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Exploring Bwindi Forest: Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees & the Batwa

Have you ever heard about the origins of the mighty King Kong? These fearsome great apes are only found in the Bwindi and Virunga mountains of Africa. The largest population of the mountain gorillas lives in Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a national park in South Western Uganda, a small country in East Africa.

Today Bwindi is one of the most popular safari parks to visit in East Africa. Located a few kilometres from the Virungas, Bwindi Forest is an amazing home to the mountain gorillas. According to the 2012 Gorilla Census,  there are over 400 mountain gorillas living within the impenetrable Forest.

Bwindi is the most popular place for gorilla trekking expeditions in Africa. The park attracts thousands of travelers who visit Africa to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Over the past 20 years, many tourists have traveled to East Africa to see these amazing creatures surviving only in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though most renowned for mountain gorillas, the Bwindi Forest has also got other wildlife species which include; forest elephants, lions, monkeys, bird species and many more.

Bwindi Forest

Many tourists who come for gorilla safaris to Uganda opt for different trips ranging from 3 Days to 3 Weeks adventures that include several adventures including game viewing in Uganda’s savanna parks, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking, bird watching, nature trekking etc. If you are looking for a trip that involves multiple gorilla tracking, a 4 Days Bwindi Gorilla Safari or a 5 Days Gorilla Safari is the best trip for you!

If you are on budget or with less time,  enjoy the 3 days Bwindi Gorilla Safari into the impenetrable rain forest.

How a Gorilla Trek is Organised

Day one is always involved with a long drive to Bwindi Forest. Tourists are picked from Entebbe Airport and transferred to Bwindi impenetrable national park via Masaka – Mbarara Highway. You will enjoy the scenic drive as you traverse the forests and the vegetation zones along the way. Along the way have a stopover at the Equator in order to enjoy the photos and the experiments. You will also buy some crafts since they are displayed everywhere. The guide will drive take you to an African restaurant where you will enjoy lunch with many different types of food. Later on you will proceed to the park where you will arrive in the evening. Check in at the lodge where you will have your dinner and overnight as you prepare for gorilla tracking the next day.

The second day, is always the day to track the endangered mountain gorillas within an allocated gorilla group. After an early morning breakfast leave the lodge with packed lunch and later proceed to the forest were you will start your search for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. The trek normally takes a period ranging from 30 minutes to a full day hike looking for the gorillas. Be prepared and physically fit given that  the search for the mountain gorillas within the forest takes you up through various hills and valleys. Once these primates are found, you will be given one hour to watch these unique gorillas. You have the chance to take photographs! During the hike, you have a chance to see other animals that include; elephants, monkeys birds,. You will later return to the lodge for a late lunch or take a community walk where you will visit the neighbouring local communities in Bwindi. The Batwa Experience is one of the most popular community tour taking you into the community of the Batwa people, short pygmy people who used to live with the gorillas in the impanetrable forest. You will enjoy their traditional dances and cultures during this tour! In the evening, you will return to the lodge for dinner and an overnight.

On this third day after breakfast , you will check out from the lodge, you will transfer with your packed lunch. During the drive back, enjoy the scenic views as you travel. You can have a stopover at Mpambire drum makers where you will have some experiments about the making of the drums. Later proceed to Kampala where you will be taken to the airport for your departure flight or transferred to the hotel for your overnight and dinner.

Exploring Nyungwe Primates Forest

The popular Nyungwe Forest is a true rain forest in South Western Rwanda. It is most famous for hosting chimpanzees, our closest cousins. This tropical rain forest occupies 1,015 sq. kilometers and adjoins the Kibira National Park of Burundi forming a large contagious forest.

The park typically receives an excess of 2, 000 mm of precipitation annually.

Nyungwe Forest is a prime destination for primate safaris in Africa. The park protects 13 primate species that can be easily seen within the park. Chimpanzees are the most sought after animals in the park and the park hosts about 500 – 1000 individuals.  The monkey population is also high including the acrobatic Rwenzori colobus and the localized L’Hoest’s monkey. Nyungwe also a suitable destination to birders, botanists and walkers with about 130km walking trails as well as boasting as the region’s only suspended canopy walk area.

Chimpanzee Tracking

This renowned tropical rain forest is one of the few places where you can see chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees can easily be tracked at any time.

Nyungwe Chimpanzee

Located in South Rwanda, this is one of the oldest forests in Africa, which is one of the reason it boasts such a high level of diversity. Scientific opinion is that Nyungwe, along with other forests of the Albertine Rift, was largely unaffected by the drying up of the lowland areas during the last ice age, and thus become a refuge for forest plants and animals which have subsequently recolonised areas such as the Congo Basin.

