Mountain Gorilla National Parks

BWINDI NATIONAL PARK

Gorilla tracking in Bwindi gives you an exceptional trekking experience while on yout tour and Uganda safari. With our expertise in organising gorilla permits, pre tour advise, you will find this website usefull.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda a magnificent verdant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley. This ancient rainforest is one of the few in Africa to have flourished and a home to half of the world’s endangered population of mountain gorillas. Looking into the expressive brown eyes of these giants is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter Uganda has to offer

Historical Background

The Impenetrable Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1942, upgraded to the BwindI Impenetrable National Park in 1992 and recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994.in the local Rukiga language, Bwindi actually means ‘Impenetrable.’

This double warning is apt, for Bwind is all but impenetrable; 327km2 of tangled vegetation draped over a deeply fissured landscape of steep, slippery valleys and high, draughty ridges.

But if the terrain is far from easy to negotiate, it is well worth the effort. Atrek through this, one of Africa’s most ancient rainforests, in search of the endangered Mountain Gorillas, ranks among the world’s premier wildlife encountersBwindi can be cold especially in the morning and at night, the annual average temperature range is 70C-200C with the coldest period being June and July. Warm clothing is required plus wet weather gear since Bwindi receives up to 2390mm of rain/year. This is concentrated during two wet seasons, short rains in March-May and heavy rains in September-November. Instead of short tropical deluges, rain in Bwind often falls as long hours of soft drizzle.

Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla tracking is a captivation and unforgettable experience which more than repays the effort needed to reach Bwindi and to trek through the forest. Bwindi has seven habituated gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists. Three of these are in the vicinity of Buhoma and one at Nkuringo Gorilla tracking is Uganda’s most sought after tourism activity. You should book well in advance to ensure that permits for your requested dates are available.

Gorilla tracking can be challenging and you need to be reasonably fit. Registration and briefing at Buhoma park office and Nkuringo commences at 0745 hours tracking states at 8:30am and can last from a few hours to the whole day depending on where the gorillas are in the forest

MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga Gorilla is Uganda’s smallest national park. However, it is also one of the most dramatic for the park lies on the northern slopes of Mts. Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo, three volcanoes that create an unforgettable regional backdrop. These peaks are three of the six Virunga volcanoes that mark the southern limit of the Albertine Rift Valley and are divided between Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. The Virungas are home to more than half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla. 380 individuals roam the slopes of the volcanoes while the remaining 340 live nearby in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Fortunately for the gorillas, Mgahinga’s small area is supplemented by those of two larger, adjoining parks in Rwanda (Volcanoes NP) and DR Congo (Virunga NP)

Though gorilla tracking is the park’s most popular activity, Mgahinga merits a visit simply to appreciate the scenery. A choice of hikes allows for all abilities, ranging from the 8 hour return trip to the summit of Mt. Muhabura, to gentle strolls across the lower slopes beneath the magnificent three peak backdrop. The park experiences two rainy seasons; March-May and September-November. October is the wettest month, with 250mm of rain and July the driest with just 10mm.

HOW TO GET THERE

The park lies in the south-western corner of Uganda, 540km from Kampala. The journey takes 8 hours, excluding rest stops, passing via Kabale and Kisoro. The 80km section between Kabale and Kisoro is a winding, mountainous drive on murram that takes at least 2 hours, while the park gate at Ntebeko lies a bumpy 14km (30 minutes) south of Kisoro. Charter flights can be arranged from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi) to Kisoro airstrip.

PARC NATIONALE DES VOLCANS

“In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”. Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Parc des Volcans protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent

The bustling market town of Ruhengeri has a memorable setting at the base of the Virungas. On the outskirts of town, the natural bridge at Musanze – a solidified lava flow – is a fascinating relic of the volcanic activity that shaped this scenic area. Also within easy day tripping distance of Ruhengeri are the seldom visited but lovely Lakes Burera, Ruhondo and Karago. Ruhengeri offers a good selection of reasonably-priced small hotels and guest houses, including the newly renovated hotel Gorilla’s Nest. Visitors could also base themselves in Gisenyi or Kigali and – with an early start – head to the Parc des Volcans and Ruhengeri as a day trip