Frequent questions about Bwindi impenetrable national park : How many gorillas are there in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to around 400 mountain gorillas, which is almost half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas live in family groups and they are habituated to be familiar to humans to allow visitors to get quite close to them during guided treks. Keep in mind that the number of gorillas can change over time as gorillas move, die or new ones born, so it’s best to check with the park authorities for the most recent information.
What is the cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest varies depending on nationality categories including Foreign non-residents, Foreign residents and East African citizens. For foreign non-residents, the cost is currently $700 per per person, while for foreign residents, the cost is $600 per person. For East African citizens and Ugandan citizens, the cost is significantly lowest at 250,000 UGX per person.
It is important to note that these prices are subject to change, so it’s best to check with the Uganda Wildlife Authority for the most up-to-date pricing. Keep in mind that, the permits are limited in numbers per day and they sell out quickly especially during peak seasons, so it’s best to book in advance to ensure you get a permit.
It’s worth mentioning that the permit fees for Gorilla trekking goes towards conservation efforts to protect the gorillas and their habitat, so no refund is offered if you missed out on the experience after payment. You can feel good knowing that your money is going towards a good cause.
How to access Bwindi impenetrable forest
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is accesses by road. You can take a bus or rent a car from Kampala or Entebbe, and then make your way to the park. The drive takes about 8-9 hours from Kampala/Entebbe. The roads are quite well maintained, but some sections can be rough, so it is best to have a 4WD vehicle. Another way to access Bwindi forest is by air. You can take a flight from Entebbe to one of the airstrips near the park including Kihihi or Kisoro airstrips, these airstrips are about 2 hours’ drive to the park. Taking a flight to Bwindi forest is an option to save time and avoid the long drive from Kampala.
Lastly, you can take a guided tour from Kampala or Entebbe. This is a great option if you want to have everything arranged for you.
You can also reach Bwindi forest through Kigali. It is actually closer to drive from Kigali to Bwindi as the drive is barely between 4 to 6 hours as compared to driving from Entebbe. This is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the area.
What conservation efforts are in place to protect the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
Conserving the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a top priority, and there are several efforts in place to protect these amazing animals. These conservation efforts have helped stabilize and even increase the population of gorillas in the park, and it is worth to mention that the park also has strict rules for visitors when on a Gorilla trek, to ensure the safety of gorillas and visitors alike
Gorilla tracking – All visitors who want to track gorillas in Bwindi must first purchase a permit, the revenue of which goes towards conservation efforts. The park also limits the number of visitors who can track gorillas each day to minimize the impact on the gorillas.
- Anti poaching – The park works closely with local communities to combat poaching and illegal hunting of gorillas and other wildlife. Rangers also patrol the park to deter poachers and protect the gorillas.
- Habitat protection – The park also works to protect the gorillas’ habitat by managing the forest’s resources and monitoring the health of the ecosystem.
- Research and monitoring: Researchers are studying the gorillas in the park to learn more about their behavior, health, and population trends. This information is used to inform conservation efforts and management decisions.
- Community conservation – The park also works with local communities to promote conservation and sustainable development. This includes educating communities about the importance of gorillas and other wildlife, and providing alternative livelihoods to reduce the pressure on the forest’s resources.
Can I enter Bwindi Forest without a guide?
Technically speaking, you can enter Bwindi Impenetrable Forest without a guide, however, note that it is not recommended. The forest is dense and hard to navigate and easy to get lost. Also, there are certain areas of the park that are off-limits to visitors without a guide.
Having a guide can greatly enhance your experience in the forest. They have knowledge of the area, the wildlife, and the culture, and they can help you spot things you might have missed on your own. They also know how to keep you safe and how to minimize your impact on the environment.
All visitors are required to have a guide when going for Gorilla trekking. The guides are trained and licensed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and know the area and behavior of gorillas, so they can ensure safety for both visitors and gorillas.
While it’s technically possible to enter the forest without a guide, it’s definitely not the best idea. It’s much better to have a guide who can help you make the most of your visit and ensure your safety.
How difficult is gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest?
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest can be quite challenging, the forest is dense and steep, and you will be hiking through thick undergrowth, tangled vines, and steep slopes. It is quite a workout, but it’s worth a life time to come face-to-face with a family of gorillas. The difficulty level of the trek depends on the location of the gorillas and it can vary from easy to strenuous, some families are found in relatively easy terrain while others in more challenging areas. However, the guides are well trained and know the terrain well, they will be there to help you along the way and make sure you are safe. If you are not feeling up for the challenge, you can always opt for a shorter and easier trek.
How long does a gorilla trek in Bwindi Forest take?
A gorilla trek in Bwindi Forest can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, it really depends on the location of the gorillas on that particular day. Once the park rangers and guides locate the gorillas, the actual trek to reach them can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the distance and the terrain. The gorillas move around in the forest, so the location of the gorillas can change, and the guides will have to track them down. Then, once you reach the gorillas, you will have one hour to spend with them, observing and taking photos.
How old do you have to be to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi?
You must be 15 year old and above to be allowed to trek gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest. However, there are some situations when the wildlife can allow a child below 15 to trek, but it’s important to keep in mind that it can be physically demanding and the terrain can be challenging. For the park to allow a child to trek, they consider the age of the children and their ability to withstand the long hike and the weather conditions, as it can be hot and humid in the forest. They must be able to handle the physical demands of the hike, and be able to understand and follow the park’s rules and regulations, such as keeping a safe distance from the gorillas and not making loud noises.
It’s always best to check with the park authorities and your tour operator before you book, so they can advise you on what’s best for your situation. The most important thing to keep in mind is the safety of the gorillas and visitors is of utmost importance.
Are there any rules for visitors when on a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
There are a few important rules that visitors must follow when on a Gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to ensure the safety of both visitors and gorillas. It’s important to understand and follow these rules, as gorillas are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable. By following these rules, you can help ensure the safety of the gorillas and other visitors, as well as help preserve the natural habitat of the gorillas.
Your guide will explain the rules and regulations before your trek, and will also give a detailed briefing on the do’s and don’ts while on the trek. It’s always best to listen to your guide and follow their instructions, they know the gorillas and the terrain well and will keep you safe throughout the experience. These rules include:
- Maintaining a safe distance from the gorillas, usually 7 meters
- Keeping noise levels low and avoid sudden movements
- Not eating or smoking in the presence of gorillas
- Not touching or getting too close to the gorillas
- Not using flash photography
- Staying in your assigned group and following the guide’s instructions at all times
- Not leaving any trash in the forest
- Not going to the gorilla family with an illness or open wounds
When is the best time of day to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest?
The best time of day to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest really depends on the gorillas themselves and their daily routines. Gorillas usually wake up early in the morning and start their day with feeding and moving around, they take a rest in the afternoon and resume feeding again in the evening.
That being said, the park rangers and guides usually go out early in the morning to locate the gorillas and make sure the visitors get to see them at their most active time. Morning treks are typically more successful because the gorillas are less likely to be resting in the trees, and the light is better for photography.
It is worth mentioning that the gorillas move around in the forest daily, so the location of the gorillas can change, and the guides will have to track them down, this is why the timing of the trek can vary.
In any case, whether you choose to go in the morning or the afternoon, be prepared to spend the whole day in the forest, as it can take a while to find the gorillas, and the trek itself can last up to 8 hours.