How to visit Bwindi impenetrable National Park – Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda with Gorilla permits
How to visit Bwindi impenetrable National park -In this article, we give you answers to all questions regarding your gorilla trekking safari In Uganda, read more. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one the most visited National parks in Uganda by many tourists especially for Mountain Gorilla tracking. Witnessing mountain Gorillas in the jungle is the reason why most travelers visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
But planning a Gorilla tracking safari in Bwindi can be quite challenging. That’s why, here, Great Adventure Safaris has compiled the information you need to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Where is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Located at 1,160metres-2,607metres above sea level, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park lies in south-western Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. To the west, the park is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Spanning over 321sq kilometres / 124 square miles, its hillsides are covered by one of the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests in Uganda.
How to Get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If you book a Gorilla tracking safari, you are likely to fly into Entebbe International Airport.
Entebbe International Airport is where most visitors to Uganda land. If traveling by land it can take 8-10 hours to reach Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. But there are domestic carriers that fly from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi or Kisoro Airfield near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.Read more about flights tat go to Bwindi on daily basis
Great Adventure Safaris offer Airport transfers and National park transfers to and from the Airfields.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Fees
In order to enter the park, you need either a Gorilla tracking permit or if not you will have to pay for the entrance and any other park activity like a guided nature walk.
You should know that if you decide to pay for a Gorilla tracking permit, you will help the conservation efforts.
Just know that these Gorilla permits need to be booked in advance, especially if you plan to travel during the high travel season. There are only 152 permits issued per day at the Uganda Wildlife Authority on a first come first serve basis.
Share with Great Adventure Safaris your preferred dates and we will check the availability and send you an invoice. Personal details such as the name and passport number also need to be sent to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to print and issue your Gorilla permits.
Best Time to Visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
While Bwindi National park is open for Gorilla tracking all year round, it’s best to plan your trip from June to August-September and December to February. While it can rain at any time of the year, these months have less rainfall, the trails are drier, and less slippery. This is also when your chances of seeing the mountain Gorillas are higher.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park History
The name Bwindi derives from the local phase “mubwindi bwa nyinamuraki”, which most likely referred to the Mubwindi swamp, located in the south Eastern part of the park.
The story goes that a family migrating from Kisoro found themselves standing at the southern end of a seemingly impenetrable swamp. The parents asked the swamp spirits for guidance and they were told that in order to cross they had to sacrifice their most beautiful daughter. After two days of deliberation, they decided they should pass through the swamp, so they threw the girl into the water.
When the news about the sacrifice spread, people began to avoid the swamp and called it “mubwindi bwa nyinamuraki” dark place of Nyinamuraki.
In 1932, two blocks of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. Later, in 1964, it was turned into an animal sanctuary to protect the mountain Gorillas.
In 1991, it was designated as a national park and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994.
Going on a Safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The reason why travelers come to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is to see the magnificent mountain Gorillas. Being able to witness these impressive animals in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget.
If you want to see other animals on your trip in Uganda, consider combining Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest with visiting other national parks in Uganda, specifically Kibale Forest National Park for Chimpanzee tracking, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks for game and boat safaris.
Plan Your Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Congratulations on choosing to travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You’ve decided to visit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and you won’t regret it and now let’s get planning. Whether you are planning to take a Gorilla trek or a nature walk, Bwindi Forest is a great place to be.
Steps to Planning a Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Decide how you’ll travel to Bwindi Forest. Most people do a road trip vacation either starting from Kampala or Entebbe. There are also road trips from Kigali-Rwanda. You can also fly to a smaller airport at Kihihi or Kisoro and get transferred by car to the lodge. Once you get to the park, you will need a vehicle, bike, or tour transportation to get around which Great Adventure Safaris can arrange for you.
Choose the different Bwindi tourist attractions that you are most interested in seeing during your visit. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a large park with several entrances and if you are planning to take a Gorilla trek, you should know the sector where you are to track the endangered Mountain Gorillas from. Decide what you want to do and see before you search for lodging options available.
You can make your tour reservation or make direct reservations with your preferred safari lodge. You should also book your Gorilla permit well in advance through Great Adventure Safaris at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Depending on what time of year you are visiting Bwindi, you will need to make your necessary bookings well in advance.
Before you go, check if it’s the right time to visit, weather, climate and things to pack, clothing and more so you need to get the right gear for your tour.
Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The main attraction of Bwindi National Park is its mountain Gorilla population. More than half of the remaining surviving Mountain Gorillas live in Bwindi forest, which means there are many chances of seeing them on your visit.
While the elephants live here, they are rarely seen. You will get more chances to spot the rare l’Hoest monkey and black-and-white colobus. Chimpanzees live in the park, but they are not habituated so they are hard to see as they shy away. There are also antelopes living in the park and you could be lucky enough to spot the bushbuck and the duiker.
Where to Stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Throughout the National park and in the nearby towns, there are safari camps available, as well as Gorilla Lodges, and Guest houses catering for all budgets. There are restaurants available, as well as bars and dining areas, and come with gorgeous views of the forest.
What should i pack?
When planning a Gorilla tracking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, it’s important to know that it can rain at any time of the year. With that in mind, here is what you should pack for your trip to Bwindi forest
- Lightweight hiking boots
- Garden gloves
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Long-sleeve blouse and long trousers
- Camera and lenses plus protective rain gear
- Hat, sunglasses, binoculars
- Insect repellent
- Over the counter medicine such as ibuprofen, antihistamines, motion sickness pills, and Imodium
- Water bottle
Visa Policies to Enter Uganda
Most travelers to Uganda including United Kingdom and United States nationals must have a visa, which can be obtained before travel from the embassies and consulates or upon arrival at the ports of entry. Check with the embassy in your country whether you need a visa or not. Some European nationals don’t need it. All travelers must have a valid Yellow Fever Immunization card.
Cash withdrawals and Cards used within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The local currency is Ugandan shilling, though most tours operators and upscale hotels use US Dollars.
There are many ATMs even in remote places but try to always carry cash with you. Big banks accept international cards.
The most useful currency you can carry is the US Dollar, especially in small towns. Euros and Pounds Sterling are also accepted.
While credit cards are accepted at better hotels in larger cities, it is recommended to avoid using a credit card in Uganda. That’s mostly because of the high fees associated with the transactions (5 to 8% surcharge).
Should you decide to use any card in Uganda, make sure you inform your bank before travel to avoid any potential freezes.