Lying in the southwestern part of Uganda on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley is home of Uganda’s most endangered Mountain Gorilla species, adored and highly visited by majority of travelers to destination Uganda. Its history runs back in 1932 when it was gazetted as Crown Forest reserve that covered a land area of about 298km2.
In 1964 it was turned into a sanctuary to protect the mountain Gorillas. However, in 1991, areas covering Rwenzori Mountain Reserve, The impenetrable Central Reserve and the Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve were incorporated into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The locals around call it “Mubwindi Bwa Nyinamuraki”. It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four sectors namely; Buhoma located in the northern part of Bwindi, Ruhija located in the eastern side of the Park, Rushaga located on the southern part and lastly Nkuringo located in the southern part of the park. All of the above sectors possess great treasure and are the reason large numbers of tourists flock to Bwindi every year.
Gorilla trekking is the top specialty in Bwindi impenetrable national park and lasts all year long! Daytime temperatures range from 22 to 26 degrees Celsius with a considerable drop at night to around 11 degrees Celsius. Previously during the low gorilla tracking season months of March to May and on a few occasions in November, gorilla permits were sold at discounted rates at $450 from the normal $600, but this was later stopped.
In this season, lodges also offer discounts and because of this reason, there has been an increasing trend in visitors coming during this low season period! A good number of other amazing activities can be carried out including the following;-
Birding in Africa’s leading bird’s haven
With over 350 species, including 24 Albertine endemic species within the Mubwindi swamp and the waterfall trail makes Bwindi Impenetrable forest one of Africa’s leading birding destinations. A walk in this misty rain forest, will allow you catch a glimpse of species like northern double collared sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher or the globally threatened species (Shelly’s crimson wing) and the African green broadbill – currently one of the most sought after bird species in this part of the country.
There are two main cultures in this area namely; Bakiga and Batwa. The Batwa experiences are the most well-known and popularized cultural experiences in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Activities ranging from village walks, cuisine tasting and many other interesting options are available to try.
Hiking and nature walks
For the adventurous, this is one of the perfect ways to experience the depth of the Bwindi forest. Starting from Buhoma region, the Munyanga river trail takes you to the pristine waterfalls a true rewarding experience. The sounds in the forest and the gentle cover of the mists make your nature walks enchanting. Along the trails, you will encounter plenty of fauna and flora, black and white colobus monkeys, lots of colorful butterflies, tree ferns and orchids.
Best time to visit Bwindi
Wondering about the best time when to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park? Bwindi is always open for wildlife viewing and gorilla trekking safaris all year round. However, the best time to visit Bwindi is from June to August or December to mid-February, which happens to be the dry season in different other areas in Uganda.
The fact that Bwindi forest is a tropical rain forest, a little rain can always be expected at any time but the above months have the least recorded rain. During this season, most forest trails are passable and it is much easier to track the gorillas as they go about their daily activities like feeding, grooming, brawling and bonding as a group.
March to April and September to November are always very wet months, even though they make up for the best bird watching time. For anyone wishing to visit Bwindi soon, it is recommended that travelers pack rain gear, waterproof clothing and the appropriate hiking shoes to use during gorilla trekking sessions and forest walks.