Cultural Encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Cultural Encounters bwindi

Cultural Encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Cultural encounters are mostly done in the evenings after hectic gorilla trekking in the morning; you can participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups, village walks, blacksmith visits, and craft shops. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park. The activity allows you to explore the unique cultures of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities who are the traditional inhabitants of the areas covered famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park. The highly educative, memorable cultural tours in Bwindi can take you through various community groups such as;

Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association
buhoma-community-tours

The association is strategically located opposite the stunning hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with mist swirling over the summits, is a truly dramatic setting for your cultural tour. The three-hour village walk begins with a visit to the handcraft shop which sells handmade artifacts such as fabrics, beeswax candles and wood carvings, all produced by talented local craftsmen and women. The tour allows you to enjoy the wonderful performances in form of songs; dance presented by the neighboring Batwa community. You will also meet the traditional healer who treats the sick with medicinal plants, and the teachers and pupils of the local primary school. Finally, you can learn how bananas are used to make juice. Note that Proceeds from the tour will be used to support community development projects such as a secondary school, maize mill and microfinance circle, and the Batwa receive all proceeds from their performances.

Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)

This is set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with dramatic views towards Congo. Nkuringo is a wonderful place to visit for those who want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery.A visit to Nicholas the blacksmith rewinds time to the Stone Age with the sound of sheepskin bellows spewing air into a charcoal-fired furnace, from which Nicholas hooks out red hot metal and hammers it into tools; from knives to machetes. Sesilia welcomes you into her home – a series of traditional huts housing a millet-grinding stone, cooking pots and apparatus for distilling local waragi banana gin. Pena is the village´s traditional healer who uses native plants to make tea, ointments and herbal powders that cure a range of ailments.

NCCDF supports local artisans and the local Batwa community through its crafts shop. They train orphans who perform at a nearby lodge, and can make arrangements for visitors to sponsor them.

Buniga Forest Nature Walk

The walk gives you the opportunity to discover the gorgeous hidden treasures of Buniga Forest and among the treasures include the diverse flora and fauna on the forest trail. The activity is done under the guidance of expert regional guides who afford you excellent understanding of nature’s system at the forest and surrounding areas.

Buniga Forest Reserve is one of the three remaining pocket forests adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Due to the increased encroachment on the forest and associated loss of biodiversity and other forest resources, the trail was created by Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) to protect the forest and manage it for ecotourism activities. As well as protecting this precious forest, proceeds from the tour also benefit surrounding communities, and encourage them to actively participate in its conservation.

Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)

Cultural encounter with this prominent cultural association gives you the opportunity to learn a new skill during your trip to Uganda. After participating in long day activities such as tracking gorillas or bird watching, you can visit the Nkuringo Cultural Centre to enjoy one of fascinating cultural evening workshops. While at the site, you have the choice to choose which activity to learn. The range of activities include African cooking, traditional weaving, or – for those who are feeling a little more energetic- dancing and drumming workshops are available.

You can also decide to take one of highly interesting village walks during the day to meet the residents, learn about life in Rubuguri and participate in a crafts demonstration. You will then visit the primary school to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake so don’t miss the experience.

What is important to know is that, NCC creates employment opportunities for local residents and a percentage of profits are used for community projects such as IT classes and a stage and costumes for local dance groups. Therefore, you visit to the cultural Centre will allow the locals to earn living.

Nyundo Community Eco-Trails

Nyundo’s residents were firsthand witnesses to climate change. They cultivated crops on the hillsides bordering Bwindi Impenetrable forest, but noticed erosion, changing rain patterns and the disappearance of the characteristic mist. Ultimately, their crops began to fail. The community decided to protect the land and allow the forest to grow back, and now the trees, the rains and the mist have all returned.

Nyundo Community Eco Trails were developed by community members as a sustainable alternative to agriculture, poaching and logging; providing both an income and an incentive to conserve the forest.

On King Bakyara’s Waterfall Trail, enjoy spectacular scenery surrounding a waterfall where only kings may bathe! Visit a blacksmith, a local banana beer distillery, a beekeeper, a cattle farm and a banana plantation.

During the Traditional Skills Trail, learn about millet-bread preparation, yoghurt making and craft making. Visit a traditional birth attendant and traditional homesteads, and meet the friendly villagers.

Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)

Conservation through Public Health is a grassroots organization that has improved the health of wildlife, livestock and some of the poorest people in Africa. In Buhoma, visitors can take a tour of the Gorilla Health Centre to learn about their health and how diseases are transmitted between wild animals and livestock, as well as other conservation issues addressed by CTPH.

