Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located deep in the southwest of Uganda is famous for gorilla trekking safaris, a UNESCO World Heritage Site occupying 133sqkm. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Uganda’s most popular and one of the most visited national parks home to more than half of the remaining critically endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Apart from mountain gorillas, the park also provides refuges to elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys, and various small antelope and bird species. The park lies within the Kigezi highlands that were formed through up-warping of the western rift valley called the Albertine Rift.
On a safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can track the famous mountain gorillas’ undergrowth and thick creeps of the dens Bwindi rain forest. Being in company with the most peaceful, rarest and endangered of all the apes is a fascinating experience to enjoy. The same park offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa and is a key destination for any birder doing a safari in Uganda. You can book this safari with Africa Tours Adventure to take you all through your wonderful safari trip.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has gorilla trekking as the major tourist attraction with 4 gorilla tracking trail heads including Buhoma area, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo area. Over 14 groups of mountain gorilla families have been habituated where only 8 permits are booked in a group per day making it a total of 80 permits given out in a day. There are forest trails in the park that lead to various attractions including rivers, waterfalls, swamps and high level of wildlife, swamps and also the high level of wildlife concentration.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park usually starts early in the morning with breakfast at your lodge as you drive to UWA park headquarters. The gorilla trekking adventure will begin with a briefing by the guide on how to handle yourself once you meet the gorillas. It is impossible to say how long your trek will take as the length of the trek itself depends on the location and the movement of the gorillas on the day on which you will be trekking as they are always moving around looking for food and shelter. Trekking can take anything from between 2 – 8 hours although you are usually back at the lodge around lunchtime, leaving the lodge early in the morning around 06:00 am to make your way to the Park Headquarters for your pre-trek briefing.
If you then finish early, our guides will discuss options with you as to what else you would like to do for the rest of the day. This could be the chance to explore a local market, enjoy a gentle community walk through traditional villages, another forest nature walk if feeling brave or the chance to visit some fascinating community projects nearby, such as schools or local hospitals. Or you can just relax at the lodge if you prefer. Our guides are very flexible and will be happy to discuss ideas with you if you want anything.
Today wake up to a sweet breakfast and prepare for yet another adventure around the park as you visit these indigenous natives of the Batwa. While at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, never miss out this activity, endeavour to participate in. Before the park was gazetted as a national park, the forest was home to the Batwa pygmies who were referred to as the original dwellers and keepers of this tropical rain forest. After Bwindi Forest was gazetted as a national park in 1993, the Batwa were relocated from the forest to the nearby villages and towns.
The Batwa are one of Uganda’s best cultures and they have lived their lives to current generations by hunting and gathering in the forest. For a long time the Batwa pygmies depended on forest resources for survival. They used to hunt forest animals using spears and allows for meat and gathering plants and fruits or food. The Batwa depended on forest resources for food, medicine, basketry, firewood, marketable items, house construction, tools, rituals, hunting and recreation.
After being expelled from the forest, their life changed since they had no land outside the forest and were not used to life outside the forest. The experience starts from Batwa craft shop and office located in Buhoma trading center few metres from the Bwindi forest gate. It is from there that your guide will lead you to the starting point and then back after the activity.
The visit to the Batwa invariably involves songs and a dance demonstration and once the music begins you can help it out but to notice that they promote a genuine pride in themselves.
You don’t need to pay park entrance fees to participate in Batwa experience. The activity takes place is adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park but not inside the park and as such you don’t have to park entrance fees. Batwa experience costs USD 80 for 1 person, USD 70 person in a group of 2 -3 people, and US$60 in group of 4 or more. If you want to film this program, it will cost you USD 400 per day per group.