Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
A magnificent verdant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley, this ancient rainforest – one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age – is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Bwindi National Park is situated in south western Uganda Kanungu district and driving to Bwindi from Kampala takes 9 / 10 hours drive. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Africa has to offer – but we should not let it distract from Bwindi’s broader biodiversity, a result of its immense antiquity and an altitude span from 1,160 to 2,607m. Bwindi National Park has 120 mammal species, including 11 primates, of which the black-and-white Columbus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent. Bwindi National Park is also an ideal place for bird watchers with over 350 difference species. The forest birding ranks with the best in Uganda, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics present. Bwindi also boost of over 200 species of butterflies. It’s important to note that Bwindi was put on gazette as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. The main activity being Gorillars trekking, and for conservation purposes, visits to the gorillas are tightly controlled. Registration and briefing at the park offices at Buhoma and Nkuringo commences at 07:45. Tracking starts at 08:30 and can last from a few hours to the whole day depending on where the gorillas are in the forest. Bwindi National Park offers up to a maximum of 72 gorilla trekking permits daily are available for gorilla trekking. For this case, an advance booking of 2-12 months is recommended to avoid disappointment. Advance booking up to 2 years in advance are accepted. Permits are non-refundable, although in some cases will be transferable. Some permits may be available on short notice. Another interesting activity around Bwindi is Culture. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of local Ugandan culture, you can arrange visits to the local community to see traditional costumes and jewelry making. You may also want to visit the Batwa (Pygmy) families in the area. Village walks are available for a nominal price. Locally produced craft items can be purchased from the park tourist office, local craft shops and Lodge gift shops. Gorilla rules
- First and foremost no one with a communicable disease such as flu, diarrhea is allowed to enter the park.
- Secondly, stay together in a tight group while with gorillas hence they should not be surrounded.
- Distance of about 5m between you and the gorillas should be considered. In case they approach you move back slowly.
- Flashes while photographing the gorillas are not allowed.
- Smoking and eating when with the gorillas or in a closer distance of about 200m is not allowed.
- Turn away from the gorillas if you need to sneeze or cough and you should cover your nose or mouth in the process.
- Human feaces should be buried in minimum of one foot deep and secure that the whole is properly covered.
- All litter must be must be collected and disposed off from the park.
- Persons below the age of 15 are not allowed to track gorillas.
- Avoid making loud noises or sudden movements when with the gorillas.
- You are given strictly one hour to track the gorillas.
- Your group must not be more than 8 tourists and must all be over 15years of age.
- You should observe all instructions from your guide.