Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most interesting parks that tourists on their Uganda National parks tour can decide to visit. The park is located in the south western part of Uganda in Kisoro district, and the park is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo next to the Virunga National Park a park famous for different attractions like the Mountain Gorillas, the active volcano among the Virunga Mountains, Mount Nyamuragira, and Mount Nyiragongo and many more. The park is home to over 1000 animals, 200 butterfly and bird species which can attract tourists while on their Uganda National Parks Tour.
Attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Mountain Gorillas
Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to Uganda’s Mountain gorillas which can be found in the Bwindi impenetrable forest within the park. Bwindi impenetrable national park has a total number of 14 Gorilla groups also known as families that can be trekked on a daily. An interesting fact about the Uganda mountain gorillas is the fact that half of the world’s remaining gorillas are found in Uganda is in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Tourists will also be able to visit the different gorilla families in the park. The park has got different sectors where the different gorilla families can be found just like in Rwanda where groups can be found along the different mountains like for instance the Karisimbi group found along mountain karisimbi, Susa group along karisimbi, Amahoro group along the slopes of Mount Muhabura.
Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Kyaguliro Group: The group is found in the Ruhija sector of the park with a total number of twenty members Kyaguliro group was set aside for research purposes in Uganda. In earlier years, the group was headed by Rukina who was struck by lightning and his successor was to be his son Mukiza but because he was young. This didn’t sit well with some gorillas and this led to his ambush by Rukarara which led to the split of the group into two Kyaguliro A headed by Rukarara and B headed by Mukiza.
- Bitukura gorilla group: Bitukura group is one of the interesting groups to be visited while tourists go for gorilla trekking tour and this is because of the fact that the group is highly intelligent in a way that the process of gorilla habituation takes a period of 2 years and in some cases it can even take more depending on the type of group but interesting about the group is the fact that it only took the group 15 months to be habituated. Originally the group had 24 members but because of the need to rule by other gorillas, family disputes and many other factors led to the group to remain 13 in total and these members live peacefully together and this is found in the Ruhija sector of the park.
- Mubare gorilla group: Mubare was the first habituated group in Uganda and sometimes also known as group M which makes it interesting for tourists on a gorilla tour because they will be able to trek the first group. The group today comprises 11 members having 6 adult females, 1 adult male, and 3 infants. For tourists interested in trekking the group, it is found in the Buhoma sector of the park.
- Habinyanja gorilla group: The group name of the gorilla family was derived from where the group was first discovered which was near a swamp. The group is found in the Buhoma region of the park and tourists in the area are able to access this gorilla group which is quite interesting to learn. The group comprises of a black back, a teenager, 5 adult females, 3 juveniles and 6 baby gorillas.
Bwindi impenetrable has a total number of 18 gorilla habituated groups and aside from the above others include; Muchunguzi, Katwe, Rushengura, Oruzogo, Busingye, Kahongye, Mishaya, Rwigi, Bweza, Bikyengi, Boshaho, Christmas and also other groups in the habituation process. Important to note about the gorilla families in Uganda is that the numbers can change based on different factors for instance birth which can lead to the increase in number and natural hazards like poaching that can lead to the decrease in the numbers.
- Gorilla trekking: Tourists interested in the activity should first obtain a gorilla permit which is 600 USD which is quite cheaper than the Rwanda gorilla permit which is 1500 USD however from July 1st, 2020, tourists will be paying 700USD. The permits can be obtained from the Uganda Tourism Board or from a trusted tour company or agent. And tourists will have a chance to trek from the different sectors i.e. Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga depending on the permit u have received.
Gorilla trekking is one of the most interesting activities in the park which can be carried out on a daily. For every gorilla family that is to be visited, a maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit it because of the gorilla habitat is fragile and when the numbers are many. It can alarm the gorillas as danger, therefore, a limit of 8 tourists per gorilla family is allowed. The activity gives tourists to spend an hour with the gorillas.
- Gorilla Habituation: Another activity related to the Uganda gorillas includes gorilla habituation and this involves tourists taking part in the habituation of the different gorilla families that is to say training gorillas to be comfortable in the presence of the people in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Gorilla habituation is carried out at a fee of 1500 USD per person.
- Birding: Another interesting activity about the park is birding reason being it is a habitat to a variety of bird species which are over 350 in number these include endemic Albertine bird species like the short-tailed warbler, blue-headed sunbird other bird species include the emerald cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African blue and white tailed blue flycatchers, and red-headed Bluebill. In the park, birding is carried out along the Buhoma waterfall trail, the main trail, the bamboo zone and the Mubwindi swamp trail located in Ruhija.
- Cultural encounters: While on the Uganda National parks tour choosing Bwindi impenetrable national park as a destination on their tour, tourists will have a chance to meet with Batwa an interesting tribe of forest people. These are commonly known as the pygmies because they are really short people however interesting about the group is the fact that they are bushmen who live their lives by hunting, and gathering fruit in the wild.
Tourists interested on going on the Batwa trail they will have a chance to meet with the group of people (Batwa) who will perform different cultural dances for the tourists will also visit their homesteads and they will have a chance to see their architectural design where they use sticks and grass to construct a hut where they sleep in. Tourists will pay a fee of 80 USD to take part in the activity of engaging with the Batwa people.
- Hiking: Another important activity tourists can engage in is the hike through Bwindi impenetrable forest which is also rewarding to tourists interested in discovering the forest and the park at large. There are different hiking trails that tourists can take which may include trails like the Bamboo trail which will enable tourists to see different bird species and vegetation zones and at its viewpoint which is Rwamunyonyi hill, tourists can see Lake Bunyonyi the deepest lake in Uganda and the Virunga mountains in the neighboring countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Mubwindi trail which is one of the most rewarding trails in the park and for tourists to hike through the trail. They first seek permission from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices at the park through the trail, and tourists are able to see different animal species like the chimpanzees, monkeys like the black and white colobus. There is also the Habinyanja trail where tourists can see the Munyanga River which attracts different bird species. Other trails include; Muzabajiro trail, Rushura trail, Kashasha trail, the Ruizi river trail, Ivy river trail, Rushura hill trail, Buhoma- Nkuringo trail all of which once hiked offer rewarding experiences to tourists.
- Commercial Filming and photography: While on the Uganda national park tour tourists in Bwindi impenetrable National park can also carryout filming as an activity for instance they can film Uganda mountain gorillas while in their natural habitats and this can be a memorable experience on their Uganda tour which helps to keep their memories and tourists can pay a total amount of 4200USD however the fee does not include the Uganda gorilla permit. Photography is carried out at an expense of 150 USD per day.
Be ready to unlock nature’s beauty while on your Bwindi national park tour from visiting the mountain gorillas, visiting the Batwa people who are one of the most interesting indigenous groups of people tourists can also engage in other activities in the park which will quench their thirst for nature.