One of the central planks in ORTPN’s tourism – diversification programme is Nyungwe National Park, 980 square kilometers of hilly jungle cloaked terrain in the country’s South – West, o the boarder with Burundi and the DRC, and surely one of the undiscovered gems of African environmental tourism.

Nyugwe Canopy Walk

Ranging between 1,600 and 2,950 meters in altitude, the park is contiguous with Kibira National Park in Burundi, together with the two protected areas form the largest block of forest in East Africa. Nyungwe was originally set aside as a reserve in 1933, which although relatively effective, still saw it lose about 20 per cent as its area by 1984, when a coordinated forest-protection plan was implemented. It was elevated to national park status in March 2004 and is famously known now for primates trekking in Rwanda.

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5 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Uganda

When it comes to safaris in Africa, most tourists are left to think a number of things and may lure or discourage them from realizing their dreams. However, if you have always dreamt of that one country that rewards travel endeavors with life time experiences then you need not to look any further than Uganda. There are a million reasons why you this incredible country should be a must in your bucket list and among others include;

Its spectacular scenery

Uganda has for long been described as the Pearl of Africa for many reasons. It is that one country where you will find all what African continent has in offer. Its most alluring nature is what makes it one of the most sought after safari destinations in the world and while on your safari, don’t miss to explore most of its wildlife species that thrive in 10 of its spectacular national parks (Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Kibale National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Mount Elgon National Park and The Rwenzori Mountains National Park). These splendid wilderness areas feature a wide range of wildlife right from the big game-the African elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards plus several savanna grassland species, birds, primates including the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys a mention but a few and not to forget spectacular water bodies including Lakes like Lake Victoria the world’s renowned fresh water Lake with the splendid Ssese Islands where over 84 islands all confined, Lake Bunyonyi-one of the world’s deepest Lakes, rivers especially the source of the mighty River Nile, tropical rainforests and distinct vegetation zones all of which feature as a few most exceptional attractions on their own and inhabit a number of wildlife for you to explore while on your safari in Uganda. If you are looking for unusual experiences then this is the best choice you can make in life and you won’t regret after.

Uganda is a multi cultural country

Besides the unique national parks, Uganda is popular for its diverse ethnic groups each offering unique cultural experiences. Lake Kyoga make up the northern border area for the Bantu speaking group and this includes the Baganda and many other tribes. As you head to the north, you will find the Acholi and Lango; to the east you will find the Iteso and the Karamojong, Bagishu around the Mount Elgon slopes and the Ankole group in western region. Due to diversity in cultures, over 40 languages are spoken in Uganda however, English is the official language and others speak Kiswahili while others speak Luganda. Each tribal group presents unique cultural and traditional practices and Uganda is popular for its unique cultural experiences. While on cultural safari, don’t miss the thrilling dances, music performance from the Batwa pygmies, Bakiga, Baganda or pay a visit to Ndere cultural centre for variety of cultural dances and performances or taste the local dish.

Gorilla haven

When it comes to Uganda safaris, gorilla trekking is undeniably one of the most sought after experiences by most tourists. Over 480 mountain gorillas call this spectacular country their home and unlike other gorilla destinations, gorilla trekking in Uganda is conducted in two national parks-Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park all in southwestern part of the country. A face to face encounter with these dramatic creatures in the wild is such a magical experience that comes once in a lifetime. To be part of this lifetime adventure, you only need $600 to secure your permit and your dreams would have been achieved.

Eco tourism experiences

With eco-tourism, you get opportunity to enjoy untapped destinations that still offer fresh experiences. While on safari in Uganda, this should be one of the experiences that you shouldn’t miss out. It takes you through a number of activities among others include community walks, nature guided walks, birding, forest walks, mountain gorilla trekking, wildlife viewing, chimpanzee trekking, primate watching, scenic viewing a mention but a few. The major destinations for you to realize this kind of experience in Uganda include the 10 national parks, wildlife reserves, community wetlands, forest reserves, cultural centers and many others.

Uganda is the most hospitable nation

Imagine a destination where nationals are not welcoming and full of arrogant people, will you even enjoy your vacation probably you won’t. However, Uganda is that one country in Africa with warm welcoming and hospitable people and you will certainly enjoy your holiday with them. You will free interact with your guides, local residents and even make some purchase for their locally made products in most of their eco-tourism enterprises while on safari in one of the national parks.

In conclusion, there are a million reasons why Uganda should be a must for you to visit and with a few that have been listed above, we believe that you will have memorable experiences while on your safari in Africa. Enjoy your holiday with us!