Kigezi Highlands

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a 331square kilometers tropical rain forest in south western Uganda. It is shared by Ugandan districts mainly Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri districts and was gazetted as a national park in 1991.

Gorilla tracking is the major adventure activity that is done in this forest. The mountain gorillas are a popular attraction because of their close relation with human beings that are interesting to watch and research about. The national park experiences annual temperatures of about of about 8-20 degrees census which favor most especially gorillas with a number of them living in highland areas of Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri looking for food and are characterized by feeding on the montane type of trees.

The Bwindi Forest national park hosts more than half of the entire population (480 mountain gorillas in Bwindi alone) of the gorillas which are slightly over 1050 gorillas in the world in countries Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda etc which calls for a massive touring of these primates by mainly the foreign tourists in this region of east Africa. These apes cannot be kept in zoos because of their size and strength that can break the cages of steel within a minute endangering the lives of the tourists in particular as the male primates are 10 times much stronger than the best boxing man in the world. It is for this reason that they need to eat a lot of food which cannot be given in the zoos compared to the free food in the Bwindi forests. As the name suggests(mountain Gorillas) gorilla tracking is done in mountainous places of Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri.

There are number of mountain gorilla families that are situated within the impenetrable forest and these include Nshongi, Kahunge, busiingye, Mishaya, bweza, Mubare consisting of 16 members, Habinyanja consisting of 23 members etc. some of these gorillas are hard to find as some groups are few in number like the Mubare which pulls in much effort to track these particular primates when required by a tourist to see them almost the all day.

Just a few years back, gorilla tourism was pioneered in not only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park but also Mgahinga national park, Uganda’s second gorilla park that protect the mountain gorillas.  Uganda’s gorilla parks faced problems of poaching by foreign tourists who had the tension of getting something out of them. This entitled the government of Uganda to set up an independent body concerned about the presentation of poaching in Uganda called Uganda tourism board which greatly put up strict measures and laws of touring these so called related human animals (the Gorillas)and also the other problem was diseases that were attacking these primates which forced the tourism board to stand up  and bring doctors from outside countries to treat them.

Meanwhile, there are various periods that are sweet-able for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest. Starting from June to September and from December to mid February are the best months to do this activity because  they tend to be dry. First in the dry season, the roads towards the national park are dry making the movements of tourists by a car or van either within or outside the park more easier to do and secondly, gorillas tend not to move a lot because food in the dry season is few  compared to the wet seasons of March, April, May were food is plenty increasing the movements of Gorillas in the park thus making the safari more harder to finish although there is no specific period of the year to visit this amazing mountain Gorillas.

Furthermore gorilla permits in the dry season tend to be expensive about US$700 because tourists come in plenty than in wet season were permits are as low as US$400. Some of the money that is corrected from the sale of mountain gorilla permits is donated or even funded to the communities around the national park for development like building roads and schools near the national park.

For one to do this activity, one is required to have some of the safari requirements that include wearing proper foot wear shoes that are above the ankle in cases of the rainy seasons to prevent water from entering the boots making the safari activity more easier to do and comfortable to words the tourists. Other requirements are having a camera for photographing the primates, rain coats, packed food and water just in case the activity takes long to do especially from morning to evening.

Where to Stay in Bwindi Forest

Lastly, there are number of lodges and some hotels that are located either within or outside the national park with various rates of accommodations ranging from budget, mid range to luxurious accommodations. These include Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp etc.  Bookings at these lodges are mostly done on behalf of the tourists by touring companies. To get an early booking without interfering with the issued bookings, one is required to book three months before his safari begins or starts.

Choosing your gorilla trekking safari accommodation should depend on the gorilla group or family you to trek. Remember, Bwindi forest has four sectors each with different gorilla families and accommodations. Therefore, you need to check your gorilla permit details before booking any accommodation. If your permit is for Buhoma, book Buhoma lodges and campsites, if Ruhija still book Ruhija lodges and campsites and same applies to Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla permits. Would advise you to book only one night accommodation so that in case you want to transfer to another destination after the trek, its flexible.


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