Group Safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
To minimize disturbance to these endangered great apes, only eight people are permitted to track an allocated group of habituated mountain gorillas on any single day, while viewing time is strictly limited to one hour. As wildlife viewing goes, it is difficult to convince how or where on earth 60 minutes could be more rewarding. Gorilla trekking offers the privilege of encountering one of the world’s rarest animals in its natural habitat and, by doing so, helping to fund its continued survival.
Although mountain gorillas are undeniably intelligent and impressive creatures to watch – a giant Silverback that weighs over 200 kg but still keeps its calm, and these creatures are obviously one of our closest relatives and few observers emerge from the magic hour without feeling an unfathomable and often profoundly moving connection.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
The wildlife experience in Bwindi impenetrable National Park is truly out of the ordinary. Biologically, this impenetrable forest is one of Africa’s richest, which is why it was listed a UNESCO World heritage site, owing to its great age, cultural and nature diversity and an altitudinal range spanning 1400 meters ASL. It also contains an impressive list of bio diverse species, including 200 different trees, 350 birds, 120 mammals, 51 reptiles, 310 butterflies and 88 moths, including several primates, among them chimpanzees, black and white colobus, blue monkeys, grey checked Mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkey and as well as the park’s prime attraction - mountain gorillas.
Bwindi has over 17 habituated Gorilla groups, which are tracked from four sectors – Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. A typical gorilla trekking excursion takes 1 to 8 hours depending on the location and daily movements of the group you are tracking, the weather and speed of the visitors. This adventure also requires a reasonable level of fitness as this is an impenetrable forest which at times experiences heavy rains and paths become slippery and treks go through rough steep slopes which are hard to navigate.
The Batwa cultural experience
The Batwa, also known as the “Twa” are the original inhabitants of the Virunga region in the forests beneath the Virunga mountains. They were later displaced from the forests in the early 1990s when gorilla conversation began to take shape, and now they reside on the outskirts of the Bwindi and Mgahinga forests in south-west and some in northern Rwanda. When you visit Bwindi, never forget to take a visit to explore these amazing group of people. Meet them and get to know how they lived in the forest as well as learning more about their activities including bee keeping, hunting, mushroom gathering, making crafts and fruit gathering. In the evening, stories from the Twa legend will be told as well as traditional songs coupled with energetic dances.
When to visit Bwindi
A group tour to Bwindi impenetrable national park can leave any time of the year; though it may depend on your tolerance for mud and slippery grounds, but there is a little variation in how comfortable you might feel during the gorilla trekking experience. Bwindi is generally cold, but the coldest season is usually June and July, while heavy rains are experienced between March to May and short rains from September – Early December where long hours of drizzle are experienced. Mornings in Bwindi are quite chilly, while night time is generally cold with temperatures averaging from 7⁰C to 20⁰C. In general, the best gorilla trekking season in Bwindi is from Mid-June to early September which also doubles as the best time to undertake a safari elsewhere in Uganda.