Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is undoubtedly the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Mountain gorillas are found in four national parks – Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Uganda is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas and is the only country where mountain gorillas can be found in two different national parks.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in southwestern Uganda, has the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world and is arguably the best place to see mountain gorillas. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for being impregnable, especially because the thick tree canopy typically found in forests prevents sunlight from penetrating the ground. Bwindi has 12 common gorilla populations, the largest in the world. The park is close to some of Uganda’s most popular tourist attractions, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, and allows visitors to combine gorillas with discovering the Big Five.
How Much is Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi?
A gorilla license in Bwindi costs $700, compared to $1,500 in Rwanda. Congolese gorilla licenses are the cheapest at $400 each, but the instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo makes Gorilla trekking tours in Uganda more budget-friendly and convenient. It is important to note that the price of the Gorilla permit does not include accommodation, visas, transport, meals, and flights. For luxury travelers, the total cost of a Gorilla trekking tour can reach $5,000.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park itself is not just about gorillas. Visitors to Bwindi can also visit the Batwa pygmy community, walk in the forest, watch birds and see other primates such as chimpanzees. Speaking of chimpanzees, Bwindi is the only national park in the world where you can find both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. So, you can meet chimpanzees while trekking gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking Sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four main parts – Rushaga, Nkuringo, Buhoma, and Ruhija. Rushaga and Buhoma ranges have the largest gorilla populations and are the most popular places for gorilla trekking. Visitors interested in taming gorillas can do so in Rushaga. The 3-day Gorilla Adaptation Experience allows visitors to study a specific group of gorillas for four hours under the guidance of researchers and experienced trackers.
Two families of gorillas that are adapting are the Bikyingi and Bushaho groups, which, as I wrote, may already be open to tourists. A gorilla license costs $700 and a gorilla acclimatization experience costs $1,500. Only four gorilla installation permits are issued each day. If you are a senior, you may find our article on gorilla trekking for seniors interesting.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi gorilla trekking is available throughout the year, but the seasons are the best time to see gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The peak season is during the dry months of December to February and June to August. The rainy season is from March to May and from October to November. Gorilla trekking is much more difficult during the rainy season due to the lush forest vegetation and muddy trails.
However, tourists should not be deterred when the rainy season arrives. Bwindi is a rainforest – rain is expected all year round. Gorilla trekking permits are discounted during the wet/low season, which reduces crowding in the park, allowing visitors to spend more time with the gorillas and guides. Bwindi has a 1-day Gorilla Trekking Tour and a 2-day Bwindi Gorilla trekking tour. The Bwindi One Day Gorilla trekking safari is for those with busy schedules who want a quick spotting of gorillas after the seminar. If you have enough time, you can opt for the 2-day Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Tour package.
How to Get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be reached by air via Kajjansi or Entebbe or by road from Kampala and Rwanda. Journeys from Kampala take approximately 6 hours, while flights take up to 2 hours. Some travelers avoid the long trek from Kampala by arriving from Kigali in just 3 hours. You must present your passport and gorilla trekking permit upon arrival at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
More than 70 people travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to see gorillas in one day. The gorilla trek in Bwindi Forest starts with a briefing at Buhoma Park Headquarters Visitors should go to bed early and get up at 05:00 for breakfast before the day of trekking before the start of the journey from the hotel to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park office. After a briefing from the park office, the trekkers were divided into eight groups, each following a different gorilla family.
How Ling Does Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Last?
Some groups can start trekking gorilla families near the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park office, while others must travel to one of the four areas of the park. Each group was accompanied by a park guide, two armed rangers, and porters from the Uganda Wildlife Service. The tour guide is experienced, knowledgeable, and well-trained. They are willing to share information about each member of the gorilla group and Bwindi Forest.
Gorilla trekking time in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park depended on the gorilla group assigned and was only known during the briefing. Some groups can be found in as little as 30 minutes, while others take hours. The tracker group usually goes to the front of the group to find the family and radio operator of the gorilla group. Tracks where the gorilla colony ended up nesting and will go in that direction.
Is There a Guarantee That I Will See Gorillas?
A gorilla sighting is not guaranteed, but the chance of spotting a gorilla is very high. In some cases, gorilla families got so far into the forest that the event was canceled, allowing tourists to return to their hotel before dark. But again, this is extremely rare. When discovering a family for the first time, only an hour is given to them – so that they do not start to feel uncomfortable.