Tour the Village Aquaponics project where you will learn about sustainable methods of farming fish, which is then sold to local lodges. If booked in advance, CTPH staff can also offer presentations on conservation issues in Bwindi and guided tours of local communities to demonstrate how improving the health and livelihoods of people and their livestock supports the conservation of gorillas.

Lodging is available at the Gorilla Conservation Camp; all fees support the work of CTPH. There are also volunteer opportunities and working holidays which contribute directly to all these activities.

Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)

This can be reached by rustic roads clinging to steep hillsides, this small community makes up for its isolation with the warm welcome of its inhabitants. The Village Walk takes you past a swamp to a small homestead, where you will have the chance to meet the residents and learn about life in Rubuguri, as well as participate in a crafts demonstration. You will then visit the lively St Peter´s Primary school to meet the pupils and teachers, and to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake – and as the barefooted students leap several feet into the air to the rhythm of joyful songs you will be able to decide for yourself if they achieve their goal.

Tourist Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

birds in bwindi
birds in bwindi

Bird Watching in Bwindi, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is dubbed Bird watchers safe haven in Uganda. The park boasts of 350 bird species and houses 90% of all Albertine Rift Valley Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in single day especially in the bird endowed areas of Ruhija and Buhoma. Birding activities mostly done early morning in the park take place along the main trail, such as the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija region.. Read More

biking-bwindi
biking-bwindi

Cycling/Moutain Biking in Bwindi Mountain biking is one of the interesting activities developing in Bwindi. This follows a well-established trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The six-seven hour round trip departs in the morning, and is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp under the “Ride for a Woman “community development initiative. Read More

nature walks bwindi
nature walks bwindi

Hiking/Nature Walks In Bwindi, For those interested in nature walks and hiking, Bwindi Impenetrable national park has six (6) fantastic nature hiking trails. On all these 6 trails, one has rare chance to discover the wonders inhabited in the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable forest park. Along the trails, visitors are usually rewarded with the views and sights of the several bird species, butterflies, trees species, and some other primate species. Arrange at the reception for a guide. Read More

gorillas in bwindi
gorillas in bwindi

Mountain Gorilla Trekking, Mountain gorilla trekking is the most rewarding tourism activity done at the park .The Mountain Gorillas are also star attraction in Bwindi and these have been habituated since April 1993.Spaning in an area of 321kms of forested land, Bwindi is separated into four (4) gorilla tracking regions including Buhoma trekking region, Ruhija sector, Rushaga region and Nkuringo sectors. In all the gorilla trekking regions, gorilla trekking experience stats very early in the morning when trekkers report to the park headquarters for an early morning registration and briefing from the senior rangers about the rule and regulations to follow when tracking the mountain gorillas in forested areas of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Read More

gorilla-trekking-bwindi-uganda

Mountain Gorillas, Mountain Gorillas are the major tourist’s attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is natural home to an approximated total number of about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), making it to be housing almost half of all the remaining mountain gorillas in the globe thriving in the wild. The other half of the mountain gorilla population is housed in the nearby Virunga Mountains distributed in three national parks of Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo.

birds-bwindi-forest-np

Birds, Bwindi Impenetrable forest park provides some of the finest/the best montane forest bird watching destination in the great African continent, and safe birding destination for any birder visiting Uganda. There are an approximated three hundred and fifty ( 350) bird species with twenty three (23) which are endemic to the Albertine Rift and fourteen species (14) which are not recorded nowhere else in Uganda.

Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi can be accessed either by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip or by road from Kampala.

From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.

By road, there are alternatives that include;

Kampala-Kabale-Kanungu-Buhoma which follows a tarmac highway until Kabale for about 414km spending about 6-8 hrs and then connect on a murram road through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for about 120km to Buhoma. For the latter route, it is highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle and this journey can take about 4-5 hrs.

Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma which follows the same route as the above first option except the Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma section is about 95km on a murram road and can take about 3-4 hrs also highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle.

Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo also follows the same as the above routes to Kabale and an additional 105km about 4-5 hrs drive on a mountainous murram road to Nkuringo from Kabale. Some people prefer spending a night in Kisoro which is about 80km from Kabale and in the morning proceed to Nkuringo for gorilla tracking.

Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma is regarded as the quickest and most direct of all the routes from Kampala and follows a tarmac rout to Rukungiri about 390km followed by murram roads to Buhoma for about 82km.

