Getting to Bwindi by air
Getting to Bwindi by air: Bwindi is home to the endangered mountain gorillas in the southwestern part of the country. The national park is recognized as a place with the highest population of mountain gorillas in the whole world. The national park has 21 mountain gorilla families living in different sectors of the park such as Nkuringo, Rushaga, Rujhija, and Buhoma.
Bwindi can be accessed by air at any time of the year by those that hate traveling long distances or those that enjoy luxury traveling. It’s very possible to fly to Bwindi using chattered flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip. The flights are conducted by Aerolink Uganda, fly Uganda, and Bar Aviation Uganda.
Flights to Bwindi can be from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip in Buhoma or Kisoro airstrip. Travelers visiting Buhoma sector are the ones that fly to Kihihi airstrip in the Buhoma region while those visiting Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhija do use Kisoro airstrip.
Booking flights to Bwindi
Flying to Bwindi by air, you need to book flights and this can be done by containing the airline company or a local tour operator. Travelers that are using a local tour operator to organize a safari to Bwindi don’t have to contact the airline company, they should leave that to the tour operator. To book a flight to Bwindi, you will have to contact the airline company or a local tour operator via email informing them about the dates of the month and year you want to fly to the park. The information shall be used to check for the availability of the seats and once they are available, you will be asked to pay some money for your seat to be booked.
When to get to Bwindi by air
Travelers can get to Bwindi by air at any time of the year but there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months that occur from June to September and December to February do favor flights to Bwindi at any time of the day. During the dry months, the weather is so good all throughout the day, there is little or no rainfall that keeps the trekking trails in the park dry, the vegetation is short and thin giving good views of the mountain gorillas, the photography is good and the roads leading to the park from the airstrips are in good conditions.
Travelers can still fly to Bwindi by air in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. Travelers who will visit the park in the rainy season will enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. The problem with flying to Bwindi by air in the rainy season is that there are days flights day or get postponed due to bad weather conditions. During the rainy season, there is plenty of rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, photography is not clear, vegetation is thick and tall with bad views of the mountain gorillas, and the roads leading to the park from the airstrips are in poor conditions.
What to do in Bwindi when you get there by air
Encounter mountain gorillas?: Travelers flying to Bwindi can encounter mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Travelers must be with gorilla trekking permits if they want to be part of this activity and they must have acquired them in advance. The gorilla permits can be got from Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted local tour operator in advance. There are 21 mountain gorilla families in Bwindi available for travelers to encounter, 19 of these are fully habituated and open for gorilla trekking while 2 of these are open for gorilla habituation.
Trekking or habituation of mountain gorillas in Bwindi start early in the morning at the sector offices where trekkers must first learn about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity. Trekking is done by a maximum of 8 people and habituation is done by a maximum of 4 people who are led by armed ranger guides in the jungle. The search for a gorilla family takes 2-7 hours of going through different trails of the park and seeing different park animals. The moment the gorilla family assigned is allocated, trekkers are given 1 or 4 hours to be around the apes watching them do daily activities, learning about the gorilla habits, and taking photos.
Birding: Travelers flying to Bwindi by air can be part of the birding activities in the park. The park contains over 350 birds of which some are endemic to the Albertine region and the park itself. Birding is one of the interesting and breathtaking activities carried out in Bwindi gorilla park using different trails such as bamboo zone trail, ivy river trail, Buhoma waterfall trails, and Mubwindi swamp trail among others.
Birds to look out for in Bwindi include pink-backed pelican, brown snake eagle, hadada ibis, black kite, cattle egret, hottentot teal, scared ibis, lizard buzzard, wooly necked stork, shikra, little sparrow hawk, African crowned eagle, bat hawk, African jacana, and black crake among others.
Batwa cultural experience: A visit to the Batwa community is one of the activities travelers who fly to Bwindi don’t miss out. The Batwa cultural experience involves visiting the communities of the Batwa people that live around the park boundaries. A visit to the Batwa community is led by the local guides who first take you around the boundaries of the park showing you how these people used to survive in the jungle gathering fruits, collecting honey, and killing small animals for meat. The tour will tell you to traditional healers who will teach you how plants are used are local herbs, you will visit different homes and be part of their day to day activities, you will visit gift shops and at the end, you will be entertained by the traditional dancers.
Nature walks: The nature walks in Bwindi can be done during the free times at the lodge where you can walk around the lodge or join other people to explore the national park on foot. The nature walks in Bwindi are done using different trails of the park and are led by armed ranger guides. Nature walks give you an opportunity to explore that national park slowly with opportunities of meeting animals such as elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, buffaloes, baboons, monkeys, birds, and different plants.