To visit the native inhabitants who had long since inhabited Bwindi Forest. Sadly, they are currently being forced to relocate outside the park after being driven from the forest. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about and participate in the culture of the Batwa pygmies by visiting them. As you see traditional dance performances, you might hear legends about how people used to go fruit-picking and hunting in the forest.
Primates watching: One of the few ecosystems in the world where one can view both chimpanzees and mountain gorillas is Bwindi Forest. Tourists on Bwindi gorilla tours might be lucky and spot baboons and chimpanzees on the way. Bush infants, blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, L’ Hoests monkeys, Ververt monkeys, and Colobus monkeys are some of the other smaller primates that can be seen at Bwindi.
Wildlife viewing: In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, gorilla tracking may be the main attraction but it’s also possible to see forest elephants, leopards, bats, jackals, duikers, and giant forest hogs.
Birding: One of the best birding locations in Africa is Bwindi Forest, which is home to over 330 different kinds of birds.
Accommodation Facilities in Bwindi Impenetrable
There are both expensive and inexpensive lodging alternatives available. Your own preferences, financial constraints, and choice ultimately determine what you choose. Luxury lodges can cost up to $1500 per night, while budget-friendly ones can go as low as $80. Let’s take a quick look at some of the top hotels and lodges:
Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort and Campsite: They offer inexpensive, moderately priced, and luxurious rooms in Ruhija Sector. Standard rooms, tents, and campsites are all options. For a briefing, visitors can walk straight from the lodge to the park headquarters.
Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge: The park offices are beside this Super Luxury resort in the Buhoma region. The distance to the park’s entrance can be covered on foot in ten minutes. One of the top services in Buhoma is provided by them.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge: is a mid-luxury lodge situated in the Nkuringo Sector. In addition to gorillas, the location is fantastic for birds.
Buhoma Community Campsite: Ideal for travelers on a budget who nevertheless need roomy independent accommodations.
Buhoma Lodge: Is in the Buhoma section and provides breathtaking views of the park.
Silverback Lodge: In Bwindi’s Buhoma sector, you can find this lodge. They provide both high-end and moderately priced self-contained rooms. The day before or after gorilla tracking, the lodge arranges outdoor activities such as nature tours to surrounding settlements for interested visitors.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge: Is a stone building with eight independent rooms that is situated in the southern portion of the park. There is a fireplace and local items in every room.
Gorilla Forest Camp: It’s close to the park’s entrance and quite convenient. On the campground, there are over 7 tents, each with a raised wooden platform-supported restroom.
Mahogany Springs: As its name suggests, is made of mahogany and offers luxury lodging facilities, including a presidential suite with views of the lovely Munyanga River.