Gorilla tracking ranks as the one of the climax of the Safari while in Uganda because you enjoy these apes since they are the closest human species in the world. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park is found in Southwestern corner of Uganda occupying an area of 321sq. km and is divided into four major Gorilla Regions Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo region.
These regions include
- Buhoma Region was the first to be seen and mostly known by tourists. Gorilla families in this region include Mubare, Rushegura and Habinyanja
- Rushaga Region lies in between Kabale and Nkuringo and it’s the only one with many number of gorilla families like Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye and Busingye.
- Ruhija Region is commonly known for its variety of birdlife species on the Mubwindi Swamp. Ruhija, Bitukura and Kyaguriro are the only gorilla families in this region
- Nkuringo region which is just 10km from Buhoma and this distance is covered by the Impenetrable Forest. While on forest Walk it takes for about 4 hours and by a vehicle it takes about 7-8 hours, Nkuringo Family is the only family found in this region.
On the day of tracking Gorillas, taking an early breakfast then crowd on the park headquarters to get a brief talk on how you are going to penetrate through the jungle. You will then be distributed into groups of 8 members and each assigned to track a specific gorilla family deep into the forest. While entering the jungle you will be accompanied by a park ranger following the routes where the gorilla family was last seen the prior day. At times you may walk for about 1-2 hours and as long as 5-7 hours passing through the forest. When you see that gorilla family you are allowed to remain silent, move slowly and stay 7 meters away so that you can interact with them, see them, take photos and videos in peace, the cameras should not have flash lights and sound. All this done in only one hour for conservation purposes. On coming back from the thick dense forest you will receive certificates for having tracked a gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in any of the regions mentioned above.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is accessible both by air from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi morning and afternoon flights and Kisoro always in the afternoon but when moving by road there are many alternatives depending on the choice of your guide driver passing through the green vegetation of Uganda both on marram and tarmac roads.
ACTIVITIES DONE IN BWINDI?
The main activity done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Tracking Gorillas and is done with availability of a gorilla permit bought via the travel agency of FRIENDS NATURE SAFARIS, there is Birding, seeing other primates, Guided Nature Walk in the forest and Batwa Trail which is an interesting and unique culture of the pygmies found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with many telling stories, since these people lived in harmony with Mountain Gorillas before they were chased away from the forest when it became a national park and world heritage site.
TIME TO VISIT?
Since Bwindi is located in the Equatorial Forest you can visit at any time throughout the year because it receives rain in every after an hour and also the climatic changes but the best month would be June to September then December to February because they are dry seasons thus making easy accessibility.
WHAT TO PACK AND EXPECT?
When going for a gorilla tracking activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with high percentage expect to see a gorilla in any of the gorilla family mentioned earlier with a company of a park ranger, mud, matted vegetation, stinging nestles, walking for longer distances and rain over head.
When you find a gorilla family you are allowed to spend only one hour interacting.
WHERE TO STAY?
During this activity you can always have overnight in the precious lodges around from luxury to mid-range and Budget. Among luxury are the Cloud Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Mahogany springs, Silverback lodge Midrange and Budget include Nshongi Gorilla Resort and Buhoma Community Bandas respectively.