A UNESCO World Heritage Site and accessible only on foot, it is one of the oldest and richest ecosystems in Africa which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants, providing habitat for over 120 mammal species (including 11 primates), 346 species of birds (including 23 highly localised Albertine Rift endemics), 202 species of butterflies, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species.
Bwindi is however most notable for over 50% of the approximately 1,060 Mountain Gorillas still living on earth.
Gazetted in 1991, the park rose to her peak after Gorilla tracking became a tourist activity in April of 1993, converting Bwindi into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has a tropical climate with the annual mean temperature ranging from a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. Peak rainfall occurs from March to April and from September to November. The park’s forest plays an important role in regulating the outside area’s environment and climate.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is divided into four sectors each with several Gorilla families open to visitors every day. Plans are underway to have more Gorilla families for tourism, and we promise to keep you updated or feel free get in touch.
As of November 2021, total number of habituated Gorilla families in Bwindi is 23 with 21 groups/families available for tracking with up to 8 persons every day. This provides for 168 Bwindi Gorilla permits every day.
Occasionally, Gorilla groups/families disintegrate and join other bigger groups for various reasons. This therefore can affect the number of available families for tracking hence need to check with Adventure Consults for the latest updates on figures/numbers.
Buhoma sector forms the Northern side of the forest, with 6 habituated Gorilla families. This has proven to be everyone’s favorite spot because it’s where Gorilla tourism history begins. As of November 2021, the habituated families in Buhoma are;
- Mubare group.
- Rushegura family
- Habinyanja group.
Occasionally these groups visit the different accommodation facilities in the area, so keep an eye through your window for occasional early morning visitors. Never know, might get a wake-up call from the a black-back or silverback himself!
The Ruhija sector is located in the Eastern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park, which is approximately one hour drive from Buhoma area. Most of upmarket facilities are located in Buhoma, so if you love luxury, you need to get ready for early morning start if you are booked to track Ruhija families. There are however new properties coming up in Ruhija, so early morning drives may soon be avoided. The five gorilla families in this sector are;
- Kyaguriro A
- Kyaguriro B
The Nkuringo sector is in the south of the Bwindi Impenetrable National park and is home to one of the oldest families in the region – Nkuringo gorilla family. This is believed to be the most interesting group with about 19 family members (as of October 2021). It’s also a challenging family to track as well due to the terrain, and yet rewards visitors with greatest views of the magnificent scenery.
While looking for Gorillas in Nkuringo, you get to see more than just Gorillas as the sweeping landscapes across are breathtaking! The amazing volcanoes of Nyiragongo and Nyimuragira in Congo can be seen on clear day or night.
As part of Nkuringo sector, the other habituated families are Bushaho, Christmas & Posho.
Rushaga is also located in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla families in this area;
Rushaga sector has become popular due to the high Gorilla population and boasts of the highest number of gorilla families.
It’s in this area of Bwindi that one of the families is dedicated to a special activity – Gorilla Habituation Experience. Check with our team for Special Interest Trips or simply make habituation experience part of your Standard Safaris to Uganda.
Rushaga sector can be categorized as a “highland Kingdom” due to the amazing display of the Virunga ranges that divide up Uganda, Rwanda & Congo. The Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabinyo, Karusimbi, and Bisoke among others make part of the highest points in the region and can be seen from Rushaga side.
More than Just Gorillas in Bwindi forest;
Whereas Bwindi is popular for Gorilla viewing, there are other interesting activities, among others; Forest walks, Cultural visits with the Batwa people and unbelievable bird watching – Uganda is the richest country for birds in Africa with over 1,000 species recorded including almost half the continent’s known species and over 10% of those recorded around the world.
As of November 2021, only 1 Gorilla family in the world can be accessed for Gorilla Habituation experience! Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, has got different sections for Gorilla tracking. The more endowed, less visited and greener southern part of the park offers this unique approach of visiting the endangered giants. Unlike the normal tracking where you spend one hour with the Gorillas, here you spend about 4 hours and exercise is limited to 4 guests per day. This is an added benefit to any primate enthusiast and photographers at all levels. Limited guest numbers means a relaxed and less congested walk/viewing and extended 4 hour interaction with the Gorillas, gives the best opportunity for the best images ever!
Your day starts early in the morning (about 6am), join the research team, detailed briefing and head out to the impenetrable forest. The terrain is steep, sometimes muddy and slippery especially on a rainy day, so you need to be relatively fit and in good health. When you get to the Gorilla family, your guide will take you through an in-depth explanation of how Gorilla behave, watch them as they groom and play with the young ones. The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving adventure that will leave you with long lasting memories. No doubt, it’s a once in a lifetime Adventure.
Gorilla Habituation Experience can be part of the long trip or an independent adventure.
Get in touch and our safari specialist will be of help with more info on itineraries and pricing to suite your interests and available time.
Forest Nature Walks;
Bwindi forest offers a number of interesting forest walks but there are exclusively unique ones that every visitor must do! So please, plan for more than just Gorillas!
The circular forest walk via Kashasha River and Ivy River.
This starts either from Northern secto (Buhoma) or the South (Nkurigo) to either side. Normally starts early in the morning taking you to either side of the forest by lunch time.
With your parked water and snacks, Adventure Consults guide will drop you at the starting point. He will go by the main road and meet him at the end of the walk. The walk down through the misty ever green Bwindi forest is a unique experience exclusive to Bwindi. We will get you a porter to help carry your rain jacket, cameras, water, binoculars, snacks as and when needed. This is also one way of supporting local communities hence conservation. You also get first-hand information about culture, history and local lifestyle from the porters and guides.
The forest canopy makes your walk cooler and less strenuous.
