Safari guide to gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park

Gorilla trekking involves moving into the dense tropical forests in Bwindi impenetrable forest in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with the gorillas in their natural habitat. Bwindi impenetrable forest is situated in southwestern Uganda and one of the best gorilla trekking destinations in Africa in that it harbors over 450 mountain gorillas which is half of the total mountain gorillas in the whole world. Safari guide to gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park has detailed facts about gorilla trekking which will help you when you are planning a gorilla trekking safari to the most visited gorilla destination in Africa, Bwindi impenetrable national park.

Gorilla Trekking Permits

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park

The national park is a home of 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors namely Buhoma sector in the northern side which harbors Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe gorilla families, Ruhija sector in the Eastern part which harbors Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguriro and Mukiza gorilla families, Nkuringo sector in the southern part which harbors Nkuringo, Bushaho and Christmas gorilla families, Rushaga sector in the south which harbors Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Bikyingi, Mucunguzi and Rwigi gorilla families.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park starts early in the morning with a briefing at the headquarters about gorilla trekking expectations, rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 individuals to trek a gorilla family and grouping is done basing on physical fitness, interests and age where after you will enter the forest with a park guide. Gorilla trekking is unpredictable in that it can take a short period of time or a long period of time about 2 to 7 hours depending on the location of the mountain gorillas. Once the gorillas are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their presence learning more about their habits, behaviors, watching females nursing the young ones, juveniles entertaining the group and you will get an opportunity to take photos with flash less cameras and record the moments.

Gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park

A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document or card that is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority to a visitor above the age of fifteen allowing him or her to trek a habituated gorilla family in any sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park. A single gorilla trekking permit in the park costs $600 for foreign non-resident, $500 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. The gorilla trekking permit was however increased by $100 effective 1st July 2020 therefore foreign non-resident will pay $700 and foreign resident will pay $600. Visitors who want to purchase a cheaper gorilla trekking permit should book early before the deadline.

How to book for a gorilla trekking permit       

A gorilla trekking permit in the park can be booked directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority a tourism body in Uganda by contacting the offices through telephone calls or email or you can book through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. Booking through a tour operator will save you the hustle in that you will just contact us with the dates, month and year when u want to do gorilla trekking and we will check for availability of the permit for the dates you want. Once there are available permits you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit and also send your scanned passport copies which will be used to register for your permit. When you make a deposit for the permit we will acquire the permit for you and send scanned copies as confirmation.

When to book for a gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi impenetrable forest

A gorilla trekking permit in the park can be booked anytime of the year though it’s advisable to book 3 to 6 months in advance to avoid disappointments because gorilla trekking permits are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season.

When to go for a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park

Gorilla trekking in the park can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time to visit is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. The dry season is also known as the peak season and most visitors prefer to visit during the peaks because that the time when there is less rainfall in the park, short shrubs for clear viewing of the gorillas, gorilla trekking trails will be dry and access roads to the park will be passable.

Though there is heavy rainfall in the wet season, gorilla trekking is conducted and the wet season has its own advantages like less crowds in the park, luxury accommodation discounts and less competition for the gorilla trekking permits.

What to pack for your gorilla trekking safari

  • Long sleeved shirt and trousers, long sleeved shirt and trouser will protect your body from getting scratched and also give you warmth while trekking.
  • Hiking shoes, hiking shoes should reach the ankle and be comfortable for easy movement in steep and slippery grounds.
  • Garden gloves, during gorilla trekking you might touch down or itching plants therefore the gloves will protect your hands from germs and plant scratches.
  • Long stockings
  • Warm sweater, this will keep you warm especially in the morning and at night when it’s very cold.
  • Waterproof rain jacket, this will protect you from rain because due to the fact that Bwindi impenetrable national park is a tropical rainforest it can rain anytime of the day.
  • Insect repellent, the insect repellent will protect your body from biting insects like tsetse flies and mosquitos.
  • Camera and extra batteries, a camera is important on a gorilla trekking safari because it will be used to take photos and record the moments during the one hour given in the presence of the gorillas.
  • Energy snacks, gorilla trekking takes about 2 to 7 hours therefore the snacks will be used to give you energy while in the wild.
  • Walking stick, this will give you support during trekking in steep and slippery terrain
  • Backpack, the backpack will be used to carry all your gorilla trekking essentials like cameras, insect repellent, energy snacks among others.
  • Hiring a porter, visitors on a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park are advised to hire a porter because gorilla trekking is done in steep, muddy and slippery grounds therefore a porter will give you a push, pull and also carry your backpack.

Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park

The park has a number of up-market, midrange, budget and camp sites for visitors on a gorilla trekking safari including Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Lake Kitandara Camp, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Silverback Lodge, Engage Lodge, CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp, Volcanoes Safari Bwindi Lodge, Mahogany Springs Camp, Gorilla Resort, Bwindi Guest House, Bwindi View Bandas, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Friends, Jungle View Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp, Wagtail Eco Safari Camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp among others. The lodges provide great scenic views of the park, bird species, offer quality amenities like spacious and comfortable rooms, en-suite bathrooms, balcony, living room, siting lounge, restaurant which serves local and international dishes, bar, free Wi-Fi in public areas, swimming pool, reading library, conference rooms among others.

Other activities in Bwindi impenetrable national park

Bwindi impenetrable national park offers other activities such as birding, nature walk, Batwa trail experience among others therefore visitors who want can combine gorilla trekking with other activities in the park at an extra cost.

How to get to Bwindi impenetrable national park

The national park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district and can be reached by road and air transport means

Road transport, when using road transport, you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and then to park headquarters in any of the sectors and the journey takes about 8 to 9 hours’ drive.

Bwindi impenetrable national park can also be accessed from Queen Elizabeth national park the second largest park in Uganda. When coming from Queen Elizabeth national park you will drive from Mweya via Ishasha sector where you will view the tree climbing lions which will be lying up in the acacia/fig tree branches and then continue to the Bwindi impenetrable national park taking about 3 to 4 hours’ drive.

Bwindi impenetrable national park can also be accessed from Kigali Rwanda where visitors will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to the part via Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro and the distance takes about 3 to 4 hours’ drive.

You can also use public means of transport though not recommended by boarding a bus from Kampala to Kabale town and then hire a private taxi to the park headquarters.

Air transport, there are domestic companies like Aerolink Uganda limited which operate scheduled and chartered flights from Entebbe airport or Kajansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip. the aircrafts operate daily with flights departing at 7:00am, 10:15am and 12:00pm from Entebbe and arriving at 8:45am, 11:25am and 14:40pm at Kihihi airstrip respectively and the returning flights which depart at 9:45am, 11:40am and 14:45pm from Kihihi airstrip and arrive at 11:25am, 13:30pm and 16:15pm at Entebbe airport respectively.

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