If you need to see Gorillas in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park should be your first stop. It was started as a forest reserve in 1932 and later declared as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1991.
Spanning three districts including Rukungiri, Kisoro and Kabale, this Park covers a total area of 331 square kilometers.
Part of it is occupied by the thick Bwindi impenetrable forest. This rainforest thrived throughout the last ice Age and is one of the few found in the African continent.
Its altitude ranges between 1160 meters and 2607 meters up to the Rwamanyonyi peak. Annual average temperatures vary from 7 degrees Celsius to twenty degrees Celsius.
The coolest temperatures are experienced from June to July although climatic conditions are unpredictable.
Its heavy rains fall drops appear in March, April, September and November. Then the rest of the year is pretty dry. Bwindi provides shelter to the biggest percentage of Uganda’s remaining Gorilla population.
Meeting in the jungle for an up close look with these giants is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling moments.
Out of the 120 mammal species in Bwindi, eleven are primates including the Black and White Colobus monkeys.
Besides high numbers of Mountain Gorillas, numerous birds including the Albertine Rift endemic, primates, insects and reptiles call this Park home.
Tourism in this UNESCO World Heritage Site focusses on Gorilla Trekking which is offered in its four sectors including Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga sector.
This is undeniably one of the outstanding reasons why Uganda receives a wealth of tourists from different parts of the World.
It involves moving in a group following the permanently established trails heading to the Jungle with interest to meet Gorillas in the Jungles.
Before the trekking journey, a briefing is first conducted at the Park headquarters. This is meant to highlight trekkers on how to behave while in the Jungle.
To limit overcrowding in the Jungle, only eight trekkers in a group are allowed to trek one Gorilla family per day. After locating these apes, you are allowed to be in their presence for only one hour.
Time taken and distance moved depends on the location of the Gorilla family you are searching for. Don’t forget to come with your packed food and drinking water from the lodge.
Another exciting activity to take in Bwindi is the habituation experience. It is almost similar to Gorilla trekking but what differs is the time spent with the apes in the Jungles.
For habituation, tourists are allowed to stay with the Gorillas for a period of four hours or full day in the Jungle.
You are granted a chance to follow movements of these apes while taking photos and videos in different localities. This remarkable experience is only done in Bwindi – Rushaga sector.
This is done in the evening after the Gorilla trek. It includes wandering around and visit the Batwa people in their local communities.
Get exposed to their way of living and participate in different local activities. A guide is available to give detailed information about life of the Batwa people.
Bwindi is also an ideal destination for birding. It is home to over 320 species of birds including the 23 Abertine rift endemic species.
Ruhija sector is the best hotspot for bird watching with lots of various species sighted in Mubwindi swamp.
Some of the common species include African Green Broadbill, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Montane Oriole, and Short tailed Warbler, Kivu Ground-Thrush, and Western Green Tinker bird, African Wood Owl, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Fine-banded Woodpecker and more. For best views, make sure to arrange the excursions very early in the morning or evening.