Important advice for individuals willing to take part in tracking of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda:
This is a memorable life time experience for many, and it is not an activity that one can hurriedly put together. There may be alternatives for last minute occurrences though preferably there it is wise to plan this trip in advance, especially if you are to take them during eventful seasons between June – September and December – January.
If you arrange in advance- you can choose the best gorilla tracking destination, with the largest gorilla family and finest lodge facilities that suit your budget. Therefore to have the best for your trip, endeavor to arrange in advance.
This very old forest that survived the earth’s large plate shift that resulted into the formation of the western Rift is very stunning. In the traditional Bakliga Language, Bwindi means “ a dark, complicated and fierce place”, thus explaining the impenetrable forest. In some areas in the forest, the tree shade is so thick that sunrays cannot penetrate to the ground. The forest additionally holds a deep swamp. Fortunately, the magical Impenetrable Bwindi Forest is not very impenetrable, factually it is accessible and the finest destination to track the giant Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, and largely in all the 3 countries that these apes inhabit.
The Impenetrable Bwindi Forest is the only habitat in Central & East Africa where Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas co-exist. There are 860, not all habituated but frequently seen chimpanzees. Te impenetrable Bwindi Forest is not just a haven for the Mountain gorillas that are facing extinction but to a diversity of other game, birds and a rich flora, among which are: close to 310 tree species, more than 100 succulent ferns, approximately 300 butterflies and 340 recognized birds. Forest elephants which are somewhat smaller and more hairy than their savannah relative, with each foot having an additional toe and a smaller tusk, are present in the the southern part of the Bwindi. Other animals include Bushpigs, Leopards, Clawless Otter, Genets, Bats, Giant Forest Hogs, Golden Cats, Side-Striped Jackals, Civets and Duiker Antelopes. And among the antelopes are L Hoests Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Olive Baboons, nocturnal Prosimians like the Bush babies & the Pottos, Black & White Colobus Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys and the Red-Tailed Monkeys. This nnatural beauty is endowed with a rich biodiversity and surrounded by a scenic backdrop of terraced cultivated farmland. The characteristic flora and fauna have made this forest a fine destination for gorilla tracking.
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Buhoma Area: This area sits at the lowest altitude within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Additionally, it s a less demanding trekking in this location and majority of the lodges range from low budget to comfy high-class facilities offering a beautiful view of the forest. Occasionally, some gorilla families visit some of the lodges. The Buhoma regions in the Impenetrable Bwindi Forest are habitat to 4 habituates gorilla families/groups, and among them are the Mubare Group, the Rushegura Group and the Habinyanja Group. Buhoma has numerous extra activities like village walks to explore the culture and lifestyle of the neighboring people, mountain-bike rides, and numerous hikes to the different parts of the Bwindi all in the company of a guide.
Ruhija Area: in this area within the park you will track gorilla gropus like the Bitukura Group and the recently established Oruzogo Group, and will provide you with a variety of accommodation ranging from up-Market to low budget facilities. Ruhijja stands at a height of 2,350 meters, 1,000 meters above Buhoma. The Ruhija area for ages has been a favorite sport for bird watchers, and additionally at present day it has 2 Gorilla groups to track. Further more you can participate in a village walk just like on taken in Buhoma and offer support to the adjacent local communities, or take bird-watching walks, or visit the water falls. Als o there is an exhilarating guided trek to Mubwindi swamp and the Bamboo trail neighbored by a variety of vegetation and beautiful scenery of Lake Bunyonyi.
Rushaga Area: this is found in the southern regions of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It is a newly developed establishment with expensive and low budget facilities for you. The Rushaga Area is a haven for the the Nshongi and Mishaya groups. The silverback Mishaya which separated from the Nshongi family and established its own family is the leader of the Mishaya group. The Nshongi family was an element in the “Friend a Gorilla” promotion that was recently launched and the was well attended by a number of celebrities. Furthermore, the Rushaga Area not only offers gorilla tracking opportunities but also has village walks, bird watching walk that will make your trip very memorable.
Nkuringo Area: is one among the most spectacular places in the Bwindi Forest and it is an area where you will be able to burn down some calories as you trek the steep slope to track down the resident gorillas. The tedious trekking effort is well paid off by the wonderful experience you will have as you encounter the new gorilla family; Kahungye, and the Nkuringo family. The area has top- status accommodation facilities as well as moderately low budget facilities. Additional activities include a village walk that will enable you taste the locally-brewed sorghum “beer”, and the local foods together with interacting with the natives, trek to the top of the Virunga Volcanoes to enjoy the wonderful view, and you may be lucky enough to view fire or smoke from one of the volcanoes in Congo. All these wonderful ventures will certainly make the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest the finest place to trek.
The best season to visit the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and see a gorilla family/group: being a rainforest, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is covered with a morning mist each day of the year. However rains are heavy in the rainy season between April to May, and October – November annually. It is therefore important that you prepare properly prior to the safari with the help of tour operators like us. Pay for your permit through the tour operator for a trip on the days of your choice, and plan for other additional activities. Planning in advance will enable you to choose the location of the gorilla family and the lodging facilities of your own preference.
Gorilla tracking is done all year round even during the rainy season. Fortunately this place is dissimilar to the Northwest Pacific in USA where it rains continuously for over a week without even stopping.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest has a lot more to offer that makes it the finest destination to visit the gorillas. unique only to this area is the extraordinary Lake Bunyonyi where some scenes of “Lord of the Rings” where shot, it has volcano climbing, tracking of Golden Monkeys, trekking the Batwa trail which is surrounded by the original habitat people of the Bwindi Forest through Mgahinga Gorilla Park, the large Ishasha plains with numerous antelope species, elephants, tree-climbing male lions with black manes, buffalos, and elephants, visit Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the largest African populace of hippos, view thousands of birds including the cormorants and the pilicans, hike the foot-slopes of the Mountain of the Moon; Mountain Rwenzori, visit a chain of the highest mountain ranges in Africa and spend a night in the beautiful shadows of these mountains in the company of the mountain rangers, visit the large western Rift Valley found in Semiliki and also the surrounding steaming jungles, track and spend time with the habituated families of the Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, and slumber in a tree house in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. This forest is definitely the finest place to track mountain Gorilla, all in the Pearl of Africa in Uganda.
Author: Sandra Nans