Affordable tours in Bwindi
Affordable tours to Bwindi take you to one of the most visited national parks in the southwestern part of Uganda. Affordable tours to Bwindi are designed for budget travelers to enable them to have an amazing time in the park doing activities of the lowest price. Gorilla trekking is the major activity carried out in the park and this is not s o expensive compared to gorilla trekking in Rwanda where a permit goes for $1500.
Other affordable activities in Bwindi are birding where you get an opportunity to spot over 350 bird species, a Batwa community tour where you interact with the pygmies, and then hiking and nature walks which give you an opportunity to encounter most of the park attractions on foot. Bwindi is home to 10 primate species, 120 mammals, 350 bird species, and 200 tree species.
Affordable tours to Bwindi require a short number of days and engaging in a few activities. Gorilla trekking is the most expensive activity on this tour but it’s worth it because tourists get an opportunity to encounter endangered mountain gorillas. Other activities carried out in the park are very cheap and affordable for every traveler.
Budget travelers to Bwindi should look at visiting the national park in the low season from March to May and October to November. This is because the lodges are very cheap and this helps with saving. During the low seasons, even the local tour operators do give discounts on most of the tour packages to attract a few travelers that are planning to visit the park. to save more on a tour to Bwindi, a traveler should consider traveling using road transport to the park because it’s cheaper than flying.
Travelers who are looking for affordable tours to Bwindi should consider booking budget or mid-range accommodation facilities that suit their budget. Each gorilla trekking region has budget and mid-range accommodation facilities that are enough for travelers and some of them include Broadbill Forest Camp, Nshongi Gorilla Nest, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi Forest Lodge, Agandi Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, and Engagi Lodge among others.
What to do on an affordable tour in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking: Gorilla trekking is the most done activity in Bwindi where 19 mountain gorilla families are open for trekking in different park sectors. To trek these mountain gorillas, you need a gorilla trekking permit which is from Uganda Wildlife Authority. You will present this permit to the park wardens on the day briefing. Each gorilla family is trekked by a maximum of 8 people who are escorted by armed ranger guides.
Gorilla trekking in all sectors starts early in the morning at the sector offices where trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of the activity, groups, allocated gorilla families to trek, and given armed ranger guides to lead them in the jungle. Trekkers take 2-7 hours to locate the gorilla family and while searching they are able to meet different park animals, birds, and plants. Trekkers spend 1 hour around mountain gorillas while following the rules and regulations.
Gorilla habituation: Gorilla habituation is a bit expensive compared to gorilla trekking but it’s worth the money. A gorilla habituation permit is $1500 a single person but it comes with 4 hours of being around mountain gorillas. habituating mountain gorillas in Bwindi is done in Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors. The activity doesn’t differ from gorilla trekking only that with habituation a person is given 4 hours with mountain gorillas and is able to be part of the activities to make gorillas get used human presence around them.
Birding: On a tour to Bwindi, you could do birding after gorilla trekking or you could do entirely birding the fact that the park is among the best birding destination in the country. Birding tours in Bwindi are best done in Buhoma sector where numerous birding trails are found. There are over 350 bird species in Bwindi and good birders can spot most of them in a day.
Some of the birds to see in Bwindi include little grebe, black kite, northern pin tail, hammer kop, African fish eagle, African jacana, olive pigeon, red-eyed dove, eurasin hobby, blue-headed coucal, spotted eagle owl, crowned hornbill, grew crowned crane, horus swift, bar-tailed tragon, mottled swift, crowned hornbill, black bee-eater, hairy breasted barbet, and brown eared woodpecker among others.
Batwa community tours: This is very affordable for travelers that would love to explore the African culture. Batwa community tours are guided by the locals who first take you for a simple nature walk around the jungle. This is done to enable you to know more about how they survived in the jungle on fruits, honey, roots, and animals from small.
A visit to the Batwa will take you to different homesteads where you will meet local people in their homes doing daily activities. You will get a chance to interact with the elders and get to know about their history. You can visit schools and see the African teaching, community hospitals to see and help the sick and you can visit gift shops to support locals. You will be entertained by the community women through dancers and drama.
Nature walks: Nature walks in Bwindi are done at a very affordable fee of $30 for foreign non-residents, $10 for foreign residents, and UGX10,000 east African citizens. Nature walks are carried out in all sector offices using different hiking trails. The nature walks enable tourists to encounter different park animals such as buffaloes, duikers, giant forest hogs, elephants, bushbucks, bushpigs, olive baboons, monkeys, birds, plants, and water sources.
When to visit Bwindi
Bwindi is open for any activity all throughout the year however there are days that are better than the rest. The dry months from June to September and December to February are the best to have tours in Bwindi because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which makes the trekking trails stay muddy and slippery, the vegetation is short and scattered with good views of the park attractions, and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers most especially the budget ones can visit Bwindi in the rainy season of March to May and October to November so that they enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. Travelers coming to Bwindi during the rainy season for tours should know that the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the park attractions and the roads connecting to the park are impossible.