Attractions in Bwindi National Park
The attractions in Bwindi National Park makes it a UNESCO heritage site and its located in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kanungu district. Bwindi was gazetted in 1991 to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that were getting to extinction as well as the tropical rainforest. Bwindi is one of the most visited national parks in the country attracting thousands of tourists from different parts of the world.
Bwindi is home to more than half of the mountain gorillas left in the whole world, 10 primate species, 120 mammals, 350 bird species, and 160 tree species. Bwindi is famous for harboring mountain gorillas but it also has other attractions such as trees, mammals, primates, birds, and Batwa people as listed below.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi
Mountain gorillas are the main attractions in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Bwindi alone has more than a half of the mountain gorilla population in the world living in the four sectors of the park which are Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija, and Buhoma. They have attracted a lot of tourists from different parts of the world to come and encounter apes that share 98% human DNA with human beings. Bwindi has 19 fully habituated mountain gorilla families and 2 semi habituated gorilla families in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of the park. Gorilla trekking is the most done activity in Bwindi and it’s done by those that are 15 years and above possessing valid gorilla trekking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Birds in Bwindi
Bwindi is home to more than 350 bird species of which 14 are only found in the Bwindi forest and 24 are endemic to the Albertine rift region. The birds have attracted several tourists to the park and most of them combine the activity with mountain gorilla trekking. The birds of Bwindi can be seen using the famous trails of the park such as Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail, and bamboo zone.
Birds of Bwindi include yellow streaked greenbul, purple breasted sunbird, tambourine dove, cassin’s flycatcher, ansorge’s greenbul, klaas’s cuckoo, Angolan swallow, zebra waxbill, African paradise flycatcher, dwarf honeyguide, snowy-crowned robin-chat, cape wagtail, mountain wagtail, yellow-fronted canary, dusky twin spot, yellow-fronted canary, African wood-owl, European honey buzzard, archer’s robin-chat, mackinnon’s shrike, grey wagtail, scarce swift, little grebe, jameson’s antpecker, and African golden breasted bunting.
More bird species in Bwindi include African flycatcher-chat, hottentot teal, pin tailed whydah, grosbeak weaver, stuhlmanns starling, little grebe, blue-headed sunbird, black swift, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, woolly necked stork, banded prinia, white-throated greenbul, red knobbed coot, doherty’s bush-shrike, toro olive greenbul, marabou stork, olive-breasted greenbul, giant kingfisher, African goshawk, oriole finch, fine banded woodpecker, scaly throated honeyguide, African hawk-eagle, helmeted guinea fowl, and brown illadopsis.
Batwa pygmies in Bwindi
Batwa pygmies are the first people to live in the Bwindi forest. They were evicted from the forest by the government to conserve the homes of animals that were living in the park most especially the mountain gorillas. The Batwa pygmies created new hoke around the park and tourists can visit them during the safari in Bwindi. A visit to the Batwa community is led by the Batwa guides who take you around the forest showing you how they hunted animals, gathered fruits, and collected honey. They also take you around the Batwa community where you get to be part of the community activities, cooking, making local beer, and see how they do their day to day activities in Bwindi.
Mammals in Bwindi
Bwindi harbors more than 120 mammal species that are always seen during the nature walk, gorilla trekking, and then birding activities. There are no game drives in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park but you can’t leave the park minus seeing the mammals. Some of the mammals in Bwindi include elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black fronted duiker, clawless otter, yellow-backed duiker, side-stripped jackal, civet, golden cats, and much more.
Primates in Bwindi
Apart from mountain gorillas, Primates are other key attractions in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Over 10 primate species. The park harbors primates such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys, de brazza monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, potto, demidoff’s galago, red-tailed monkeys, and spectacled galago among others.
Best time to visit Bwindi
Bwindi can be visited at any time of the year but there are seasons that are better than the rest. The dry season is the best to visit Bwindi because it’s characterized by little or no rainfall and this leaves the trekking dry, the roads leading to the park passable, and the vegetation in the park is always thin with clear views of the park animals.
Tourists most especially the budget travelers can still visit Bwindi in the rainy season of March to May and October to November to benefit the huge discounts on accommodation facilities. Travelers should know that in the rainy season, there is plenty of rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of the park animals, and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Where to stay in Bwindi
Lodges in Buhoma sector: Buhoma Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Forest Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Ride 4 women Guest House, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Rest Camp, Haven Lodge, and Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge.
Lodges in Rushaga sector: Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Resort, and Wagtail Eco Safari Lodge.
Lodges in Nkuringo sector: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Centre, Nshongi Camp, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, and Virunga Campsite
Lodges in Ruhija sector: Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp, Agandi Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Cuckoo Land Tented Lodge, Ecomarvels Gorilla Lodge, and Trekkers Tavern.