Seeing gorillas can be a very emotional experience because gorillas behave like humans and share about 98% of our DNA. Spend some time observing their behavior and different personalities while taking some amazing photos as your memories. Follow the Bwindi gorilla trekking rules and regulations, such as do not smoke or eat within sight of the gorillas. When a gorilla attacks you, don’t run away—lie down obediently.
Other Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Besides Gorilla Trekking
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich flora and fauna – the park is more than a gorilla trek. Visitors to Bwindi can participate in several other activities which may include any of the following;
Visit the Batwa Pygmies:
See the primitive people who lived in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for thousands of years but have now been driven out of the forest and moved outside the park. Visiting the Batwa Pygmies is a great opportunity to learn about their culture and participate in some of their cultural activities, such as traditional dances while hearing stories about how they used to trek and gather fruits in the forest.
Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees can only be seen in the world at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Visitors to the Bwindi Gorilla trekking tour will encounter chimpanzees and baboons along the way. Other smaller primates that can be seen on primate trekkings in Bwindi include Bush Babies, Blue Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, L’Hoests Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, and Colobus Monkeys.
Gorilla Trekking is probably the biggest attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, but other wildlife can be seen including forest elephants, leopards, bats, jackals, wild ducks, and giant wild boars. Birdwatching: One of the best birdwatching destinations in Africa, Bwindi Forest is a paradise for birdwatchers with over 330 species of birds.
such as forest walks in Bunīga, walks in the countryside, visits to residents’ houses, and shopping for local handicrafts. stay
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park requires choosing the right accommodation. A variety of luxury and budget accommodations are available. The final choice depends entirely on your personal preference, preferences, and budget. Deluxe cabins can go up to $900, while budget cabins can go up to $80.
Let’s briefly introduce some of the biggest hotels and hostels:
- Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort and Campsite: Offers economy, mid-range, and deluxe rooms. There are standard rooms, tents, and campsites. Travelers can go directly from the hotel to the park office for a briefing.
- Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge: Located near the park entrance, with good beds and massages. It takes only ten minutes to walk to the entrance of the park.
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge: Accommodation is available with bird watching nearby.
- Buhoma Community Campsite: Ideal for budget travelers with spacious private rooms.
- Buhoma Lodge: Located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with stunning views of the game park.
- Silverback Lodge: Located in the Buhoma district of Bwindi, it offers well-appointed deluxe and mid-range rooms. The house organizes outdoor activities for interested visitors the day before or after the gorilla trek, such as nature walks to nearby communities.
- Yunshan Gorilla Lodge: Located in the southern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it has eight separate eight stone bedrooms decorated with local artifacts and fireplaces.
- Gorilla Forest Camp: Located next to the park entrance, very convenient. The campsite has more than 7 tents with private bathrooms, which are raised and supported on wooden platforms.
- Mahogany Springs: As the name suggests, it is made of mahogany and offers luxurious accommodations, including the Presidential Suite overlooking the beautiful Munyanga River and Bwindi Forest.
How Much Does Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Cost?
All travelers who plan to come to Bwindi to track gorillas have considered the cost of the trip. First, a gorilla license costs $600, well below the $1,500 charged in Rwanda. Part of the money from the sale of the gorilla license goes to gorilla conservation and supports local projects that aim to improve the living conditions of local people near the park. By paying your license fee, you can help protect gorillas and give back to communities like the Batwa that have been affected by gorilla conservation activities and government actions.
Gorilla trekking permits to Bwindi are in high demand and should be booked months in advance to ensure, especially if you plan to travel during the high season. You also need to know which department you want to attend. In addition to the gorilla trekking permit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you also need to include transport, accommodation, and visa costs. All things considered, the total cost of a Bwindi gorilla trekking on a budget is around $1,000, and a luxury gorilla trekking costs between $1,400 and $1,900.
Gorilla trekking permits to Bwindi Forest can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Service office in Kampala and at the park itself. Organize your gorilla safari and drive your car to Bwindi. However, based on our own experience, we recommend using the services of a good tour company such as Deks Uganda Safaris to organize your trip. Tour operators are aware of possible discounts, and no-show permits available and will assist in selecting/booking suitable accommodations (near the park), transportation, meals, etc.