Gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season is what most travelers prefer. For any traveler intending to visit Bwindi, it’s very important to know the best gorilla trekking season. The high season is the best time of the year when you meet thousands of tourists in the park, the gorilla permits, and accommodation sells out. The high season is also referred to as the dry season because it is characterized by little or no rainfall. We cannot say Bwindi doesn’t receive any rainfall in the dry months, it does because the park comprises tropical rainfall forests which means any time of the day it can rain.
Bwindi has two seasons for gorilla trekking and these are the low season and the high season. The high season is the one where a huge number of travelers visit the park because it’s said to be the best time to encounter mountain gorillas. The high season occurs in the months of June, July, August, September, December January, and February. During these months, there is little or no rainfall around the park.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is an activity that most of the people visiting the park do. It’s said to be a once in a life activity where travelers get an opportunity to visit the national park and encounter mountain gorillas for 1 or 4 hours. Bwindi has more than half of the mountain gorilla population living in four sectors of the park. The mountain gorillas of Bwindi live in Nkuringo region which is found in the south, Ruhija in the east, Buhoma in the north, and Rushaga in the south.
Why Gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season
The high season is the best time to trek gorillas in Bwindi and one of the reasons is that there is little or no rainfall. Because of little or no rainfall in the region, the park is normally dry and so travelers will get out of the jungle the way they went because the vegetation is not wet. In the dry season, the trekking trails are always dry except when it rains making trekking less strenuous. The trails are not muddy and less slippery and this doesn’t affect the speed of trekkers.
When there is sunshine in the park during the dry season, the vegetation tends to dry up, become short and thin. This helps the trekkers to have a clear view of the mountain gorillas as well as other park animals. When the vegetation is giving clear views of the mountain gorillas, photography becomes clear because the photographer will be having all the best angles to take photos.
Driving to and inside Bwindi national park during the dry season (high season) is much easier compared to the wet season. During the high season, the roads are dry and passable although dusty and this allows easy transportation of people.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season has just one disadvantage and this about money. During the high season, everything turns out to be expensive when it comes to service providers. The transport service providers raise the prices of hiring because they know there are so many customers around. The accommodation is also expensive compared to the low season when they reduce to attract the few tourists to the park hence making the whole gorilla trekking activity expensive in the high season.
How much is gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season
Gorilla trekking permit prices don’t change whether it’s the high season or low season. A traveler will still buy the normal gorilla trekking permits at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. Travelers that want to spend more time with mountain gorillas can purchase gorilla habituation permits that go for $1500 for $1500 foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and UCX750,000 citizens of East Africa.
If you are a traveler out there intending to gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season then you should consider booking everything in advance. The gorilla trekking permit is one that you should book very first and this can be done by using a local tour operator or direct from Uganda Wildlife Authority. During the high season, the permits tend to sell out quickly because there are a lot of travelers intending to visit the park and therefore plan to book earlier in advance of 3-4 months. Early booking of accommodation is also advised in case you want to stay at an accommodation of your choice with good facilities based on your travel budget.
What to pack for gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season?
Travelers trekking gorillas in Bwindi in the high season should pack items such as a camera, a pair of binoculars, light backpack, insect repellent, sanitizer, first aid kit, drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, long cotton stocks, waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, long-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved pants, a hat, and sunscreen among others.
Where to stay in Bwindi
There are a lot of accommodation facilities in Bwindi gorilla park where travelers can stay while on their safari. These accommodation facilities do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and where to stay depends on your budget. Travelers coming for gorilla trekking in Bwindi during the high season are advised to book these accommodations in advance to avoid missing lodges of their choices since they get booked quickly.
Accommodation 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.
Accommodation 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.
Accommodation 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
Accommodation 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.
Bwindi can be accessed for gorilla trekking in the high season using road transport or air transport. The quickest way to get to Bwindi in 1-2 hours is by using air transport. Different airline companies conduct flights to Bwindi gorilla park and these include Bar Aviation Uganda, Fly Uganda, and AeroLink Uganda. The flights to Bwindi gorilla park start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airstrip and head to Kihihi airstrip for those visiting the Buhoma region while Kisoro airstrip is used by those that are visiting Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhija region.
Travelers can also access Bwindi for gorilla trekking in the high season using road transport from Kampala or Kigali. Travelers from Kigali can access Bwindi gorilla park in 3-4 hours by crossing to Uganda using Katuna border in Kabale and Cyanika birder in Kisoro. Travelers from Kampala can drive via Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale and Kisoro/Kanungu. Travelers can also get to Bwindi using Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kihihi and buhoma.