Other reasons to visit Bwindi national park apart from gorilla tracking
Before we go into the nitty gritty of why you should visit Bwindi national park apart from for Gorilla trekking, allow us to give you a snapshot of what Bwindi is about. Bwindi impenetrable rainforest is one of the largest forests that Uganda located in the south western part of the country. This forest occupies an area of more than 331 square kilometers, with temperatures that ranges between 7-20 degrees Celsius. The forest experiences heavy rains during March and April and also during late September and November. The rest of the year is dry thus allowing for gorilla trekking and other activities.
Bwindi is a beautiful ancient rainforest and it is a home to over 326 endangered mountain gorillas therefore a home to more than half the world’s entire population of gorillas. More to the gorillas, there are also more than 30 elephants, over 120 different species of mammals 7 of which are diurnal primates and for those that love birds, you can find over 360 different bird species. Bwindi Forest is also home to 200 butterfly species and 324 species of trees and 10 species are endemic to that region of Uganda. Mountain gorilla tracking is the most popular activity in Bwindi, however there are other reasons to visit Bwindi national park and these include;
Go for hiking/ nature walks in Bwindi park.
Hiking in Bwindi is only good for the physically fit because the forest is hilly and thus some treks take you to hike steep hills. When you visit Bwindi national park you can opt to participate in the different nature walks available. These are guided walks through the forests that allow you to hike as you learn about the flora and fauna of the forest whilst viewing excellent sceneries of the forest. Animals you can expect to see while on a nature walk include; chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons and so much more. There are a number of trails that you can consider taking and some of these include, the water falls trail, ivy river trail, the habiyanja trail and the Buhoma –Nkuringo trail. The Buhoma Nkuringo trail takes about 2 to 3 hours and it connects the Main Bwindi area with the southern sector of Bwindi.
In Uganda Bwindi park is one of the best place to go birdwatching because it is home to over 300 different species of birds including 22 Albertine Endemics. Bird watching guides are available and will accompany you in the forest. Some of the birds you should expect to see in Bwindi include; African Emerald cuckoo, the short-tailed warbler, there are Red Headed Blue-Bill, the White-tailed blue flycatchers and many more. The best trail for bird watching in Bwindi would be the Mubwindi trail and the Buhoma waterfall trail.
The adventurous ones, can opt to go for a cycling or mountain biking trip which takes place around and in Bwindi Forest. You can go biking in the areas of buhoma and Ruhija and also Nkuringo. Or you can opt to go cycling along the 13 km trail from the park headquarters to Ivy River. Watch out for plenty of wildlife along the way to include; Red tailed Monkeys, bushbucks, black and white colobus monkeys and so much more. Mountain biking is coordinated by a Community based organization in Bwindi. The proceeds obtained from cycling go back to the local people who live close to Bwindi.
The Batwa experience and cultural tour is the most popular cultural trip for those visiting Bwindi national park. There are basically 2 groups of people who live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park whose cultures you might find interesting. These therefore include; the Bakiga and the Batwa people who are the indigenous people of the region originally living inside the forest. Though they were forced out for conservation purposes. You can visit their local communities, interact with the local, the Batwa being entertainers could entertain you through their music and dance. Experience the life of the forest gatherers and learn more about how they used to survive in the forest. The cultures and traditions of people living in these areas are extremely unique and very interesting. You can also opt to visit their craft shops to buy some souvenirs.
Agricultural farm visits and tours are also available for you to explore.
Mountain gorilla habituation Experience.
Apart from gorilla tracking, you can opt to go experience the process of habituating gorillas for gorilla tracking. Gorilla habituation experience is the process through which a group to park rangers study a particular gorilla family to learn more about their characteristics as they prepare to open up the family for daily gorilla tracking. This is done on a daily basis for over 2 months and everything behaviours and characteristics are recorded . Participate in habituation which also allows you to learn more about Gorillas and also document individual gorillas. This allows you 4 hours with the gorillas.