Located in the south-western part of Uganda in Kabale district is Bwindi National Park neighboring the towns of Nkuringo and Buhoma. It is found on the edge of the western arm of the great east African rift valley. It comprises of 331 square kilometers of jungle forest which is both on the hills and lowlands accessible only on foot. It is known as the home of the endangered mountain gorillas but also has many other animal species for example elephants, antelopes, chimpanzees, baboons and many others. There is also a variety of plant and bird species found in this national park that is to say almost 400 plant species and over 330 bird species including 23 Albertine rift endemics, over 220 butterfly species, 104 fern species and about 27 frog species. These attract many tourists from various countries. There is also an interesting array of lodges and other accommodation facilities with excellent services to ensure the comfortable stay of the tourists while they are at the national park some of which include; lake Mutanda chameleon hill lodge, clouds mountain gorilla lodge, gorilla safari lodge, Buhoma lodge, Ruhija gorilla lodge silver back lodge and many more.
Activities in Bwindi National Park
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi impenetrable national park can be done any time of the year and is worth engaging in as it will get chance to get up=close view of the Mountain gorillas, one of Africa’s most popular wild animalt. There are four different regions within the park where mountain gorillas can be tracked which are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Currently in Bwindi national park there are around 10 gorilla groups habituated to the presence of human beings. these include the following. You will be given an hour in the midst of the gorillas to take pictures and observe them as they feed and play. A Ugandan gorilla permit costs US$ 600 per person and only US$ 450 per person during the low season months of April, May and November.
Bwindi impenetrable forest is a habitat of a variety of bird species that is to say over 330 species including 23 endemics where 90% are of Albertine rift endemics. Some of the birds include the short-tailed warbler, blue-headed sunbird, emerald cuckoo, common bulbil, African blue and white-tailed, blue flycatchers, red-headed blue bill and many others. Bird watching/birding takes place along buhoma waterfall trail, along the bamboo zone and along Mubwindi swamp trail in ruhija.
Many visitors come to Uganda very often, some specifically to trail through Bwindi impenetrable forest. These walks are spectacular and most suitable for bird watchers/birders, hikers and enthusiasts. Here, tourists are involved in a moderate climb through the impenetrable forest and ferns, hills whereby they get to see a variety of beautiful scenery and many other interesting things for example the ivy river trail which follows an old road through the forest from Buhoma to Nkuringo. Here they meet very scenic view points along the way, beautiful butterflies, different bird species, monkeys, bush pigs and many others. This trail takes around 7 hours. The Rushura hill walk is also another interesting trek. This is the highest hill around Buhoma. It is a 5 kilometer walk which goes until a lookout point on the Uganda D.R.C border. Very beautiful!
Cultural encounters/community walks.
There are Buhoma and Nkuringo community walks which are village trails to different sites in the communities to discover more about local customs and traditions, handcraft sites, learning how local brew/gin, also known as “waragi” and banana wine are made, local coffee and tea making, the way the Batwa people (pygmies) live their lives, their history, hearing their ancient legends, traditional songs, dances and drama, hunting skills and many others.
Some of the cultural encounters include Nyundo community eco-trail with the Nyundo residents, Nkuringo cultural entre with different workshops for example African cooking, traditional wearing, dancing and drumming workshops and many others, Rubuguri village trail past a swamp into a small homestead with different cultural demonstrations.
A thirteen-kilometer trail is done usually early in the morning from the park headquarters in Buhoma to river Ivi organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp. During this trail, the travelers are able to see different wildlife like the red-tailed monkeys, bush bucks and black and white colobus and the mountain bikes can be rented. This trail is more fun with a guide in case of any inquiries and to point out the different things within the communities
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