Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Bwindi national park is the home for Uganda’s mountain Gorillas. It lies southwestern Uganda on the edge of the western Rift Valley. The forest is dominated by the diverse rainforests with almost 400 species of plants. The forest is estimated to host over 320 mountain gorillas – almost half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked. Very many tour companies offering cheap Uganda safaris to this park to see these gentle giants in its natural setting.
Along side mountain gorillas, the park also host like baboons and chimpanzees, as well as forest elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos among others. Floristically Bwindi is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops and village walks.
Uganda has 11 gorilla groups or families habituated for trekking while one is for research. These include, Rushegura, Habinyanja, Mubare, Nkuringo, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, and recently the new groups called Busingye and Bweza. Kyaguriro gorilla group located in Ruhija is for research. Mountain gorilla habituation takes about 2-3 years and below are some of the gorilla families in Bwindi.
Personal requirements for Gorilla safaris include:
1-2 long sleeved shirts, 3 short sleeved t-shirts, 2 –3 pairs of light weight slacks/trousers – that can dry quickly (if wearing on treks), 1 pair of shorts, 1 sweater or sweatshirt, A waterproof and windproof jacket, 1 skirt ( for women), Gloves – gardening or similar (for gorilla trekking), Strong waterproof walking boots – pants should be tucked into socks and boots while trekking (heavy soled rain boots also work well), Pair of sports sandals like Tevas, Hat-wide brim or with a visor for sun protection, Sleepwear, Underwear, Lightweight wool socks, Swimsuit (and a plastic bag), Miscellaneous, Sunscreen, Sunglasses with neck strap, Insect repellent with DEET, Small day pack, Flashlight, Binoculars, Extra batteries, Camera and extra lenses, Film particularly fast film for the gorillas, Personal toiletries, Prescription medicines and possibly prescription itself, Kleenex tissues, Small notebook, First Aid Kit including re-hydration sachets, anti-diarrhea medicine, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids, motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication.
Some people prefer to track gorillas twice with different gorilla groups to taste the different experience! This means you should buy 2 gorilla permits and currently each gorilla permit costs USD600. However, there are promotional permits in April, May and November where each gorilla permit costs US$350. Therefore, depending on your budget, you can plan a suitable travel period. Also budget gorilla trekking is possible if you can chose low cost lodges or camps around bwindi national park. Visit http://www.cheapgorillasafaris.com for details