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Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park [BINP] is located in kanungu district south western Uganda. Bwindi national park which is part of the Bwindi impenetrable forest lies on the edge of the rift valley. The park is situated along the Democratic republic of Congo [DRC] and it is composed of 331sqm of montane and lowland forest .BINP that was established in 1991 is also a home of 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of  butterflies,27  species of  frogs, chameleons and many others.

ACCESS:

  • Kampala through mbarara- 6 to 8 hours drive
  • Through kabale to the south of bwindi-1 to 2 hours
  • Through QENP -2 to 3 hours drive
  • By air- book a flight from Entebbe airport to kisoro airstrip
  • Chartered planes also go to kihihi and kayonza

GORILLAS:

The gorilla which is the largest of the great apes family also includes chimpanzee and can be divided in three subspecies which include;

  • Western lowland gorilla [gorilla gorilla gorilla], about 50000 western gorilla are found in west central Africa
  • Eastern lowland gorilla [gorilla gorilla graueri], about 25000 live in the wild of the eastern Congolese rainforest
  • Mountain gorillas [gorilla gorilla beringei], about 720 remaining live in the afro montane forests in north west Rwanda, southwest Uganda, and eastern DRC

Mountain gorillas belong to mammalian class and they differ from other gorillas, they are larger, have longer and thicker hair, larger jaws and teeth with shorter arms. Its scientific name is gorilla beringei beringei

HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILIES IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK:

BINP accommodates the largest groups of gorilla families in Uganda about 13 habituated families of mountain gorillas the next home of gorillas being mgahinga national park that only accommodates the nyakagezi family however this group sometimes migrates across the borders of Rwanda and DRC which makes it less popular to the visitors as they prefer visiting the other families in BINP. There are regions of Rushaga, Ruhiija, Buhoma and Nkuringo in BINP where you can find specific groups of mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are undoubtedly the highlight of a trip to Uganda.

RUSHAGA REGION;

  • Mishaya group; it has 12 members with 1 silver back, following dispute mishaya family split from the biggest Nshongi gorilla family but they still live in the same region.
  • Nshongi group; this is the largest group of mountain gorillas in Uganda. It has 25 members under the leadership of 2 silver backs. Formerly mishaya and nshongi stayed together

              RUHIJA REGION;

  • Bitukura group; being the most recent group tourists find it the most attractive group in the region. It has 13 members with four silver backs and this makes it unique from the rest of the groups. There is restricted lodging in this area with an exception of the few high class lodges that are a bit expensive.

NKURINGO REGION;

  • Nkuringo group; this is among the most challenging hikes in Uganda but the most pleasing that you would not want to miss. It comprises of 18 members with 2 silver backs. The accommodations around this area offer a breath taking experience.

BUHOMA REGION;

  • Rushegura family; it comprises of 20 members with 1 silverback. It is the biggest group around buhoma area that was habituated in 2000.
  • Habinyanja group; this comprises of 20 members with 2 silver backs. It was habituated in 1997 and formerly it was a big group with the current Rushegura family however these two groups still coexist peacefully.
  • Mubare group; commonly known as M-group was the very first group to be habituated in 1991. It is the smallest gorilla family in Bwindi with 6 members under the leadership of 1 silver back.
  • Oruzogo family; it has 16 members under the leadership of 1 silver back Tibirikwita”. It is located in Ruhija-Buhoma area and it is among the most recent habituated groups for gorilla trekking.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN BWINDI:

  1. Bird watching; a walk in this rain forest, waterfall trail and around the mubwindi swamp where the park derives its name Bwindi will definitely give you a rare chance to watch over 350 species of birds including albertine endemic species of birds, a Uganda’s national bird- crested crane, northern collared, sunbird, the Shelly’s crimson wing, African green broad bill and many others are available to see while on your trip and this makes it Africa’s leading birding haven.

2. Water fall trail/ forest walk;

A walk in the forest covered with the morning mist while on munyaga river trail through buhoma makes the adventure a truly rewarding experience. The sights and sounds of beautiful flora and fauna, the blue monkeys, the orchids, white colobus monkeys will definitely beautify your adventure the more. Another water fall trail can be taken through Rushaga.

  1. The beauty of ankole long-horned cows;

You will not miss these treasured long- horned cows while on a road trip to any of the 4 gates to Bwindi. They are such a beauty to look at and the ankole pride.

  1. Spectacular views of virunga volcanoes;

The towering volcanoes of muhavura, Gahinga and sabyinyo dominate the beautiful landscape of kigezi region. They cannot be missed while on a trip to buhoma.

  1. A boat cruise on lake Bunyonyi;

Lake Bunyonyi has about 29 islands each with its unique features. This lava dammed lake shouldn’t miss on your itinerary while planning a trip to BINP.

  1. Cultural trail; This can be done with the forest walk, along the way you will meet the very warm and friendly local people who will help you experience their traditional ways of life for instance their farming activities and so much more, crafts shops are also found at all the gates of the park.

ACCOMMODATION;

  • Bwindi guest house
  • Clouds hotel
  • Gorilla friends lodge
  • Sanctuary gorilla forest camp
  • Buhoma community rest camp

PARK ENTRANCE RATES [Uganda Wildlife Authority]:

  • Students- 3000UGX
  • Foreign non residents- USD 40
  • Foreign residents-USD 30
  • Permits for gorilla trekking [Nationals] – 250,000UGX
  • Permits for gorilla tracking[ Foreigners]- USD 600

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