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BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST


Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994; the Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley on a 321km2 surface with an altitude of 1,160m - 2,607m above sea level.

Its mist-covered hillsides are enveloped by one of Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked following them in their Gorilla groups permitting memorable special Gorilla Trekking Activities/experience; while Other activities in and around the park include the hikes, Nature walks and Community Tourism/encounters with Uganda’s most remote bush men – the Batwa.

The Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993 and to date nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one for research. This biologically diverse region is well known for its five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward as well as its shelter to 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, small forest elephants, antelopes, 350 species of birds, 23 Albertine Rift endemics that are spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys. 

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park/Forest (UNESCO Natural Heritage site) has flourished throughout the ice age with half the World’s Population of the most endemic Wild species of Mountain Gorillas living in the green Tropical forested Valleys and Hills.The Forest has 4sectors hence Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga where the unique famous Gorilla Trekking activity takes place with the help of well trained professional armed Park Rangers – The 4 Sectors have specific number of Gorilla families headed by a Silverback to be tracked by a specific number of people in the group per day deriving same experience.

Gorilla Tracking is done throughout the year with permission of Uganda Wildlife Authority through permits which are issued to a specific number of clients showing location and Gorilla family to be tracked. All sectors have well established Accommodation Units that favor all categories of Clients thus Luxury, Moderate and Budget Clients. However, due to the high client demand to track Gorillas, Uganda Wildlife Authority advises all Tour Operators to book for tracking permits with a deposit of $150 and a balance of $450 to be completed 90days before the tracking date, as well due to seasonal client in flow in the country that varies because of Holiday timing and weather conditions back home, Uganda Wildlife Authority in Conjunction with Association of Uganda Tour Operators made it possible that for the Months of April, May and November specifically all clients interested in Tracking are entitled to attain permits at a discounted fee hence saving $250 on every permits by the clients compared to other months in the year where a permit costs $600. The Discounted rates are given during the low season to attract more clients during the period.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park at kinigi which has over 10 Gorilla Families giving a Chance to over 80 Gorilla Permits per day at the cost of $750. The permits in Rwanda are secured at $200 to confirm booking and final Amount settled 30days to the tracking date. The Virugas are a stretch of the Volcanoes that offer Hiking activities as well as nature Walks Though some clients will too target the Gorilla Naming ceremonies as well, read more; http://www.rdb.rw/kwitizina/

GORILLA FAMILIES  BRIEF NOTES  LOCATION
Mubare Gorilla Family> Oldest Habituated Gorilla family in Uganda since 1993
> The family started with 12members and grew to 18members led by Ruhondeza the Silver back later declining      the number due to Wild Gorilla Fights

Buhoma
 Habinyanja Gorilla Family> Was first visited by Tourists in 1999
> First sighted at the Swamp hence its identity meaning water body in local Language
> Has lots of drama & Commotion struggling for dominancy among silverbacks and leadership.
> Females are led by a shrewd Alpha called Kisho
Buhoma
Rushegura Gorilla Family> Habituated in 2002 after one Silverback from Habinyanja decided to break away forming this family
> It’s a Calm family – Usually crossed to DRC in the past and returned
  Sometimes wander in the Lodge gardens proximity to the forest
Buhoma
Bitukura Gorilla Family> Habituated in 2007 after being sited at the river
> It’s process of Habituation was easy – it was first visited after 15 months of Habituation
> Peaceful with 4 silverbacks and playful Juveniles sharing a close bond
> Often have close meetings/get together
Ruhija
Nkuringo Gorilla Family> Launched in 2004 – identity meaning a round Hill in Rukiga Local Language
> Habituated due to the problems they were bringing in the community – destroying crops
> Led by a silverback( Nkuringo) which died in 2008 leaving 2silverbacks in a group
   2008 it expanded with the birth of twins – Muhozi and Katungi of which unfortunately Katungi died at age of    1.5years old.
Nkuringo
Nshongi Gorilla Family> Largest ever habituated and launched in 2009
> Named after river Nshongi closely where it was first sited
> Led by one of the youngest silverbacks in the family – Very interesting
Rushaga
Busingye Gorilla Family> Newest – opened in 2011 after break off from kahungye who was suspected to break up after making 3      Silverbacks in group making it a big familyRushaga
Oruzogo Gorilla Family> Started receiving Vistors in 2011
> Has 22 members in the group with playful Visitors – too entertaining to clients
Ruhija
Bweza Gorilla Family> Formed in 2013 after breaking away from Nshongi
> 7 strong members with 2 juveniles
 Rushaga
Mishaya Gorilla Family> 7 Members with Mishaya as a fighter
> Recently attacked and battled with yet another un habituated group causing injuries that were treated
 Rushaga
Kahungye Gorilla Family> Opened for Vistors in 2011
> Spilt recently forming new Busingye group in 2011
> Revealed around a hill in Rushaga hence their identity
 Rushaga
Kyaguriro Gorilla Family> Launched in 2012 after breaking off from Kahungye group. Rushaga

Gorilla Families and their Location Volcanoes National Park

GORILLA FAMILIES  BRIEF NOTES  LOCATION
SusaVery entertaining families – Some families always crossed to Uganda in recent years till when Rwanda Authority revised means of creating a Boundary to stop them from crossing of which Uganda has currently revised the same idea through Uganda Wildlife Authority to prevent Gorillas from cross bordering.

They have playful Juveniles  
Kinigi
Umubano-Kinigi
Amahoro-Kinigi
Sabinyo-Kinigi
Agasha-Kinigi
Hirwa-Kinigi
Kwitonda-Kinigi
Karisimbi-Kinigi
Ugenda-Kinigi
Bwengye-Kinigi

Nature Walks/Hiking/ Birding

Gorilla trekking gives an opportunity to people who have passion for hiking – the Park lies on the varied Topography full of Hills and valleys underlying 5 rivers that are habitants and a source of water to elephants, Antelopes, a good number of primates species such as small Monkeys, Chimpanzees, as well as Montane forest Birds including the 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics such as spectacular shelley’s crimson Wing and African Green Broad Bill

Cultural Encounters – The Batwa People

Engage in afternoon Community walks and Bicycle cycling through the villages as a way to explore the fare tales of Batwa communities – Listen to the stories as you watch the black smith. Visit the craft shops and watch the Vibrant Gorilla Dance group comically present.

Accommodation Units in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park/ Forest

LUXURY / HIGH-END MEDIUM / MODERATE BUDGET LOCATION
Buhoma Lodge
Silverback Lodge Buhoma Community Rest Camp Buhoma
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest CampLake Kitandaara LodgeGorilla Conservation Camp (CTPH)
Buhoma
Mahogany Springs CampGorilla ResortBwindi BandasBuhoma
Volcanoes Safari Bwindi LodgeEngangi LodgeNshongi CampBuhoma
Clouds Mountain Gorilla LodgeNkuringo Gorilla Camp-Nkuringo
-Chameleon Hill Lodge-Nkuringo
Ruhija Gorilla Safari LodgeRuhija Gorilla Friends Resort and CampsiteRuhija Community Rest CampRuhija
-Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp-Ruhija
-Chameleon Hill Lodge-Rushaga
-Gorilla Safari Lodge-Rushaga
Eco Places Africa Safaris