4-Day Mountain Gorilla Conservation Safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Conservation Safari – Overview
- Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
- Visit a local primary school
- Visit the Batwa people and learn about their ways of living and cultures
- Conduct tree planting activities at the Nyamuriro Wetland Conservation Project
- Enjoy the rolling hills, crater lakes, tea plantations, forest and savanna grasslands.
Safari Hotels and Guesthouses
Rating: 1 - Easy
The famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in South Western Uganda on the edge of western rift valley. It covers an area of 321 square kilometers along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is well-known as the home of the world’s mountain gorillas.
Uganda is ranked number one in the world as a destination to experience the thrill of a mountain gorilla safari. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda has been designated as a world heritage site for the protection and conservation of these amazing animals.
Within Uganda there are 6 habituated mountain gorilla groups – 5 in Bwindi and 1 in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Each of the habituated gorilla families is named. In Bwindi you can find the Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushugura, Bitukura and Nkuringo families. In Mgahinga the family group is named Nyakagezi.
There are about 1000 gorillas left in the world. 400 of them are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park alone.
The Bwindi Forest is described as impenetrable, due to its shear density of vegetation and the vast area it covers. It’s no wonder that in the local language “Bwindi” means a place of darkness because of the thick vegetation – which indeed makes it impenetrable.
The park is covered by thick tropical afromontane forest with dense undergrowth of fern and vines. There are over 324 species of trees, 90 species of mammals, 11 species of primates, 360 species of birds and 23 Albertine rift valley endemic species.
Bwindi’s major tourist activities are gorilla tracking, bird watching, forest walks and village walks. A maximum of 8 visitors may track each of the gorillas groups daily.
The gorilla permit tracking fee of $600 per person is included in the tour price.
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by safari staff, who will transfer you to a nearby hotel a stone throw away from Entebbe international airport for relaxation and your overnight stay.
Day 1: Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Meet and greet at 5:30am with your personal guide. At 8:00 am you will arrive in Mbarara town for your breakfast at the Igongo Cultural Centre. You will continue for a scenic drive that allows you to enjoy the beautiful and varied country side. The road winds through a stunning mosaic hill scenery all the way to Bwindi. Arrive early enough for your lunch at the lodge in Bwindi. In the afternoon visit a local Buhoma Community Primary School – supported and managed by the Bwindi community members – that thrives on support from visitors and community efforts. The school’s mission is to create awareness of the environment for sustainable development through quality education. Overnight stay at Buhoma Community Rest Camp.
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking and Conservation Experience
After a good and delicious local breakfast, hike to the park headquarters just 100 meters from the lodge for a briefing by the park ranger. At 8.30 am local time, you will be transferred to the starting point for the gorilla trek. There are 3 habituated gorilla groups within the precincts of Buhoma forest area including Habinyanja (Group H), Mubare (Group M) and Rushegura (Group R).
Gorilla trekking is a wonderful experience – one that a lucky few treasure for the rest of their lives. Visiting mountain gorillas can entail 3 hours to a full day trek through the forest. The expedition is led by experienced trackers who have spent their lives living in or close to the forest. The gorillas move from one place to another every day, searching for food. The visit will give you a glimpse into the life of a gorilla family and if you are lucky enough to gaze into the eyes of a gorilla, you may sense an immediate connection there.
The famous gorilla researcher Dian Fossey wrote: “It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes.” If you are looking for a beautiful tropical paradise, you can’t beat this. Time to leave the gorillas to their peaceful lives, in the rainforest. Return to the lodge for relaxation, sharing stories and sorting out photographs. In the evening you can go for a canoe ride with the locals at Lake Bunyonyi where you will be able to view more wildlife.
Day 3: Cultural experience & Conservation Interventions
After a delicious breakfast, we will go for a community walk – visit the Batwa pygmies who will be providing singing and dancing entertainment, local banana beer brewing and fortune tellers. Return to the lodge for lunch and head to Nyamuriro Wetland Conservation Project in Masaka to join Nature Uganda in partnership with Wetlands Management Department (WMD) in supporting the Masaka Youth Development Organization, a community-based organization, to develop and provide eco-tourism services. Communities and schools have been empowered through education for sustainable development programmes. This initiative is intended to provide motivation to wetland edge communities to participate in the management and conservation of Nabajjuzi wetland. Other initiatives include the support to Masaka Municipality and local communities to develop and implement a Community-based Management Plan for Nabajjuzi Wetland. Highlights of the project include eco-tourism development, fish farming, tree planting and wetland edge gardening. We will also participate in tree planting activities in this area to help conserve the wetland and environment. Return to the lodge for relaxation, entertainment and overnight stay.
Day 4: Return to Kampala
After a good breakfast it is time to go back to Kampala/Entebbe again. The sight of rolling hills, evergreen vegetation, crater lakes, tea plantations, forest and savanna grasslands – the spectacular hills and scenery will make you reluctant to leave. En route, you will find local communities popular for making drums and crafts as well as a fruit market. Stopover, admire and maybe buy yourself some souvenirs. Passing the equator line will be another highlight of the journey -we will make a short stop to take photographs. We will arrive in Kampala in the evening.
- Gorilla Permit fees
- All park entrance fees
- Cultural entertainment fees
- Nature walk fees
- Conservation interventions fees
- Park Ranger fees
- All relevant Government Taxes
- Full Board Accommodation and en-route meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Full time English-speaking Driver/Guide
- Ground Transportation by a 4×4 safari vehicle
- Airport transfer.
What’s not included
- Visa Fees
- Personal Insurance
- Expenses of personal nature such as; drinks, tips, laundry, telephone, accommodation & meals not indicated in the itinerary and optional activities.
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What to bring?
- Wear stout shoes or walking boots suitable for steep muddy slopes.
- Gardening gloves are excellent in the forest when pulling on vines and nettles.
- Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat (as the weather can be unpredictable) and insect repellent.
- Carry packed lunch and water (porters are available to hire).
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Bwindi View Bandas
Institute of Tropical Forestry Guest House
Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite & Bunkhouse
Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp
Gorilla Forest Camp
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
Cloud’s Gorilla Lodge