Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Uganda Gorillas, Birding & Nature Walks
Regardless of the time of the year you visit Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you have a 99% chance of encountering one of the most glorious and endangered species left on earth, Mountain Gorillas.
Covering a surface area of 321 Km2, Bwindi National Park is an ecologically diverse tropical forest on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley (western Uganda). It is also home to 350 species of birds, inclusive of 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
Of the four national parks in the Greater Virunga highlands where one can track mountain gorilla species, Bwindi has the highest number of habituated gorilla families, 18 of them as of July 2021. Rwanda’s Volcanoes N/P has 10 and Congo’s Virunga N/P has 8.
The extra big news with Bwindi is that its gorilla trekking experience costs $700, compared to Volcanoes National Park where it was increased from $750-$1,500.
In the interest of effective management, this UNESCO World Heritage site is divided into four zones, each with at least four gorilla families. These include Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Buhoma.
Each of these offers a relatively different experience as they lie in different altitudes, ranging from 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level. Of the four, Ruhija offers the toughest climbing challenge as it has lots of V shaped valleys and steep slopes.
According to results of a census that was released in May 2018, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has over 450 resident gorillas. This choice of the park as a preferred habitat is thanks to abundance of edible vegetation species and nutritious fruits.
Beyond keeping them looking healthy, it makes them over five times stronger than an average man. Their weight ranges between 68 to 260 kilograms, depending on their gender and age. However, despite being powerful enough to be able to crush anything that comes their way, they are peace loving beasts. This makes visiting them totally safe for you to visit.
During your trip with us, we will organize for you a visit to a gorilla family that comprises of members of different age brackets; black-bucks, silver-backs, mothers, babies and juveniles. This will enable you compare and contrast how body features of gorillas keep evolving as they grow.
You will also notice that the males are so protective of the females and babies in their groups. This explains why they prefer to graze around the edges of the territory, to keep a watchful eye on any invaders.
Gorillas live in a patriarchal society setting where a robust alpha male called Silver-back is in command. He is the only male in his group with exclusive rights to mate with any female of choice. The rest can only do so in their dreams.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If bird watching is your cup of coffee, you will leave Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with a radiant smile. The Park has over 340 recorded species thriving in its patches of bamboo, montane forests and marshes.
One of the areas where you stand high chances of sighting birds is Mubwindi, a montane swamp after which the park is named. Common sightings here are Shining-blue kingfisher, Yellow-eye black-flycatcher, Grauer’s broadbill, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, White starred robbin, Archer’s ribin-chat, Dusky crimsonwing, Black faced apalis, Eastern Mountain greenbul, White headed woodhoopoe and White headed woodhoopoe among others.
Be sure to carry your binoculars. Most birds tend to spend much of their day in the canopy with the intent of accessing the warmth of the sun.
Best time to visit
If you wish to see gorillas without interruptions from the rain, the best times to visit are the relatively dry seasons from June to August and December to February. During these seasons, the gorilla tracking trails are drier and therefore less slippery.
In case you wish to travel light in the forest, there are local porters available for hire. For just $15, they will give you a helping hand throughout the adventure. They will also give you a push as you counter steep slopes and help you focus on where you are stepping. This will enable you overcome slippery stretches of the forest.