Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Source: Cable & Grain
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be accessed by vehicle from the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the capital of Kampala or from Kabale town. During the rainy seasons from March to May and September to November, a 4x4 vehicle is needed to traverse the Ugandan roads. An easier option is to fly in to one of the airfields inside park.
Gorilla treks take several hours of walking through dense forest, often in slippery conditions. The guides are expert trackers, and can spot seemingly invisible tell-tale signs of primates moving through the undergrowth. They also provide fascinating insights into the lives and habits of mountain gorillas during the precious one hour that tourists get to spend with a group, once one of the habituated groups has been tracked down.
Tourists who simply want to hike along the many trails through the forests are also required to be accompanied by a guide.
The Munyanga River Trail is ideally suited for visitors who are pressed for time, and travels along the edges of the forest, where birds, primates, ferns, orchids and butterflies will be encountered. The trail ends at three wonderfully clear waterfalls. Longer hikes include the Rushurra Trail, which showcases panoramic views over the western rift valley floor, the Virunga and Rwenzori mountains and Lake Edward. The Muzabajirro Trail, Ruizi River Trail and the Bamboo Trail are just as spectacular.
The park has worked hand in hand with the surrounding communities to preserve one of the most ecologically diverse areas in East Africa.
Tourists can support these communities by taking illuminating walks with the Batwa Pygmies who were the original keepers of the forest, or by visiting the villages or community hospital.
The most popular times to visit the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are during the drier seasons from June to September and December to February, as these are when conditions are easiest for gorilla trekking. During the low season, tourists can take advantage of lower rates for permits.