WALKING SAFARI, HIKING ADVENTURE ACROSS BWINDI FOREST
A walking safari across Bwindi forest is guided walk within a protected area from one sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park to another. Bwindi Impenetrable national park is found in south western Uganda and is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites with a lot of wildlife. It’s well-known as a home to half of the world’s population of endangered Mountain gorillas. Bwindi has four sectors where the parks activities can be accessed. These are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga. A walking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park is the best way to explore the forest, get close to nature and its inhabitants.
This Walking safari allow visitors feel one with the in the jungle away from the safari vehicles. Getting close to animals in their natural habitat and seeing how beautiful the forest is at a close range is a once in a life time experience. A Walking safari across Bwindi forest last for 2-6 hours depending on the trail taken and the physical ability of the trekkers. Visitors are escorted by local guides and park rangers that are armed to scare away dangerous animals and ensure your maximum safety while enjoying forest walk.
In the four sectors of Bwindi there are walking trails that were developed to allow visitors explore the forest on foot. Some of these trails are River Ivi trail and Kashasha river hiking trail. This Buhoma-Nkuringo hiking trails take you through the deep parts of the Bwindi forest and across the forest, starting the walking safari from either Buhoma the northern sector to Nkuringo in southern sector of the park and vice versa.
These two hiking trails in Bwindi impenetrable national park last 4-6 hours depending on the trail taken. The treks usually start in one sector of the park and end in another sector. Trekking through these walking trails is strenuous but enjoyable as you spot many animals and bird species along the way. On each of the trails, visitors are escorted by experienced and informative guides who answer all questions asked. The visitors need to be physically fit and everyone has a chance to choose a trail according to their strength. Some of the hiking trails through Bwindi forest include;
The Ivi River Trail
The Ivi river trail is 14km in distance and lasts about 6.5 hours. this trail takes visitors through the park starting at either Buhoma or Nkuringo park headquarters. Visitor hike up the hills and down crossing Ivy river through an old jungle road. The trail passes an area called Mukempunu meaning a place of pigs where wild pigs are often seen. The trail rewards visitors with breath taking views of rift valley and also see how local people go about their day to day activities. Some wildlife like monkeys and bush pigs can be seen along the trail with chances to spot a lots of bird species.
Kashasha River Trail.
Kashasha river trail is a moderate trail that takes 6-7 hours or more starting in Buhoma sector and ending in Nkuringo sector or vice versa. The trail goes up to end on an altitude of 600m above sea level. Kashasha river trail is one of the most interesting trails you may enjoy because it offers the best experience in the misty forest environment with magnificent views and lots of bird species. The trail goes through community land before joining the park’s buffer zone. Along the trail, visitors pass through a junction connecting two rivers, river ivi and Kashasha river and this trail is one of the best trails in the park.
The Walking safari through Bwindi allows visitors discover what the park has to offer like the amazing waterfalls, beautiful vegetation and the parks wildlife namely mountain gorillas, forest elephants, monkeys and more. For bird lovers walking safaris in Bwindi are the best to see the Albertine rift endemic birds and other bird species including White tailed ant thrush, Handsome francolin, African emerald cuckoo, cinnamon chested bee eater, bar tailed trogan, yellow white eye, mountain masked apalis and many others.
Visitors interested in walking safaris can also visit the local communities to interact with them and see how they carry out the day to day activities. You can visit the local people including the batwa (pygmies) who were the first inhabitants of Bwindi forest before they were chased out in 1991 as the government declared it a national park. The walking safaris allow visitors discover the hidden features and beauty of Bwindi impenetrable forest. Amazing views of the surrounding areas like Lake Bunyonyi, Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga mountains can be got on a clear day.
Walking safaris in Bwindi are done during the day and depending on the trail take the treks can last up to a full day. Visitors can engage themselves in other activities like gorilla trekking, bird watching, cultural experiences and more. Visitors are advised to pack some items that will be helpful during the treks like strong walking shoes, sunscreen, enough drinking water, rain jacket, walking stick, energy giving snacks and more.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has all ranges of accommodation budget, midrange and luxury in all its sectors. Some of these are Buhoma lodge, Sanctuary gorilla forest camp, Bwindi gorilla lodge, Rushaga gorilla camp, Broadbill forest camp and more. The park can be accessed by both air and road transport. It takes one 8-9hours to reach Bwindi by road and about 3 hours using air transport. The park is open for visitors all through the year but the best time for walking safaris is in the dry season when the trails are not muddy and slippery. The dry season is in the months of June to September and December to February.