The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is regarded to be one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa, largely due to its antiquity and an altitude range of between 1160 and 2607 m above sea level. The most famous is Bwindi however for the possibility it offers to encounter the Mountain Gorilla in its own habitat. Given the fact that the forest protects more than half of the remaining gorilla population, the forest has become of great mountain gorilla conservation value in Africa. Gorilla tracking is for most visitors the main reason to come to Bwindi, and the thrilling experience of coming so close to these beautiful creatures is definitely a highlight in your trip to Uganda.
Other wildlife includes a large variety of primates, including chimpanzee, blue monkey and black & white colobus monkeys, antelope and forest elephant as well as remarkably high number of bird species. The terrain varies from swamp and bamboo forest to dense thickets from the ankle up which makes up 90% of the park, thus making gorilla trekking hard work! However there is no doubt in my mind that this cathedral of vegetation is a magical place, the confines of which hold many secrets. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a sanctuary for almost half the world's population of mountain gorillas (about 330 of 600), which is the rarest race of these primates. Bwindi was first gazetted as a forest Reserve in 1942 and later upgraded to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1992 and recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1994. In the local Lukiga language, Bwindi actually means Impenetrable.' This double warning is apt, for Bwindi is all but impenetrable; 327km2 of tangled vegetation draped over a deeply fissure d landscape of steep, slippery valleys and high, draughty ridges. A trek through this, one of Africa's most ancient rainforests, in search of the endangered mountain gorilla, ranks among the world's premier wildlife encounters. Bwindi can be cold especially in the morning and at night. The annual average temperature range is between 7°C - 20°C with the coldest period being June and July. On your safari, 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.
Bwindi is one of the best places to go Gorilla Tracking. Mostly this is done from the Buhoma location, but there is also a possibility to go tracking from Nkuringo or Rwanda. From Buhoma, two gorilla groups have been habituated, Mubare and Habinyanja. In 2003 however, the Habinyanja group split into two groups now know as Habinyanja A and Habinyanja B. Eight permits are available per day for each of the Buhoma groups to bring the total to 24. Gorilla Tracking excursions leave from Buhoma at 08:00h and the trip might take anything between one to ten hours, depending on the proximity of the gorillas and how easy they are located. The success rate is 99%, Africa Miracles have not had visitors who did not see the Mountain Gorilla. A Gorilla Permit costs USD 500 and this permit will be arranged by us immediately upon booking so that you are 100% guaranteed of the Permit. Although the trip can be tough and long, you do not have to be a top athlete to make it. A good health and a bit of conditioning and persistency will do the job. The only limitations are a minimum age of 15 and one is not allowed to visit the Gorillas if you have just been ill or if you have a cold since this could endanger the Gorillas, which is off course the last thing we want to do!
Bwindi is widely thought to support the greatest biodiversity of any East African forest, and the Buhoma area has more to offer than Gorilla Tracking. Five different day-trails, ranging from 30 minutes to eight hours in duration lead from Buhoma, offering the opportunity to enjoy the tranquillity of the forest and to see several different monkey species. For birders, roughly 190 bird species have been recorded. For monkeys and general scenery, the best walk is probably the three-hour Waterfall Trail. This leads for 2 km along an abandoned road before heading into a beautiful area of forest following the Munyaga River on the ascent to the 33m-high waterfall. Other trails are the Mazubijiro Loop Trail and Rushara Virunga Mountains. The eight-hour Ivo River Walk offers a good opportunity for seeing monkeys, duikers and a variety of birds.
If you are interested in culture and people, then a three-hour stroll through Buhoma is a great option to see the customs and practices of the Bakiga and Batwa people.