Activities and attractions in Bwindi forest park – When most people think of Bwindi Impenetrable park, they think of mountain gorilla tracking in Africa, which is rightly so because it is the main attraction. However, Bwindi being heavily dense rainforest, it is home to many birds and animals and several other activities.
Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest
Bwindi is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is done daily after purchasing a gorilla-tracking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. You are advised to book your permit at least 3 months prior to secure your day especially if you prefer a certain location. Only 8 individuals from 15 years of age are permitted to visit a gorilla family per day. You need to be in good health condition otherwise you will not track because humans and Gorillas can easily pass diseases to each other. You will be briefed by your guide way before tracking and advices to stay at least 8m from the gorillas, do not use flash photography and do not look directly in the eyes of the gorilla for an extended period of time. You need to wear long sleeved pants and shirts to avoid scratches as you trek through the forest, carry a rain poncho, seasoned boots, lots of water, lunch (sometimes it takes an entire day to locate them) and finally consider hiring a potter because the terrain can be difficult.
Bwindi forest is a prime top birding destination spot and was named as Africa’s number one birding spot by Africa Bird Club. If you have limited time in Uganda and you must choose only one park for birding then, Bwindi should be your choice. It is easily accessible for birding with birding trails in the forest leading to different area including the waterfall trail. It is home to about 350 species of birds which include 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda. There are excellent site guides in the communities who are very knowledgeable about the birds in the area especially the endemics. These join you as you take your trip into the forest re-enforcing the team you will have started with on your trip.
Nature and waterfalls walks
There are various trails into the forest for your different interests. You have trails leading to beautiful waterfalls where you can dive in the water. You walk along with an armed Uganda wildlife ranger guide for your protection in case you meet a wild animal but also as a guide. The available trails; Buhoma – Nkuringo trail which takes 4 – 5 hours crossing through the national park. Rushura Hill walk – a trail through forest shared between Congo and Uganda. Muyanga waterfall walk, Ivi River Walk – 14 kms and takes about 7 hours. Muzubijiro Loop – 6km walk around the hill where you have chances of interacting with primates and birds.
Mountain Hiking and biking
Kigezi region where Bwindi impenetrable forest is located is a mountainous area with beautiful scenery. Most lodges have bikes you can rent per day to take on the special trails created in the community otherwise ask them for a project you can rent from.Ivi river trail from Buhoma park headquarters to Ivi river organized by ‘ride for a woman’.
Community walks and Cultural experiences
The community surrounding Bwindi forest is full with activities and cultural experiences for you. You can choose to take on the Batwa experience – a people that lived in the forest for many years. Here you will be to re-visit the forest with them and experience how they lived in the forest, how they co-existed with the gorillas and the other animals for years. The different walks include Buniga Forest nature walk in Nkuringo – a forest reserve adjacent to Bwindi impenetravle national park. Nyundo community Eco trails and King Bakyara’s waterfall trail. Tour the village Aquaponics project with Conservation through Public Health (CTPH). Buhoma community tours – areas of interest, handcraft shops, Batwa community, traditional healer, primary school and finally learn how bananas are used to make juice, beer and gin and taste.
Best time to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Uganda is suitable for travel any time of the year, but not advisable during rainy seasons. Uganda is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit).
The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time, the best months of the year would be December to late February and from June to September.