As per the last census carried out in May 2018, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 400 individuals of the 1004 total gorilla population left in the world. Among the things that make Bwindi an unmatched gorilla destination is that; 1. Your probability of encountering gorillas is over 80% regardless of whether it is a dry or wet season. 2. It offers value for money. Gorilla tracking in it is still at $600 compared to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park where it costs $1500.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a pristine rainforest park that sprawls over steep hills in the Albertine Rift Valley, sitting at an altitude between 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level. It boasts of 13 habituated Gorilla groups. It is safe to explore—just like the other 9 national parks of Uganda. The UNESCO World heritage park is easily accessible by road and air.
Considering that it is a wide as Malta the 10th smallest country in the world, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s 321km2 area span is divided into four major zones for easy management: Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Each setting is made of a progression of ridges and steep valleys covered in very dense jungles. Each has at least three gorilla families with 10-30 members. These range from infants that are few days old to silverbacks that have been under the sun for more than four decades.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a family of mountain gorillas could walk right past you, so close that one of them could brush against your legs. It is such an honour when they allow you to enter their small world to sit quietly in their presence, as they showcase you their ways of life. There is something enchanting about looking into their endearing eyes. Even better, you can walk away with lots of good photographs as the vegetation is not too dense.
Why your chances of seeing gorillas is over 80% in Bwindi
A team of spotters will go into the forest ahead of your hike so as to find the gorillas. On finding them, they will keep monitoring their movements through the forest so as to guarantee you sightings by the time of your arrival. The next one hour with the gorillas is pure bliss. It is like staring at a hairy version of you in the mirror.
Why? Their character and body features are so much like yours. They are generally calm and tolerant to all types of tourists, except the noisy ones and those who take their pictures using flashlights. The young ones love showing off tree climbing skill they have learnt. They will come so close to you. It is such a moving national geographic moment.
There is a chance you will also bump into handsome L’Hoests’s monkey species prior to signing out of the park. Given that the adventure can go on for hours, we will make for you packed lunch.
Gorilla trekking aside, Bwindi is a vibrant birding destination with 350 recorded species inclusive of 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Most of these can easily be found in Buhoma thanks to its vast network of footpaths. Some of these species include black bee-eater, bar-tailed trogon and lots of warblers and forest greenbuls. In remote swamps like Mubwindi Swamp, a serene setting after which the park is named, you will find African green broadbill, one of the 10 most sought birds of Uganda. It is an Albertine Rift endemic.
1. To be able to get good photos of gorillas, it is highly recommendable you carry long lens. The gorillas are very active and keep moving away in search for more edible plants.
2. Gorilla trekking is a pre-booked adventure.
3. Without shoes with good treads, you could fall a dozen times especially if hiking in the rainy seasons. The floor of the forest is wet and slippery.