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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda is a gorilla trekking destination hosting half of the remaining mountain gorilla groups. The other population is in the Virunga volcanoes shared among Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a large primeval forest.

About 459 mountain gorillas are found in the Bwindi forest most of them habituated in gorilla families. Bwindi forest is the only habitat out of the four national parks that have mountain gorillas in Africa which has both gorilla trekking.

Just like its name, there is hardly any other habitat like this. Composed of both montane and lowland forest, it is accessible only on foot, a reason for trekking. This forest is very diverse inhabiting 120 species of mammals, 348 bird species, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species.  There more than 1000 flowering plants in the forest, 163 tree species, and 104 species of ferns. With a lot of diversity, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is notable because of the mountain gorillas that attract millions of tourists to Uganda gorilla safaris each year.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Location

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in southwestern Uganda covering about 321 square kilometers. The park is located in Kanungu district. This is just at the edge of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift at elevations ranging from 1,160 to 2,607 meters. This is a UNESCO site with site ID 682.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park

Mountain Gorilla
Mountain Gorilla group

Mountain gorillas live in their natural habitat and the only way to see them in Bwindi is by taking gorilla safaris in Uganda. To see the mountain gorillas, tourists have to trek through the dense jungle of Bwindi, for about 2-6 hours. However, only a maximum of 1 hour is what individuals can spend watching the gorilla family.

Each morning, a group of 8 individuals are allocated a single gorilla family to trek. Each group goes along with armed park rangers. The trekking experience itself is one that is memorable and worth undertaking, combined with watching a gorilla family for one hour is a lifetime experience. After gorilla trekking, tourists are awarded gorilla certificates as a congratulatory certificate for undertaking the trek.

It is known that the mountain gorilla population of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, moves for longer distances and this makes trekking more strenuous compared to the Virunga massif.

Gorilla Trekking Sectors in Bwindi Forest National Park

There are more than 36 habituated gorilla families in the park found in four different sectors. The different sectors include Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo. These are in the different sides of the park and a sector is allocated during the time of permit booking according to availability.

Buhoma sector is found in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The sector is one of the most visited in the park and where gorilla tourism was birthed in Uganda. The first gorilla family to be habituated in the park was in this sector in 1992, known as Mubare family. The group was opened to tourists in 1993. The park is very much preferred because of the easy accessibility from Kabale, Kihiihi airstrip and the Queen Elizabeth National Park which is largely visited for Uganda wildlife safari experiences especially viewing the tree climbing lions.

Mountain gorilla feeding habits
Mountain gorilla feeding habits

Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the Eastern side of the park. The region is at an altitude of 2,350 making it the coldest area of Bwindi. The Ruhija sector is home to three gorilla families namely Oruzogo, Kyaguriro and Bitukura.

Rushaga sector is located in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The sector is host to 5 gorilla families. This sector has the biggest number of gorilla families with also a group for habituation. The habituated families in the Rushaga sector include Bweza, Busingye, Nshongi, Kahungye and Mishaya. Groups for gorilla habituation are Bikyingi and Bushasho.

Nkuringo sector in the south is also located on a higher altitude requiring physical fitness to hike. The sector is home to the Nkuringo gorilla family, the Bushasho gorilla group crosses from the Nkuringo and Rushaga sector.

Where to Stay/ Lodges in Bwindi

Bwindi being a top gorilla tour destination in Africa, several lodging facilities have been set up to ensure comfort and accommodation for all kinds of travelers. There are lodge in the park found in all of the different sectors of the park. Accommodation facilities are grouped as budget/basic, mid-range/standard and luxury or upmarket. Camping travelers can also get facilities and camping gear when they book prior. Four Gorillas Lodge is one of the unique lodges in Bwindi offering luxury and mid-range accommodation facilities.

Jewel Safaris is one of the tour companies that prides in organizing Africa tour packages including affordable gorilla trekking tours. Our trips include Uganda gorilla tours as well as Rwanda gorilla tours and Congo gorilla safaris. We also customize wildlife safaris all through the East African region including Kenya safaris as well as Tanzania safari tours.

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