Located amidst magnificent volcanic highlands in the extreme Southwest tip of Uganda bordering Rwanda and DR Congo,in the virungas, that are home to 800+ mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden Monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, forest elephants and buffalo. This forested park is believed to have survived the ice age and is home to more than half the world’s mountain gorillas(480+). It is set in the midst of the Albertine rift valley. It harbours very rare vegetation, 346 bird species, with several Albertine rift endemics.
This forest and its habitats are under a lot of human population pressure, therefore, a lot of conservation measures are done to preserve and protect, this pristine ecology.
Gorilla Tracking is the highlight activity not only in this park, but also in Uganda. Uganda has several tracking trail heads in Buhoma, 3 habituated groups, Ruhija also 3 habituated groups, Rushaga with 5 habituated groups and Nkuringo. Each group is tracked by 8 tourist per day.
This national park was home to hominids, the forest pygmies,known as the Batwa, who entirely depended on this park for their livelihood, as hunters and gatherers. when the park was gazetted these people were evicted and put in communities, which resemble internally displaced camps, from where the government looks after them, and partially allows them to access the forest in a controlled way. The later migrants in this region, bakiga and banyarwanda, cultivators live all around the park.
This region is the most densely populated areas not only in the Albertine rift valley but in East Africa, save for urban and semi urban centers. They practice subsistence agriculture, clearing forested land so intensely to plant food crops, this has led to the rise in wildlife human conflicts as is the case in most, tropical rain forests elsewhere in the world and other protected areas. Where wildlife resorts to crop raiding, while the populace spend valuable time guarding shambas and fighting off wildlife. This has drastic social implications and problems one can come face to face when you engage in community exploration.
The sad story is that mountain gorillas can not survive anywhere outside this environment, which is unfortunately facing a lot of human degradation, due to population pressure.
Uganda wildlife Authority(UWA) has been mandated for the protection and conservation of the mountain gorillas and their habitat, work with several conservation partners to mitigate, the mountain gorilla and its habitat from extinction.
The biggest source is the tourist income, and donations from several development and conservation agencies.
Apart from gorilla tracking, there are other several activities a tourist can do in Bwindi and the adjacent areas, bird watching(this area is a haven of so many albertine endemics), relaxing forest walks, with immense sights and views, community and cultural explorations.
Evening performances by local communities around Buhoma is worthwhile activity, to see, or cultural village walks to meet and interact with the local communities are optional activities to be done. Or you can opt to just relax at your wild lodge amidst African jungle, enriching your bird list.
There is a wide range of accommodation clients can choose to stay: Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Resort, volcanoes gorilla lodge , Buhoma Homestead, Ruhija gorilla lodge, Mahogany springs, Mantana tented camp, and Clouds mountain lodge in Nkuringo(high end luxury lodges). Lake Kitandara Tented Nkuringo gorilla camp, Chameleon hill, Rushaga gorilla camp, Bwindi view, Buhoma community camp ( budget accommodation). There are several basic camps around bwindi that offer basic accommodation to all clientele. Most of these are comfortable African style accommodation customized to meet required tourist standards. So booking a safari to go and track the gentle mountain gorillas(which are the largest primates/apes in the world), is not only a worthwhile activity, but is also a life changing satisfying one you should not miss. If the cost of buying the gorilla permit is way too much contact us for other alternative activities, that can help in conserving the mountain gorillas.
Below is a 3 day itinerary to the land of the gentle giants in the mist.
Note: you can fly to this park or enjoy a road trip and enjoy more of our nation.
The road safari begins in Kampala or Entebbe, Our guide/driver picks you at 8:00 am from your hotel or residence. Drive to Mbarara via Masaka (283 km from Kampala). Make a first stop over at Equator crossing for snacks and photography.
Lunch will be in Mbarara at Igongo cultural center. After lunch, drive to Bwindi. This is a long drive though very scenic, weather conditions,your accommodation choice and family group to track, determine where you will pass. Dinner and overnight will be,in Bwindi.
Begin the day with breakfast ready for tracking, which begins at 8:00 a.m with a briefing from the UWA staff. Ensure to carry along with you rain jacket, drinking water, Packed lunch, good hiking shoes, most of all your camera with its flash not functional.
Tracking the rare Mountain Gorilla, is one of the most exciting wildlife experiences on earth. The tracking may take between 2 and 6 hours but it’s well worth the effort. Dinner and overnight will be at your previous night’s stay, unless you opt for extra activities that may require you to change accommodation.
Return to Kampala, and Entebbe, with lunch enroute and stop over at Equator Uganda before your evening departures home.
“We highly recommend clients to participate in our 3 day gorilla express active safari; as the money you pay is used for conserving the endangered primates and to support the local communities surrounding the park”.
The safari package to include:
Transportation by a 4wd vehicle
Full board accommodation
One Gorilla permit per person to be secured and paid for well in advance
English speaking professional Driver/guide.
The package excludes expenses of personal nature like: Visa, drinks, laundry, tips to local guides, telephone, porter fee while trekking, personal insurance, and tobacco.
Mid Range ‘$1,500p/p