Wildlife in Bwindi gorilla park
Bwindi gorilla park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda, one of the places with abundant wildlife. Gazetted in 1991, the park is home to over 600 mountain gorillas which implies it hosts more than half of the mountain gorilla population in the world. Bwindi national park is home to 120 mammal species, 11 primates, 350 bird species, 220 butterflies, 27 amphibians, and 51 reptile species.
Bwindi gorilla park wildlife
Mountain gorillas: Bwindi gorilla park is home to more than 600 mountain gorillas which makes it the national park with the highest population of mountain gorillas in the world. Mountain gorillas of Bwindi gorilla park live in the 4 sectors of the park – Nkuringo, Ruhija, Buhoma, and Rushaga. Not only mountain gorillas in Bwindi gorilla park have been habituated for tourism activities. Only 19 mountain gorillas families have been so far habituated in Bwindi gorilla park and 2 are still undergoing habituation.
Other primates: Bwindi gorilla park harbors ten primate species that live in the thick tropical forests. These primates are not habituated but can be seen during mountain gorilla trekking, birding, hiking and nature walks. The primates that live in Bwindi gorilla park are black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys, golden monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, pottos, demidoff’s galago, and spectacled galago.
Mammals: Bwindi gorilla park is home to about 120 mammal species that live in the thick forests of the park. Bwindi is the second national park to be with a lot of mammal wildlife species after Queen Elizabeth national park in western Uganda. Some of the common mammals in Bwindi gorilla park include elephants, civet, side-stripped jackal, bush pigs, buffaloes, clawless otter, giant forest hogs, yellow-backed duiker, black-fronted duiker, and bats.
Birds: There are 350 bird species in Bwindi gorilla park making it one of the best birding destinations in the country. 23 of these birds are endemic to the Albertine region while 14 can only be found in Bwindi gorilla park alone. Some of the bird species in Bwindi gorilla park include African green broadbill, shelley’s crimsongwing, grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori nightjar, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Kivu ground thrush, white-tailed blue flycatcher, African emerald cuckoo, short-tailed warbler, strip breasted tit, archers robin char, giant kingfisher, common bulbul, black bee-eater, and grey cuckoo-shrike to mention but a few.
Things to do in Bwindi gorilla park
: Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation are the most done activities in Bwindi gorilla park. The park has 19 gorilla families up for trekking in the four sectors of the park and 2 gorilla families for habituation Rushaga and Nkuringo. To encounter primates of Bwindi gorilla park, you must have a gorilla trekking permit or gorilla habituation permit which are got from the Uganda Wildlife Authority using a local tour operator.
Primate watching in Bwindi gorilla park starts early morning at 8 am at the park headquarters where trekkers are expected to gather for a briefing from the park wardens. During the briefing, the trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of trekking activity. Gorilla trekking is done by a group of 8 people while gorilla habituation is done by 4 people accompanied by conservationists, researchers, and armed ranger guides.
Armed ranger guides lead the trekking activities in Bwindi gorilla park by taking the trekkers through different trails of the park. There are chances of meeting different park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation. Gorilla trekking takes 2-7 hours to locate the mountain gorillas but after finding the family you have been looking for, the rangers give trekkers 1 hour to be around the apes in case it’s gorilla trekking and 4 hours for those doing gorilla habituation.
Birding in Bwindi gorilla park: Birding is the second done activity in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the fact that it’s one of the best birding destinations. There are 350 bird species that can be seen using some of the best birding trails in Buhoma and Ruhija sector. Birding activities in Bwindi gorilla park are done through the bamboo zone trail, Buhoma waterfall trail and Mubwindi swamp trail.
Birds that are commonly seen in Bwindi include African olive-pigeon, petit’s cuckoo-shrike, African hill babbler, African citril, Rwenzori batis, blue-spotted wood dove, luhder’s bush-shrike, magpie manikin, tambourine dove, cassin’s flycatcher, African golden breasted bunting, oriole finch, ansorge’s greenbul, white-throated greenbul, grey wagtail, snowy-crowned robin-chat, olive-breasted greenbul, cape wagtail, dusky twin spot, mountain wagtail, giant kingfisher, and yellow-fronted canary.
Other bird species in Bwindi forest are helmeted guinea fowl, green combec, elliot’s woodpecker, doherty’s bush-shrike, African pygmy kingfisher, Eurasian hobby, white spotted fluff tail, afed pigeon, short-tailed warbler, marsh tchagra, copper sunbird, palm nut vulture, papyrus canary, tit hylia, buff spotted woodpecker, sooty falcon, ayres hawk-eagle, dwarf honeyguide, black crake, buff spotted fluff tail, brown chested alethe, green hylia, western green tinkerbird, and fine banded woodpecker.
Nature walks in Bwindi gorilla park: Nature walks in Bwindi gorilla park ate the best way to explore the attractions of the park. Bwindi gorilla park has different nature walk trails which tourists use to explore the park led by armed ranger guides. Some of the nature walk trails in Bwindi gorilla park include Buhoma bamboo trail, ivy river trail, Munyaga waterfall trail, Muzabajiro loop trail, and Mubwindi swamp trail among others.
The nature walk trails give travelers an opportunity to encounter park animals such as chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and different plant species.
Best time to visit Bwindi gorilla park
Bwindi gorilla park can be visited at any time of the year but there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months which occur from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Bwindi gorilla park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall that keeps the trekking trails dry, the vegetation is thin with clear views of the park animals, and the roads accessing the park are passable.
Tourists can still access Bwindi gorilla park in the rainy months of March to May and October to November if they want to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. However, travelers need to know that during 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 passable.