The rare Mountain Gorillas popular natural habitat
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Bwindi Forest National Park is a one popular Uganda gorilla trekking safari destination being a natural habitat to the rare Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a top pick for Uganda safaris by tourists on either long or short tours in Uganda. Here is what to know about the park;
Background of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The word “Bwindi” originates from a local phrase “Mubwindi bwa Nyinamuraki” with a connotation of darkness therefore referred to as the dark place of Nyinamuraki. This literally referred to Mubwindi swamp in the south east of the now park that was impassable by a family from the Kisoro area who ended up sacrificing their daughter Nyinamuraki to the swamp in order to cross.
Bwindi Forest National Park was gazetted in 1991 and declared a UNESCO national world heritage site in 1994. For its varied ecological importance. Later on, the park became popular to the world as the best gorilla tracking/trekking safari destination because of its big number of the remaining endangered mountain gorillas-the biggest number in a single park.
Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi National Park is situated in the extreme south west of Uganda covering a geographical area of 331sqkm(128sqmi) raising to a height of between 1,160-2,607m above sea level. It is located within a densely Afromontane tropical forest, where plain and mountain forests meet creating a continuum of low to high altitude forests, one of the few large tracts of the East African forests with a diverse ecosystem.
Safari attractions and activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The is definitely popular for the rare Mountain Gorillas that survive there. Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available to Uganda gorilla safari tourists by April 1993. Bwindi forest has four different gorilla tracking sectors known as Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija each with different habituated gorilla families. Bwindi forest is the biggest gorilla habitat with the highest number of mountain gorillas with a total of 16 habituated (trained to behave normally in the presence of human beings) gorilla families. A total of 8 gorilla trekkers, can trek a single gorilla family each day after an early purchase of a Uganda gorilla trekking permit at USD 100 valid for a single trek. The big number of mountain Gorillas in the park guarantees a glimpse of this rare ape during your safari.
On a safari in Uganda, the foremost attraction in Bwindi offers 2 safari activities of which Mountain Gorilla habituation is one of them. Gorilla habituation is a great experience where you get to be near a gorilla family for 4 hours. This is done to make the gorillas familiar to people such that they are not scared away by tourists. Mountain Gorilla habituation is much more expensive than trekking and goes for USD 1500 per person per trek. Since you go for habituation with gorilla doctors and researchers it’s the perfect way of learning about the gorilla life on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
Wildlife in Bwindi
Besides the mountain gorillas, more wildlife counting to about 120 mammals including several primate species like our closest look a like – the chimpanzees making it the only park in Africa where Chimpanzees and gorillas co-exist (chimpanzees are not habituated for trekking), the Blue monkeys, the African elephant Black and white colobus monkey, L’hoest’s monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, the giant forest hog, Vervets, more than 45 small mammal species, 51 reptiles and 88 moths making the park an ultimate safari destination.
Bird species in Bwindi
Bwindi Forest is a great Uganda birding safari destination with a Bird species count of up to about 350 birds. Bwindi is host to 23 out of 24 Albertine rift endemics. Some of the bird species here include, the Handsome Francolin, Grauers Broadbill, Neuman’s Warble, Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-billed Turaco’s, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-headed Hoopoe, Montane Oriole, Pink-footed Puffback, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Waller’s Starling, localized Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Rufous-breasted Sparrow hawk, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters, Bronze-napped Pigeon, the rare Chapin’s Flycatcher, Cassin’s grey flycatcher, pink footed puffback, Mountain wagtail and many more.
Other species found in the park include 310 butterfly species, 27 frog species, a number of chameleons and geckos. Floristically there more than 1000 flowering plant species and more than 100 fern species.
Best time to safari Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The best time of the year for Mountain gorilla trekking tours in Uganda is during the dry months of May to September and December to February when the trails are more passable. In the dry season trekking hours are long since the gorillas are not in the lowlands hiding and pictures are clearer so it’s more exciting and adventurous since you get a walk in a bigger portion of the forest. These seasons are the best though big numbers of tourists come to visit the park therefore it is advisable to book your permit early with your tour company. With the big number of tourists to the area, accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed for whether budget, mid-range or luxury.
Visiting Bwindi is one of the rewarding activities to undertake on an African safari. Since the chimpanzees in the forest are not habituated, you can trek chimpanzees on a wildlife safari in Uganda to Kibale Forest National Park which is the best chimp tracking destination in the world. With the eased chartered flight connections in East Africa, you can tailor a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi with a wildlife safari in Kenya, Tanzania safari or Rwanda wildlife safari and have a great East African experience.