Forest walk to the waterfalls
A perfect way to experience the depth of impenetrable forest. Starting from Buhoma – at the north gate, Munyaga river trail gets you to beautiful pristine waterfalls. The sounds of the forest and the gentle cover of morning mist makes your walk enchanting. Along the way you will see plenty of flora and fauna, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, lots of colorful butterflies, orchids, tree ferns, epiphytic ferns. If one waterfall isn’t enough there is always another trail in Rushaga – at the south gate, that boasts another amazing forest experience. Ensure there’s an extra day in addition to Gorilla tracking.
Birding and scenic tours by boat on Lake Mutanda;
The southern part of Uganda is dotted with crater lakes and amazing ‘blue’ volcanoes. This makes it the “highland Kingdom” of Uganda providing opportunities for Boat rides across the crater lake (Mutanda). You get close to the amazing display of the Virunga ranges that divide up Uganda, Rwanda & Congo. The Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabinyo, Karusimbi, and Bisoke among others make part of the highest points in the region and can be seen from a relaxed boat ride. If you are looking for the best scenic photography, this is the perfect region!
The dugout wooden canoes gives our guests unique opportunities to enjoy the beautiful sights, and also get close to lots of bird species.
The Batwa Experience is a living history unlike any other. A new initiative takes Uganda’s Batwa (commonly known as Pygmies) back into the land they lost to conservation by sharing their lifetime experiences with Adventure Consults’ guests.
The historical nomadic hunter-gatherers are widely acknowledged to have been the first human residents of forest areas stretching across much of what is now Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a hands-on, mind-opening adventure you will never forget. Trail up the mountain slopes to get a rare glimpse into this unusual Batwa tribe as your interpreter helps you understand their medicinal plant use and beliefs. You will see how they lived and hunted, learn about medicinal plants, and watch for animals and birds. You will share a traditional meal, listen to the ancient legends and traditional songs, and join in on a mock hunting party. You can even test your skill with a Batwa bow and arrow and participate in traditional dances.
Batwa communities exist on both sides of Bwindi forest (Northern and Southern sectors). Visits to the Batwa community are part of all our Gorilla trips but special/long stay programs can be arranged. Get in touch – email@example.com
Village Walks/Cultural Encounters; These will give you a taste of the Ugandan lifestyle. Meet the locals from different generations who will generously share with you their ways of life and culture. Visit the Batwa community, take a walk in the busy towns of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga. A visit to the women project (Ride 4 a woman) in Buhoma is one of the best ways to support the local communities hence conservation.
Ride 4 a Woman; This is a charitable organization set up to support women struggling with poverty, HIV and domestic violence. Ride 4 a Woman was set up in 2009 by Evelyn Habasa and her husband Denis Rubalema.
More than 300 women from 11 villages use or work at the Ride 4 a Woman community centre, where they learn to pedal sew, weave baskets, dance, sing and drum; learning new skills, making a living and making it possible for their children to gain an education.
Immerse yourself in local culture by learning the local bakiga dance and feel the rhythm of local dances, cook traditional Uganda dishes, learn to pedal sew, weave with the women and spoil yourself with an exceptional shopping experience.
If you see and like anything on display, please make your order and if material available, the ladies will be tailor-make it and ensure it’s ready within 24 hours. This can be an African dress, shirt, skirt, table covers, pillow covers, cushion covers, laptop bags etc. Get in touch.
Mountain Bike/Cycling in Bwindi national park. The terrain, farmlands, and scenery of this area makes cycling a real adventure. You will cycle through the villages for an endless encounter with the friendly people of Bwindi community. Quite often they will wave and it’s a good gesture to wave back. The village setting of Bwindi gives you a unique ride compared to anywhere else in the world. You will meet people carrying water, or if it’s a market day, they will be going to the market. Meeting the other cycling ‘experts’ on wooden bicycles is so rewarding, so feel free to test theirs as well.
Depending on preference, you may ride through the tea and coffee plantations, visit the tea processing place for an experience/lessons of brewing coffee (from the Garden, to bean then finally to your cup). Get to know how each sip of coffee, contributes towards Gorilla conservation!
Coffee and tea experiential tours
Ever thought of knowing how your morning beverage is processed? We organize tea and coffee tours so that you get to understand the process of brewing coffee (from the Garden, to bean then finally to your cup). Get to know how each sip of coffee, contributes towards Gorilla conservation!
You are a tea person? We will take out for a tea tour and get to know how tea is grown, picked and traditionally processed. The tour also shows how ‘black’, ‘green’ and ‘white’ teas are produced and differentiated. You have an open invite to sample the fine teas at the end of the tour whilst looking over the impressive forests.
Visit the Gorilla health and community Conservation Centre
An after or midmorning visit to Dr Gladys’ Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) center is recommended.CTPH is a non-profit organization that promotes conservation by improving the quality of life of people and wildlife to enable them coexist in and around protected areas in Africa.
Adventure Consults offers visits to the CTPH center and this can be a full day excursion or half day (depending on how much is available). The tour is normally either before or after your Gorilla tracking experience. Better do it before the trek for a better experience.
It’s at the CTPH center where samples from the Gorillas are examined as part of the process to ensure good health of these endangered primates. If you are lucky, you may meet the founder (Dr Gladys Kalema). You are however assured of meeting her experienced team who will take you the process of what they go through as their day to day job to ensure animals and local community health is taken care of
During the visit, you will tour CTPH facilities and get an inside look at the conservation efforts. You will get a demonstration showing how samples from gorillas are analysed and you can also participate in the exercise!
Get a detailed talk about CTPH work with the Bwindi local community, which is essential to prevent diseases being transmitted between people and gorillas.