Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Gorilla Trekking
Bwindi impenetrable national park gorilla trekking: Bwindi impenetrable national park is one of the gorilla destinations located in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district at the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. the national park covers a total area of 331 square kilometers, was gazetted in 1991 with the main aim of conserving and protecting the endangered mountain gorillas and was made a UNESCO World heritage site in 1994 due to its ecological biodiversity. Apart from Bwindi impenetrable national park, gorilla trekking is also found in other destinations in Africa including Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking is a thrilling and adventurous activity in Bwindi impenetrable National Park where visitors move into the dense tropical rainforests in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and when found spend one hour with them in their natural environment. Bwindi impenetrable national park harbors the highest number of the mountain gorillas which are equivalent to half of the world’s mountain gorillas which makes it the best and most visited gorilla destination in Africa.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home of about 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors of the park namely Buhoma sector which is the most visited and harbors 4 gorilla families including Mubare, Habinyanja, Katwe and Rushegura, Rushaga sector which harbors the highest number of gorilla families including Mishaya, Bweza, Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye, Bikyingi, Rwigi and Mucunguzi, Ruhija sector in the east with 4 gorilla families including Bitukura, Oruzogo, Mukiza and Kyaguriro, Nkuringo sector in the south with 3 gorilla families including Nkuringo, Bushaho and Christmas.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters about the rules, regulations, and expectations while trekking among others. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 individuals and allocated a gorilla family to trek, grouping of individuals in the park is done according to age, physical fitness, personal preferences among others. At around 8:00am you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who will be showing you the trails to use to the area where the gorillas are and also sharing information about the mountain gorillas.
Trekking of the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park takes about 2 to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas because they like to move from one area to another in search of food. Once the gorillas are found you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat taking photos, recording the moments to show people back home, learning about their habits, behaviors, lifestyle among others.
Bwindi impenetrable national park also offers gorilla habituation experience where visitor spend four hours with the gorillas in their natural habitat monitoring them, watching them as they carry out their daily activities, naming them among others. Therefore visitors who are interested in spending more time with the mountain gorillas should opt for gorilla habituation experience so as to spend four hours in their presence instead of the one hour.
When to go for gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park can be done anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, there is less rainfall in the forest therefore there will be short shrubs and bushes in the park which enables you to clearly view the mountain gorillas and other animals in the park, access roads to the gorilla areas and gorilla trekking trails in the jungle will be passable compared to the rainy season when the gorilla trails are muddy and slippery due to heavy rainfall.
Though the rainy season is a period when the park receives heavy rainfall, gorilla trekking still takes place in the park because it usually rains early in the morning or late in the evening. The rainy season has some advantage for example the gorilla trekking permit will be less competitive compared due to less people travelling therefore even the last minute travellers will be able to acquire a permit, the lodges will offer discounts to visitors hence favoring budget travellers.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document or card that is issued to any visitor above the fifteen years of age allowing him or her to trek a habituated gorilla family in Bwindi impenetrable national park. a single gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park costs $600 for foreign non-resident, $500 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for East African citizen. a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda was however increased by $100 therefore effective 1st July 2020 a gorilla trekking permit for foreign non-resident will cost $700 and $600 for foreign residents.
How to acquire a gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park can either be acquired directly through UWA by contacting the head offices in Kampala via telephone or email. You can also acquire a gorilla trekking permit by contacting a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safari. booking a gorilla trekking permit through a tour operator is the easiest and best option to use in that you will contact us with the date, month and year when you want to trek the gorillas. We will therefore check for availability of the permit and once the permit is available according to the dates provided, you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. When we receive the deposited money for the permit, you will be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport. We will then acquire a gorilla trekking permit for you and send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.
Gorilla trekking permits should however be acquired 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because they are competitive and usually get sold out therefore in order to avoid disappointments it’s advisable to book a gorilla trekking permit in advance.
What to pack for gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is done in the dense tropical rainforests whereby it can rain anytime of the day regardless of the season therefore it’s important to carry various essentials for trekking such as long sleeved shirt and trousers to keep you warm during morning hours when it’s very cold in the park, hiking shoes to keep your feet dry, garden gloves to protect your hands from germs, long socks, insect repellent to protect your body from biting insects like tsetse flies, rain jacket/poncho, warm sweater, energy snacks, backpack to carry your items, walking stick to support you when hiking in slippery grounds among others.
How to get to Bwindi impenetrable national park
The national park is located in south western Uganda and can be reached by both road and air transport means.
Road transport, when travelling to Bwindi impenetrable national park, you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and then to the park headquarters which takes about 8 to 9 hours’ drive.
Bwindi impenetrable national park can also be accessed from Queen Elizabeth national park where you will drive from Mweya peninsular in Queen Elizabeth national park to Buhoma sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park via Ishasha sector where you will get an opportunity of viewing the tree climbing lion which will be lying up in the acacia, fig tree branches.
Air transport, Bwindi impenetrable national park can also be accessed by air transport means in that there are domestic companies in Uganda such as Aerolink which operate scheduled and chartered flights daily from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip and then connect to the park headquarters by road. Aerolink Uganda organizes three scheduled flights to and from Kihihi airstrip and the flight takes about 1 hour and 45minutes.
Bwindi impenetrable national park can also be accessed from Kigali Rwanda where by you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect by road to Bwindi impenetrable national park through Cyanika boarder in Kisoro or Katuna border in Kabale.