Top Tourist Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The top tourist activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda include gorilla trekking tours plus a variety of other things to do in the forest. Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla National Park are the only two tourist destinations where to visit and see the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda. Besides gorilla trekking, Bwindi National Park has got a variety of things to do that visitors can do before or after the fundamental gorilla tour activities. The tourist activities in Bwindi depend on the gorilla trekking region where one is visiting to trek gorillas. Bwindi is divided into four gorilla trekking regions including Buhoma sector in the north of the park and Ruhija Gorilla Sector in the eastern side of the forest. Rushaga Sector and Nkuringo gorilla trekking areas are found in the south of the park. Each region is endowed with attractions that may differ from the other and hence the activities vary accordingly.
Bwindi National Park is a UNESCO’s World Heritage site and a safari tour to Uganda is incomplete without a visit to the thick vast forest. The park is 331 square kilometers that translates to 128 square miles comprising of mountain and lowland vegetation. The top things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable national park are many and one requires about a week to fully explore the park to his safari holiday satisfaction. Bwindi activities include gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation experience, nature tours, forest walks and bird watching. Other things to do are community visits, Batwa cultural experience, mountain biking, professional photographing and filming, Lake Mutanda tour, Forest Walks to the waterfalls among others.
Things to Do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla Trekking is Top on the Things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda
Gorilla trekking is first on the list of the top tourist activities to do in Bwindi Forest National Park. Gorilla tours attract tourists from all walks of the globe. A good percentage of tourists who visit Uganda, go gorilla trekking mainly in Bwindi because of its many gorilla families. Trekking mountain gorillas requires a gorilla permit which is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. On the trekking day, the park assigns Wildlife Rangers and guides to lead visitors into the park to see gorillas after a thorough pre-trekking briefing at the park offices. The permit every needs to present is at USD 600 for foreign nonresidents. It is advisable to make a permit booking early in advance since due to high demand by other prospective tourists to Uganda. When coming booking a gorilla safari to Bwindi, you may choose to do other activities before or after the adventure depending on your available time. Find more information about buying a gorilla permit in Uganda, available options for gorilla tours in Uganda plus the preparations for a safari.
Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla habituation experience is second to gorilla trekking among the activities in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Gorilla habituation experience is only done in Rushaga sector found in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park. With this experience, only 4 people are allowed to visit a particular gorilla family assigned for the purpose and visitors are granted 4 hours to be the gorillas. Uganda Wildlife Authority set aside 2 gorilla families for this experience. During the habituation process, visitors hike through the forest with researchers, gathering data as they ask more about mountain gorillas. Read more about gorilla habituation experience plus the safari to see gorillas under this exercise.
Bird Watching Tours
Bird watching is also an activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi forest is a birder’s haven and visitors interested in seeing birds should ask for this activity to be done independently or as a supplementary to gorilla trekking. The forest is habitat for around 350 bird species, 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift and the 14 are found nowhere else in Uganda. Bwindi birds include the Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Evergreen Warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Cardinal Woodpecker. The list has Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Collared Sunbird, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, Coppery Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Tiny Sunbird plus the Green-throated Sunbird.
The Grey Apalis, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, Grey-headed Negro Finch, White-breasted Negro Finch and the Grey-headed Sparrow will be possibly be spotted. Other species include the Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Dusky Tit, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Great Blue Turaco and Greater Blue-eared Starling among others. Green Crombec, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Green Hylia, Green-headed Sunbird, Klass’ Cuckoo, and many more also have Bwindi forest as their home. During the trekking within the forest, chances of seeing the different bird species are high.
Batwa Cultural Experience
Batwa Cultural Experience is also among the top activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Batwa are believed to be the first people to live in Uganda, used to dwell in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and other tropical forests before they faced evicted from by government in a bid to conserve the forests. When you decide to do this cultural experience, the Batwa people will lead you on a trek through forest with themselves as guides. These people will share with you about their lifestyles including their long ago ways of life. The Batwa used to survive on hunting as well as using plants as medicine. They also teach how to make fire in a traditional way. Their composed songs and traditional dances plus the hunting skills are worth listening to and watching.
Forest Walks to the Waterfalls in Bwindi
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest visitors may go for guided nature walks to the astonishingly fine-looking waterfalls. These forest walks that start from Buhoma gate are guided by the park ranger of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The Munyaga River trail will take you to the most attractive waterfalls deep into the jungle. During the walk to the waterfalls, expect to enjoy the plant life as well as animals like monkeys including the black and white colobus monkey at close range. This hike is usually 3 to 4 hours to and from the falls. And when the rain finds you in the forest, the experience becomes more enjoyable as you are all bathed for some good time. That’s why, carrying a rain coat and a waterproof bag for the safety of any electronics likes cameras and phones plus watches is very vital. Rain in the thick Bwindi Impenetrable forest is very unpredictable. During the walk, birds are visibly seen on trees as well as the colorful butterflies flying at a low range on underground vegetation. An estimated 200 butterfly species are recorded in Bwindi. In case you are visiting the park and staying in the Southern Sector, your waterfall trail starts from Rushaga gate.
Community Walks around Buhoma Village
Community walks around Buhoma village last about 3 hours, taking you through the village as you learn the ways and cultures of the people in an area found in the north of Bwindi Impenetrable forest. The walk is guided by a local guide who takes you through highlights of the areas including a visit to a school, hospital, a traditional healer and local wine making process. As you walk in the community, you are in fact supporting the local people financially since these treks are for a fee.
Hiking from Nkuringo to Buhoma or Buhoma to Nkuringo
Tourists visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can take a guided walk from Nkuringo to Buhoma or Buhoma to Nkuringo via the forest. The trek offers a lot to admire on the way including beautiful plants, birds, terrain and nice weather. During the 6-hour walk, you will spot several bird species and learn more about Bwindi forest. Your safari driver will use the road network to transfer your luggage to the lodge.
Mountain Biking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain Biking is another tourist activity in Bwindi Impenetrable forest is best enjoyed in Buhoma area in the north of the park. Biking tours are organized by a local organization, Ride 4 a Woman. This is a community support group that offers mountain bike rentals and guided bikes in and around Bwindi National park. The biking guides are professionally knowledgeable in birds and culture plus everything one may need to learn about Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The biking takes about 3 hours or longer depending on the riders’ choices. While biking in Bwindi, you may ride into the forest on Ivy River Trail. In other sections of the park, some lodges offer biking as an activity. In case you have interest in biking as a complementary activity when you visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking, kindly specify it and we make the necessary arrangements on the ground by choosing for the ideal place for biking.
Professional Photography and filming in Bwindi
Travelers who need to undertake professional photography and filming of mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest express the need to us while make an inquiry. This is necessary for us to include it in the trips costs and safari preparations. Professional filming necessitates special procedures to be followed as well costing to be considered. However, the park does not charge on personal filming of gorillas or other scenes with a personal video, digital or Single-Lens Reflex Camera (SLR).
Mutanda Lake Tour
Mutanda Lake is an attractive lake found in the Southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The lake with its several islands is toured on a dugout canoe boat operated by a knowledge guide. You may choose to go on a morning cruise visiting the various islands with different historical profiles. Expect to stop by the punishment islands where the remains of people who used to fornicate are vividly there up to today. You may visit the local communities including the church across the lake. A relaxed sunset boar cruise is another thrilling adventure.