The renowned Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has always been known for mountain gorilla trekking as it boasts with half of the world population of mountain gorillas. There is a lot to do in the stunning national park apart from gorilla trekking. The other activities that can be done include birding, wildlife watching, nature guided walks and cultural encounters.
Bwindi is not only home to gorillas but 120 mammalian species, 351 species of birds recorded, over 1000 flowering plants, 220 species of butterflies, 13 species of other primates and so much more. There are trees as old as 200 years and about 60 meters tall in Bwindi.
Cultural encounters in Bwindi
Cultural encounters in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be done at the Batwa villages found at the park boarders, the highlight of your visit to Bwindi should be visiting the client forest people known as the Batwa of Pygmies. These people used to live in the forest depending on it for food, shade and medicine but were evicted when it was made a national park.
The Batwa people are very far from modernity, therefore you can experience the untamed African culture by visiting the forest people who shared the forest with great apes for over 500000 years. A Batwa guide will lead you to the forest and demonstrate how they used to survive in it, in the Batwa homes you will get entertained with local traditional dances and songs that will linger in your head on your way back home.
Tourists can visit the Nkuringo cultural center at Nkuringo sector and learn to cook local meals, basket weaving , how to make beer from bananas and you can also learn local traditional dances and so much more.
You can also visit the local traditional healers who treats various ailments using various herbs got from the forest.
The Bakiga people are farmers that live in the surrounding areas of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you can also visit the Bakiga communities and learn about their ways of live which is quite different the Batwa.
Best time to visit Bwindi
Cultural encounters in Bwindi national park can be done all year round but for those interested in both cultural encounters and gorilla trekking, the best time to visit the park is from June to September and December to February when the weather is favorable for gorilla trekking. The cost of gorilla permits is $600 per person per trek.
A part from gorilla trekking, cultural encounters, nature walks and birding in Bwindi, the park offers a unique experience of gorilla habituation that can only be done in this place in the whole world. Gorilla habituation is the process of making mountain gorillas get used to human presence, this is done by joining researchers in habituation process and gives tourists an opportunity of being in the presence for 4 hours unlike gorilla trekking which is only an hour. Gorilla habituation costs $1500 per person.
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