Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
CNN ranks Bwindi world’s most beautiful place in the world, Bwindi ranks number one in the top 25 places in the world.
According to CNN,
Dense, lush and otherworldly, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the last redoubts of the mountain gorilla. Over 400 call this UNESCO-protected national park home, with the chance for visitors to trek to and meet habituated groups. Its biodiversity extends far beyond its most famous inhabitants, however; 348 bird species and 220 butterfly species can be found within its 331-square-kilometer expanse.
How to get to Bwindi, the world’s most beautiful place in the world in Uganda
Firstly, the park can be accessed through Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors. The terrain and the nature of the roads require one to come for a Uganda Safari with a 4×4 wheel drive most especially during rainy seasons. A bus can be boarded from Kampala connecting to Butogota through the towns of Rukungiri and Kihihi. Aerolink conducts scheduled charter and domestic flights from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi and Nyakabande airstrips. And when in the park, connecting from the northern sector at Kihihi airfield and Kayonza airstrip to the southern sector of Buhoma and Ruhija is made easier.
Reaching to different regions of Bwindi world’s most beautiful place in the world including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo for gorilla trekking can be done from the following points.
Meanwhile, these are the tips on how to best prepare for a gorilla safari in Uganda.
Tourist activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda
Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is the most visited in a Uganda safari experience because of gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation. The area has over 400 out of the 880 mountain gorillas in the world with none in captivity. There is no better reason rather making itBwindi the world’s most beautiful place in the world. The gorilla tracking activity is carried out in four regions in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and this includes; Nkuringo area, rushaga area, Ruhija area, and the Buhoma area.
It takes 1 hour to track gorillas in a group of 8 people, the trekking commences at 8am at the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters to any of the four regions in the park, and this depends on the permit one has bought. The trekkers are briefed about the gorilla encounters before their trekking starts off. The gorilla permits are sold at 600USD by Uganda Wildlife Authority, they are sold throughout the year and trekking is also possible all year round. Gorilla trekking safaris are most adventurous during the dry season.
Nature walks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has six major trails for nature walks which can be undertaken on foot by a Uganda safari traveler and they include;
Munyange waterfall walk:
The waterfall is situated at Buhoma on river Munyange. It is ideal mostly for travelers with limited safari time as the trail distance is short. Species of birds like Shelley’s Crimson wing. Other bird species include; Black-billed Turacos, Handsome Francolin, African Broadbill, Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters; Western Green Tinkerbird, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Short-tailed and Black-faced Rufous Warblers, Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls can be seen and observed along the trail and also primates at the edge of the river.
Rushura Hill Walk
This walk is done on top of Rushura hill; one can explore the scenery of Lake Edward and Lake George during this trail and also view the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains and Virunga ranges. Also, the rift valley floor is visible while on this walk.
The Muzabajiro Loop
The loop is a 6km walk. It’s along the hill and it gives travelers an opportunity to encounter birds and primates and also you have a direct view of Virunga volcanoes. The Bwindi forest can be viewed with ease along the walk. It’s ideal for picnic encounters and the travelers are exposed to different fern tree species.
The Ivi River Walk
The walk is 14km and it takes 7hours. The travelers pass through a wild pig area. This area is locally known as Mukempunu. On this trail, travelers encounter wild pigs.
The Buhoma-Nkuringo Trail
The trail connects trekkers to the villages of Buhoma and Nkuringo. It lasts for about 3–4 hours. Along the walk, travelers are exposed to impressive views of the thick and dense forest canopy with mist coverings on the treetops; this is mostly visible around the village of Nkuringo.
The Habinyanja Trail
This trail takes travelers across River Munyange, along the steep slopes of Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridges and beautiful scenic views of River Buhoma. This trail mostly runs for 4–6 hours. The trail also exposes you to a piece of rock resembling the map of Africa which the locals call the African corner; this place is deemed legendary because it was discovered some time ago. Along the trail towards the Habinyanja swamp, birders are exposed to a number of bird species like; Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Black Duck and Black Bee Eaters, among others.
Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Birding is among the most exciting experiences on a Uganda safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park with bird views of over 350 species and most especially the 23 endemic species to include; Short-tailed warbler, Blue-headed sunbird among others. Other species include the Red-headed blue bill, African blue and white-tailed blue flycatchers, Common Bulbul and African Emerald cuckoo. Birding is normally done early in the morning and late in the evening for a great Uganda birding experience. The birding trails in the park are normally Buhoma waterfall trail, Mubwindi swamp trail along with Ruhija sector, and the Bamboo zone trail.
Cultural Encounters in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park-Uganda
In the Bwindi area, diverse tribal groups surround the forest park and these include; Bakiga, Batwa and the Bafumbira. Each of these tribes has got its own interesting traditions that can be encountered on a Uganda safari excursion. To make this encounter worthy experiencing, the locals have put a number of cultural trails to include;
Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association
This tour starts at a local handicraft shop. This shop sells local artisan crafts like fabrics, beeswax candles, and wood carvings. The tour takes 3 hours. The tour takes you to the Batwa community in Buhoma village for their music dance and drama performances, along this tour a traditional healer who cures diseases using local herbs is visited, travelers also visit the local community primary school and later they are shown how to process a local brew which is mostly consumed by the locals. The returns collected from this tour are put into supporting the local community’s projects. The tour mainly exposes the travelers to the Batwa community heritage during a Uganda safari.
Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)
The foundation exposes you to the views of Congo and Virunga volcanoes. This foundation is located south of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Wonderful cultural and scenic encounters are offered during this tour, these include; visiting blacksmith Nicholas who still uses stone-age technology to curve metals into useful tools like knives, hoes, machetes, and saucepans. He uses a charcoal-fired furnace to heat metals to red hot before modeling it to what he wants. See traditional huts housing millet grinding stones, waragi distilling equipment, and traditional cooking pots at Sicilia’s home and see herbal tea, herbal powder, and ointments that cure a range of ailments at Pena the traditional healer’s home. The impressive scenic views of the Virunga mountain peaks make this Uganda safari so welcoming and worthy excursing.
Buniga Forest Nature Walk
The walk leads you to encounters of the forest’s flora and fauna. The locals guide travelers and they answer every question since they are acquainted with the forest life and have vast knowledge from years of experience. This forest is part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The locals along with Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) designed this walk to control encroachment and biodiversity loss hence putting the forest into sustainable use. The returns from this walk mostly benefit the local community. This walk is mostly good for Uganda safari travelers carrying out research on sustainable ecotourism.
Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)
This is a skills center for tourists who partake Uganda gorilla safaris in the Nkuringo area. Educational workshops ranging from African cooking, basket weaving, dancing and drumming are organized for travelers to go back with a skill. The center also organizes a community walk for travelers to explore the local community’s day to day life. The walk takes you to the community of Rubuguri village where you can participate in handicraft demonstrations, visit the local primary school and be part of the Kiga dance. This makes a Uganda safari exciting.
Nyundo Community Eco-Trails.
The eco-trail is set to ensure sustainable use of the forest. In the past, the local community mostly used the forest for logging, agriculture, and poaching which degraded the forest and the Nyundo village experience climate change which eroded their crops downstream during heavy rains and the mist that used to cover the area disappeared. Crop productivity began to reduce, the community decided to leave the forest to regenerate and later the rains and the mist began to come back.
The eco-trail leads travelers to king Bakyara waterfall with its scenic views of the famous bathing area of the kings, visit the area’s blacksmith for local utensils, visit a local banana beer distillery, a cattle farm, banana plantation and a beekeeper for honey harvesting and processing. There is also a traditional skills trail that offers opportunities to learn how to prepare millet bread, make crafts and yogurt, all these trails combined give a Uganda safari traveler a great excursion experience.
In Conclusion, all the above activities and more make Bwindi the world’s most beautiful place in the world.