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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda Gorilla Trekking – Uganda Gorilla Tours And Gorilla Safaris

Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching

Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching

Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching

Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching: This safari takes you to the jungles of Bwindi in the southwestern part of Uganda to be part of the once on a lifetime activity of gorilla trekking and then bird watching. Bwindi is home to the endangered primate species called mountain gorillas which are said to be over 600. The park is home to over 350 bird species of which 14 are endemic to the Albertine region and others are only found in this park.

The gorilla trekking on this safari can be done in Buhoma region, Nkuringo region, Rushaga region, or Ruhija region. Since you want to combine gorilla trekking with birding then we advise you to visit Buhoma sector in the north or Ruhija sector in the East. These two regions have got the best viewing points for different bird species and birding trails such as Buhoma waterfall trail, bamboo zone trail, Mubwindi swamp trails, and ivy river trail among others. Bwindi can be accessed in a single day and gorilla trekking as well as birding can be done at any time of the year.

On a Bwindi gorilla trekking and birding safari, you need permits that will enable you to be part of the activities. Birding permits for Bwindi do cost $30 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while citizens of East Africa pay UGX10,000. Gorilla trekking permits cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for citizens of East Africa.

Gorilla trekkers in the Impenetrable forest searching for gorillas in their habitats

Gorilla trekkers in the Impenetrable forest searching for gorillas in their habitats

Bwindi gorilla trekking experience

Bwindi gorilla trekking is done on all the 19 mountain gorilla families that have been habituated in the park. The mountain gorilla activities are done in 4 sectors of the park which are Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Buhoma. Gorilla trekking in all the sectors of the park starts very early in the morning when trekkers must gather and meet the park wardens. These teach trekkers about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity, check if the trekkers have valid permits, and see if these trekkers don’t have signs of any transmitted diseases. The park wardens are also responsible for the allocation of gorilla families and also getting armed ranger guides to lead you in the jungle.

Trekkers that have excess luggage can hire porters at this time and then armed ranger guides will be able to lead them in the jungle. The armed ranger guides communicate to the trackers that went earlier in the jungle where the mountain gorillas are so that they use the quickest routes to get to the family. The search for mountain gorillas can take 2-7 hours and these depend on the location of the gorilla group and the speed of the trekkers.

During the search for mountain gorillas, trekkers are able to meet some of the park animals which include bush pigs, buffaloes, elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, monkeys, olive baboons, bords, and different vegetation cover. When the mountain gorilla family is spotted, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around the members while keeping rules and regulations. During the 1 hour given, they are able to learn about gorilla habits, watch them do daily activities, take photos, and record videos. After enjoying time with mountain gorillas, you will trek out of the jungle meet your driver guide, and go pick up your trekking certificate.

Birding

Birding in bwindi is mostly done in Buhoma and Rushaga regions of the park. Birds to look out for in Bwindi gorilla park include shikra, Hadada ibis, scared ibis, black kite, African black duck, marabou stock, pink backed pelican, little grebe, brown snake eagle, southern pochard, hammer kop, bat hawk, lizard buzzard, black crake, peregrine falcon, African jacana, grey crowned crane, red knobbed coot, African green pigeon, olive pigeon, diederik cuckoo, klass cuckoo, yellow bill, horus swift, narina tarragon, crowned horn bill, giant king fisher, malachite king fisher, black bee eater, greater honey guide, wilcocks honey guide, least honey guide, and African pitta.

Other bird species in Bwindi include barn swallow, rock martin, mosque swallow, olive wood pecker, western nector, little greenbul, grey cuckoo shrike, cape wagtail, western nector, toro olive greenbul, forest robin, olive thrush, african thrush, white browedrobin chat, honey guide greenbul, Cameroon sombre green bul, sedge warbler, common stone chat, green hylia, wood warbler, kivu ground thrush, chestnut wattle eye, Rwenzori batis, green crombec, malachite sunbird, winding cisticola, tit hylia, dusky tit, banded prinia, grey apalis, collared apalis, singing cisticola, swamp flycatcher, African grey flycatcher, grey apalis, green sunbird, common fiscal, tiny sunbird, collared sunbird, pied crow, sooty boubou, montane oriole, grey headed sparrow, compact weaver, spectacled weaver, black headed weaver, spending startling, yellow bishop, dusky twin spot, fan tailed widowbird, and white collared olive back among others.

Best time to go gorilla trekking and bird watching in Bwindi

Gorilla trekking and birding in Bwindi can be done at any time of the year however we have months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best to have gorilla trekking together with birding in Bwindi and this occurs from June to September and December to February. They are characterized by little or no rainfall that keeps the trails dry, the vegetation is thin and short giving clear views of the park’s wildlife and the roads leading to the park are in good condition.

Travelers can still visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking and bird watching activities in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. This is when the lodges are giving out huge discounts to the few travelers in the park. During the rainy season, there is plenty of food in the park and therefore the mountain gorillas don’t move far too high altitudes to look for food, and also the migratory birds in the park are very many. Travelers should however note that during the rainy season, there is plenty of food which makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of the wildlife and the roads leading to the park are in poor conditions.

Accessing Bwindi for gorilla trekking and bird watching

Travelers visiting Bwindi for gorilla trekking and birding can access the park using air transport or road transport. Travelers using air transport should book in advance with the local tour operator or airline company. Flights are operated by Bar Aviation Uganda, Fly Uganda, and AeroLink Uganda from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip for travelers visiting Buhoma region and Kisiro airstrip for travelers visiting Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Rushaga.

Travelers can also access Bwindi for gorilla trekking and bird watching using road transport from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale, and Kisoro, and the journey takes 9-10 hours. Travelers from Kigali can access Bwindi for gorilla trekking and bird watching by crossing to Uganda using Katuna border in Kabale and Cyanika birder in Kisoro and the whole journey takes 3-4 hours.

pack list for Bwindi Gorilla safari

pack list for Bwindi Gorilla safari

What to pack for Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching?

Things to pack for Bwindi gorilla trekking and bird watching include waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, gardening gloves, a pair of gaiters, a rain jacket, a sweater, long-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved pants, a light backpack, insect repellents, sanitizer, facemask, a camera, a pair of binoculars, energy-giving snacks, and drinking water bottle.

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