Walking safaris in Bwindi
Walking safaris in Bwindi: Gorilla trekking is the main activity in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park but the park has more to offer. Walking safaris in Bwindi are some of the most rewarding adventures in the thick tropical forest after gorilla trekking. Walking safaris give you an opportunity of exploring the park on foot and encounter most of the park’s attractions which include animals, birds, plants, and rivers.
There are so many nature walking trails in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and these are located in different regions of the park. Some of the popular walking trails in Bwindi include kashasha river trail, mubwindi swamp trail, river ivy trail, muzabajiro trail, baboo trial, Munyanga trail, ruizi trail, buhoma-nkuringo trail, rushura trail, habinyanja trail and the waterfall trail among others.
Walking safaris experience in Bwindi
Just like any gorilla trekking, hiking and nature walks in Bwindi Gorilla park start with a briefing where participants are taught about the rules and regulations of the activity. Armed ranger guides lead the tourists throughout the trail and their role is to protect them from dangerous wild animals as well as show them different park attractions which include wildlife, birds, plants, and water sources.
Each trail in Bwindi has its own time it can be completed and the period taken depends on the season you have visited the park. During the dry season, going through the trails is faster and takes less time because the trails are dry and in the rainy season, it takes more than the estimated time because of rainfall that makes the trails muddy and slippery.
As gorilla trekking, during the nature walks in Bwindi, tourists are able to come across animals such as buffaloes, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, bushpigs, duikers, giant forest hogs, elephants, otters, jackals, civets, chimpanzees, and if lucky mountain gorillas among others. Bird lovers are able to spot different bird species if they used the birding trails such as river ivy trail, mubwindi swamp trail, and bamboo zone trail among others.
Some of the birds you should expect to see include black kite, bat hawk, African jacana, grey crowned crane, black bee-eater, great blue turaco, brown snake eagle, handsome francolin, red knobbed coot, common cuckoo, olive pigeon, ross turaco, scared apalis, blue-headed coucal, lesser honey guide, barn swallow, grey wagtail, forest robin, olive thrush, wood warbler, Rwenzori batis, and brown-throated wattle eye among others.
Packing list for walking safaris in Bwindi
The packing list for those heading to Bwindi for walking safaris should include long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, light backpack, insect repellents, a rain jacket, a sweater, a hat, sunscreen, drinking water bottle, energy giving snacks, a camera and a pair of binoculars among others.
Best time to have walking safaris in Bwindi
Walking safaris in Bwindi can be done at any time of the year however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best to have walking safaris in Bwindi and they happen from June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the walking trails stay dry, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the wildlife and birds, and the roads connecting to the park are in good condition.
Travelers can still visit Bwindi gorilla park for walking safaris in the rainy season of March to May and October to November and this favors the budget travelers who enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. Tourists should know that during the rainy season, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the park animals and the roads connecting to the park are in poor conditions.
Where to stay on walking safaris in Bwindi
Travelers that are visiting Bwindi for walking safaris have a lot of accommodation where they can stay depending on the region they are visiting. Travelers are advised to book accommodation in the sectors where they are visiting so that they keep time for activities. Each sector of Bwindi has its accommodation ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options as seen below.
Rushaga sector accommodation
Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Wagtail Eco Safari Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, and Rushaga Gorilla Resort among others.
Ruhija sector accommodation
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Bakiga Lodge, Agandi Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Ecomarvels Gorilla Lodge, and Cuckoo Land Tented Lodge among others
Nkuringo sector accommodation
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Virunga Campsite, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Nshongi Camp, and Mutanda Eco Community Centre among others.
Buhoma sector accommodation
Buhoma Lodge, Haven Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Buhoma Rest Camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Bwindi Forest Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, and Ride 4 Women Guest House among others.
Accessing Bwindi for walking safaris
Tourists can access Bwindi for nature walks by using road transport or by using air transport. Travelers that want to travel in a luxury style or those that hate traveling for long distances can fly to the park by booking seats with airline companies such as Bar Aviation Uganda, Aerolink Uganda, and Fly Uganda. Flights start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip when visiting Buhoma or Kisoro airstrip when visiting Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo sectors.
Travelers can access Bwindi in a day using road transport from Kigali or Kampala. Kigali to Bwindi takes 4-5 hours using Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro while Kampala to Bwindi takes 9-10 hours from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro or Kanungu to any of the sectors of the park.