BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. It takes approximately 8-9 hours drive from Entebbe or 1 hour by chartered flights. Its rainforests are more than 25,000 years old and are a haven for a vast array of flora and fauna. Bursting with 120 mammals, 350 bird species (including 23 Albertine Rift Endemics) and almost 400 species of plants. The altitudes of it’s mist covered mountains range from 1,160m -2,607m above sea level. Such great heights keep temperatures low particularly in the morning and at night, when you can expect it to be 70C - 200C. The coldest time of year in Bwindi is June and July. Rainforest not only in name, the total annual rainfall can be as much as 2,390mm, with the wet seasons running from March-May (short rains) and September-November (heavier rains, although sometimes just many hours of drizzle).
GORILLA TREKKING IN BWINDI NATIONAL PARK
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK is divided into 2 sectors, the north and south, where visiting both areas allows visitors the opportunity to visit various habituated Mountain Gorilla families. A visit to a mountain gorilla family is a life changing and humbling experience. Mountain gorillas are highly intelligent, good natured, and fascinating to observe. The silverback’s powerful presence is awe-inspiring, yet his calm demeanour clearly earns him the title of 'gentle giant'. People are equally struck by the tenderness and care that mothers show their young. And then, of course, there are the juveniles who spend almost every waking hour at play and never cease to make visitors smile. Treks to visit these magnificent creatures occur in the equatorial montane forests of the Virunga Mountains, a chain of volcanoes that cover D.R.C., Uganda and Rwanda (including Bwindi National Park). This is a geologically and equatorially unique area called the Albertine Rift. These rainforests receive a lot of rainfall, and therefore don’t be surprised if you get wet at some point.
RUHIJA AREA: 3 HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILIES
14 members: 4 Silverbacks, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 4 infants
Lead by Ndahura interestingly the second youngest Silverback
Usually it takes 2-3 years to habituate a family but these gorillas were habitutated after only 15 months.
BUHOMA AREA: 3 HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILIES
MUBARE GROUP FAMILY (AKA M GROUP)
11 members: 1 Silverback, 6 adult females, 1 sub-adult and 3 infants.
Lead by Kanyonyi. Kanyonyi was the only male infant to survive the infanticide habits of the previous dominant Silverback Ruhondeza, who clearly saw all young males as a threat.
This trek difficulty varies, originally located near the park headquarters at Buhoma, but are increasingly moving further away.
RUSHAGA AREA: 5 HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILIES
NSHONGI GROUP FAMILY
7 Members: 1 Silverback, 3 adult females, 1 sub-adult and 1 infant
Lead by Bweza. Named after the Nshongi River where they were first found. This trek requires an intermediate level of fitness
NKURINGO AREA: 1 HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILIES
NKURINGO GORILLA FAMILY
12 members: 2 Silverbacks, 1 Black Back, 2 adult females, 2 sub-adult females, 3 juveniles and two infants. Lead by Rafiki, his name meaning ‘friend’
This trek involves a fair level difficult – particularly as the terrain at the start and end, so thi is most likely the toughest of all families to see.