There is also a route that goes through Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kihihi and to Buhoma passing through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famed for the tree climbing lions. Sometimes this route is not favored because of the bridge which keeps on breaking down.

Safari lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Accommodation places in Buhoma Region

Buhoma sector is part of the Northern Bwindi forest block where mountain gorillas reside. Families that are found in Buhoma include Rushegura gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla group and Mubare gorilla family.

Each of these families can easily be accessed when you spend a night or more at the various lodges that are located in this sector. It is advisable for visitors to know the gorilla group they intend to trek so as to determine where to spend the night to avoid long hour drives early in the morning to the briefing point.

Find More about Safari Lodges Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Uganda Safari Parks – Uganda Safari Destinations

As of now, Uganda features a count of 10 national parks including Mount Elgon National Park in the east, Kidepo Valley National Park in the north east, Murchison Falls National Park in the north west, Kibale National Park, Semliki National Park and Rwenzori National Park in the west, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Lake Mburo National Park in the south west.
Right from the colonial era, a range of national parks have been gazetted in the countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo over time and the independent national governments have continued with the initiative.

Uganda is a land gifted by nature. Uganda stands among the many on the continent as the Pearl of Africa teaming with a count of ten National Parks that are spread all over Uganda. The range of biodiversity thrives in these protected areas from which they find their natural protection to push their existence to posterity.The Uganda National Parks present opportunity for a myriad of tourist activities like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, the forest hiking, birding, classic wild game viewing among other activities explored on safaris in Uganda. Read More

Kibale National Park
Kibale National ParkKibale National Park Uganda

Kibale Forest National Park has thirteen (13) recorded primate species including the L’Hoest’s monkey and its 1,450 chimpanzees which cannot be seen anywhere else in Uganda in such big numbers. The park also has an additional sixty (60) mammal species including the migrant, the warthogs, bush pigs, buffalos, 500 elephants and hippos. Kibale National Park also serves its visitors to four (4) species of wild felids including the leopards and the lions which migrate between Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kibale National park adjoins with Queen Elizabeth National Park to form a 180km (111 mi) wildlife corridor, and for this reason a number of ground-dwelling mammals cannot be seen regularly. Read More

bwindi impenetrable forest national park uganda
bwindi impenetrable forest national park uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the Uganda gorilla safaris & Tours park is conveniently situated in the Kigezi Highlands of south-west Uganda, adjacent to the frontier of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. It was created due to its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 163 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Various bird species and butterflies, as well as many endangered species, including the mountain gorilla. Read More

lake mburo national park uganda
lake mburo national park uganda

Lake Mburo national park has a number of bird species including the uncommonly seen shoebill, the white winged warbler, the African fish eagles and the red faced barbet which can only be viewed in Lake Mburo National Park. In total birders can be delighted to see over 300 bird species in Lake Mburo National Park. Read More

mgahinga national park uganda
mgahinga national park uganda

Like three other National Parks in Africa, Mgahinga provides a refuge to some of the world’s remaining population of world mountain gorillas. Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National park, together provide shelter to over half of the world’s total mountain gorilla population. Mgahinga National Park is positioned in the far southwestern part of Uganda in a district called Kisoro about 510km from Uganda’s Capital City Kampala. The park is Uganda’s smallest national park with a total area of 33.7km2. Read More

Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park

Mountain Elgon National Park is located on the eastern part Uganda and bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The park is also the largest and oldest solitary, volcanic mountain in East African region. Its enormous areas form, eighty (80) km in diameter and rises more than 3,000m above the surrounding plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a refuge for flora and fauna. Read More

Queen Elizabeth National Park uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park which is described as “Uganda’s Great Rift Valley” by Andrew Roberts is the second largest national park in Uganda spanning in the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Bushenyi and Rukungiri. The park was established in 1954 and it covers almost 1,978 square kilometers. It is bordered in the West by Lake Edward and in the North by the Rwenzori Mountains, and is separated into two parts, the Northern and Southern park. Read More

Uganda Gorilla Safari Tours – Uganda Gorilla trekking Safaris

Uganda Gorilla Safaris comes with an exceptional experience that is not only got from encountering the Mountain gorillas but also a tour to different wildlife safari destination of Queen Elizabeth national park alive with tree climbing lions, Kazinga Channel, undertaking an ultimate primate trekking encounter and wetland nature walk in Kibale forest park or visiting the different cultural sites spread in different parts of Uganda.

These together with their unique rich cultural heritage combine to trigger or offer an utmost Uganda Gorilla safari experience.

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