What is the best region or sector of Bwindi for gorilla trekking
Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda is subdivided into four sectors or areas for administrative regions. Bwindi Park covers an area of 327 square Kilometers, but forest cover occupies this. Uganda Wildlife Authority subdivided Bwindi Impenetrable National Park into the Buhoma area in the north, the Ruhija area in the east, and the Nkuringo area plus the Rushaga area in the southern part.
All these areas have gorillas families under them, although the permits are booked according to the area. In the past, tourists and tour operators preferred to secure gorilla permits for the Buhoma area. This is because this is the main administration, and varieties of lodge facilities were available. Of late, all areas have a number of lodge options you can select from.
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Selecting which area is best for gorilla trekking in Bwindi’s impenetrable National Park is challenging because each has different traits. Each tourist has different feelings about what they wish to see during gorilla trekking, and this is presented in different areas. For example, some want to see a gorilla family with many members, others infants, others most active family, another bird-rich area, the hugest dominant silverback, and others.
Although you may have no say on which gorilla family you are allocated to, especially during the peak season when demand for gorilla trekking is overwhelming, after a briefing in the peak gorilla trekking season, you area locate a gorilla family according to age, physical fitness, and others.
To know the best region for gorilla trekking, do a safari in all these areas to make a personal judgment. This is hard, like identifying the easiest gorilla family to trek, as it is a tricky question to answer where a family feeding closer to the starting point may migrate into the deeper ends of the forest the nest time. This depends on the prevailing conditions in the forest.
What Are The Gorilla Families In Each Area
Buhoma Area of Bwindi Forest
This being the oldest gorilla trekking area in Uganda, has 3 gorilla families opened for tourism, including Rushegura Family, Mubare Family, and the Habinyanja family.
This is the main administrative area for Bwindi Impenetrable national park, located in the forest’s Northern sectors.
Ruhija area of Bwindi Forest
This is the prime birding destination of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, especially when you take the trail to Mubwindi Swamp. Unfortunately, the area has a poor road system, and you need a 4×4 wheel drive to get through the slippery roads.
Some of the gorilla families here include the Bitukura family, Oruzogo family,
Rushaga Area of Bwindi forest
In the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the Rushaga area. Over 8 gorilla families are available for tourist booking, including.
Nshongi family, Mishaya family, Busingye family, Kahungye family, Bweza family, Bikingi family, Mucunguzi family, Rwigi family, and other two are open to gorilla habituation experience.
Nkuringo area lies in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, even though it was a huge family and the first to be habituated in the southern sector. The Nkuringo gorilla family was opened for tourism in 2004 with about 19 family members. Other gorilla families in this area include the Bushaho and Christmas families.
How To Book A Gorilla Trekking Permit For a Particular Area
Selecting which area you would like to pick your gorilla permit from takes time and effort. Each gorilla permit is booked in random areas unless you can request a particular area in advance; you are fortunate. This may be possible if you purchase your permit 6 months before the day of trekking, but you must have a reason for this unique request.
You must know which date when you wish to do gorilla trekking and the number of people you hope to travel with. This is to prevent chances of going back and forth with searching to get the availability of the gorilla permits.
When you send us an inquiry, our safari consultant checks availability as per the date. Encounter Africa Safaris is one of the lucky companies in Uganda with access to the Uganda Wildlife Authority gorilla permit availability list. We are a registered company that can check the gorilla permit availability status anytime.
In case there is availability, we advise our clients to purchase their permits as soon as possible to avoid last-minute panic in obtaining a gorilla permit.
Each day a limited number of gorilla permits is released for the public to book. A maximum of 8 gorilla permits per family are opened to the public. Despite the high demand, this is the only limit of gorilla permits open for tourist booking each day.
After gorilla trekking, we request personal details, like the full name per your passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date. These are used for record purposes, and some information is put on the certificate of accomplishment as indicated by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
How To Get To each Gorilla Trekking Area In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is where the headquarters for gorilla trekking In Bwindi’s impenetrable National Park area is located, so most routes lead to the Buhoma area. Some of the routes to the Buhoma area include:
Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma
This is the quickest route from Kampala, whereby Kampala to Rukungiri, about 390 kilometers, then connect to Buhoma for about 82 kilometers.
Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
From Kampala to Kabale, the drive is about 414 kilometers for 5 to 6 hours. Then, you carry on for about 120 kilometers to Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for more than 4 to 5 hours. You must have a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to KIhihi to Buhoma
This road is taken by those who book a Uganda Safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. From Mweya Peninsular, the drive is about 160 kilometers and 64 kilometers from the Ishasha sector to the Buhoma area.
Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo
From Kampala to Kabale, the drive is about 414 kilometers, then continue for about 105 kilometers to the Nkuringo area in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You may opt to overnight in Kisoro, which is about 80 kilometers from Kabale, before continuing to Nkuringo.
Kisoro town is about 35 kilometers from the Nkuringo area, approximately 1 hour and a half drive.
Kampala to Kabale to Ruhija area
This is one of the poor roads in this Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in very bad condition, so you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle.
The drive from Kampala to Kabale is about 414 kilometers for approximately 5 to 6 hours, then takes about 44 kilometers on a Murram road for about 2 to 3 hours.
When Is The Best Time To Book A Gorilla Trekking Permit At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking is open all year, but some tourists prefer the dry months, that is, June to September and December to January, to book.
The mountain gorillas are in high spirits; even other forest dwellers like birds, monkeys, chimpanzees, butterflies, and others are most active this season. The trails may not be flooded by water from the dense network of rivers that crisscross the forest. Bwindi Forest is the water catchment point of this area.
Even other Uganda safari activities like game drives, launch trips, chimpanzee trekking, and others are the most active this season. Making a Combo of gorilla trekking in Bwindi is most meaningful in the dry season.
The wet season which is usually the low gorilla trekking season, is also preferred by some tourists because:
There are limited numbers of tourists in the park, so obstructing you from getting the best shots is limited in case you are doing professional gorilla photography.
Chances of getting discounted process on services like accommodations are more available in the wet season when few bookings are made for these lodges and other facilities.
How Much Is A Gorilla Trekking Safari To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
As long as you obtain a gorilla permit, the universal cost for luxury, midrange, or budget gorilla trekking safari. Other factors to consider for the gorilla trekking tour cost include the following:
The number of paying people On a Gorilla Trekking Tour
The more paying people fit on a gorilla trekking safari, the less the safari cost per person. You can share some costs like vehicle hire, gas, driver guide fees, etc. Even when you join a scheduled gorilla trekking safari, you share these costs too. When you take a solo gorilla trekking safari, you get paid the gross cost alone.
The timing for gorilla trekking safari
The peak season for gorilla trekking is usually coupled with high costs because there is high demand for these services in this period. Even other activities like game drives and chimpanzee trekking use the same services.
The number of days on gorilla trekking safari
The more days on the gorilla trekking tour, the higher the gross cost of the safari. Most of the service providers charge per-day costs, so the more days you are on safari, the higher the cost.
Number of other activities to combine with a gorilla safari
The more activities you combine with gorilla trekking, the higher the safari cost. Each activity is charged differently; the more activities, the higher the safari cost.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is safe for gorilla trekking because the rangers are available to protect the forest dwellers and the tourists. The ranger guides collaborate with other Uganda security agencies to keep law and order in this region.
You also have to take caution for your security by;
- Going into the forest with an escorting ranger guide. Many forest inhabitants need to be habituated to human presence. It would be best if you had an armed ranger to lead the way for all activities
- Do not engage in unlawful activities like dealing drugs while on a gorilla trekking safari, as you may be imprisoned if traced.
- Counting large sums of money in public may attract the wrong people to you. They may even ambush you to pick this money from you, both local currency and foreign currency.
- Wearing precious jewelry may call for thieves to follow you, so keep them away or even ask the lodge manager to keep them for you in a safe in case the lodge has one. Remember to ask for them on departure day.
- Carry relevant and limited bags during gorilla trekking so that you do not lose any or have limited space to pack them in the vehicle.
- Keep children in sight if you travel with them for gorilla trekking. In Uganda, a child is considered an adult when they are 18 years and above, while the age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above. Unknown people may destroy them, yet the Bwindi area has limited signposts where you may trace their way about. Even the communication network could be better.
- Stay closer to the gorilla trekking group you are allocated to go gorilla trekking with. This is to prevent getting lost in the wilderness. The ranger guide follows the slowest trekker but stays with the rest of the group.
- Hire a porter to carry your belongings if you need to be more fit for the gorilla trek. You may get so exhausted if the mountain gorilla family is far from the starting point.
- Pack the right gorilla trekking gears that can last you in the wilderness, including a first aid kit, safari boots, long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, garden gloves, and others.
Contact us for more information.