Best time to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park
The best time to visit Bwindi national park in the south western part of Uganda is during the dry seasons.
Bwindi national park is one of the best places to visit for a primate experience in Uganda and it is located on the edge of the Albertine rift valley. Gorillas are considered the largest primates and the type of gorillas in Uganda are mountain gorillas.
The dry season in Bwindi national park is experienced during the months around June, July, August, September and October and also December, January and February. During this time of the year, conditions of seeing gorillas are favorable in the national park.
The dry season is considered a high season for tours to Bwindi national park due to the big numbers of tourist who take part in gorilla trekking and other activities around the national park around June to October. Booking gorilla permits in advance is recommended for tourists planning on seeing gorillas in Uganda.
December being a festive season attracts many tourists to Bwindi national park and the weather is also favorable for seeing gorillas in Uganda. The beginning of the year is also good for tours in Uganda.
The high season in Bwindi national park is also characterized by high prices for accommodation and good weather but crowds are expected during activities in the national park. The dry or high season is also a good time to visit other destinations around Uganda.
Tourists also visit Bwindi national park during the rainy season in Uganda which takes place around March, April and May as well as around November. During these months, the trails are slippery and due to the nature of the impenetrable forest and steep slopes in Bwindi gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park during the rainy season becomes tricky.
March, April and May are months of the year during which a lot of rainfall is received in Bwindi national park. These months are usually avoided by tourists but those who prefer visiting with low tourist crowds can go to Bwindi during this time of the year.
The rainy season is a low or off season of travel in Bwindi national park with fewer tourists at the national park. However, activities like bird watching can be done during the rainy season and tourists also enjoy gorilla trekking despite the rains and muddy trails.
Bwindi national park is a destination in Uganda which is famous for gorilla trekking. This national park has 4 different sectors where the gorilla trekking activity can be done during safaris.
The 4 sectors of Bwindi national park which can be visited during gorilla trekking include the Rushaga sector, Buhoma sector, Nkuringo sector and Ruhija sector. Ruhija is in the eastern part of Bwindi, Buhoma is in the northern part of Bwindi, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the southern part of Bwindi.
Even with the change in seasons however, the price of the gorilla permit in Bwindi national park does not change. A gorilla permit costs 700 USD for foreign nonresidents, 600 USD for foreign residents and 250,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans.
Another activity to do all year round in Bwindi national park is gorilla habituation which is carried out in Rushaga sector. This activity costs 1500 USD for foreign nonresidents, 1000 USD for foreign residents and 750,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans.
The difference between gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park and gorilla habituation is in the time spent with the gorillas and the price for these activities also varies during a tour in Uganda. During gorilla trekking, tourists spend 1 hour with the gorillas while during habituation tourists spend 4 hours with the gorillas.
The gorilla trekking experience and habituation experience in Bwindi national park start with a briefing at the park headquarters. There are park headquarters in the different sectors of Bwindi national park.
After briefing is done, tourists head into the Bwindi impenetrable forest in their groups of 8 with the ranger guides in their company. Children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to engage in gorilla trekking or habituation in Bwindi.
Half the worlds population of mountain gorillas can be seen in Bwindi national park which makes it an ideal destination to visit at any time of the year to see gorillas. Other destinations where gorillas can be seen include Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda (Parc national des volcans), and also Virunga national park in Congo.
Other activities which can be done during visits to Bwindi national park include hiking and guided nature walks, bird watching as well as cultural tours.
- Cultural tours around Bwindi national park involve interacting with the locals and getting to know more about their way of life, engaging in activities such as traditional dance performances, visiting the homesteads, trying out the local food and food preparation or learning how to make fire the local way among other activities. Around Bwindi national park, the locals such as the Batwa people who are the pygmies have unique cultures and are very welcoming.
- Bwindi national park is also home to many bird species and there are over 340 bird species in the national park.
How to get to Bwindi national park
Bwindi national park can be accessed by flight and also by road during safaris in Uganda. Another way to get to the national park is by crossing from Rwanda.
The drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Bwindi national park takes about 8 to 9 hours via the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Bwindi route. Due to the long drive, stops can be made along the way to the national park.
Flights to Bwindi national park can be got from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro airstrip. Airlines such as Aerolink and Bar aviation offer these flights to Bwindi national park.
Tourists can also fly to Kigali international airport and cross to Bwindi national park via the Cyanika border or Gatuna border.
Visit Bwindi national park and enjoy seeing gorillas during different months of the year.