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Though gorilla tours is the main activity in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park, other walks provide more relaxed opportunities to explore one of Uganda’s loveliest rain-forests.
As you hike through the impenetrable forest, you will get chances of seeing various primate species, beautiful butterflies, various tree species, and you will also have clear views of some bird species singing in the air.
And as you walk via the forest trails, you will be guided by a tour guide who will lead you through and as well help you to understand the nature’s system at work in the National park. Visitors can explore the impenetrable forest via the following six trails;
There are fantastic hiking trails in different sectors of Bwindi where you will have an opportunity to see primates, species of birds, butterflies, trees and other organisms. This usually starts at 9:00 am after breakfast and 2:15 pm after lunch.
a) Nature Walks From Buhoma Sector Of Bwindi
Several guided nature walks, ranging from 30 minutes to 8 hours in duration, lead from Buhoma, offering the opportunity to enjoy the tranquility and broader biodiversity of the forest, and to see a variety of monkeys and birds.
For monkeys and general scenery, the best of the guided walks is probably the 3-hour Waterfall Trail, which leads for 2 kilometers along the disused logging road to Nkuringo before ascending through a beautiful area of forest to a 33 meter-high waterfall on the Munyaga River.
The Mazubijiro Loop Trail and Rushura Hill Trail, each of which takes about 3 hours, offers good views across to the Virunga Mountains.
The 8-hour Ivi River Walk, which leads to the Ivi River on the southern boundary of the park, offers good opportunity for seeing monkeys, duikers, and a variety of birds.
Guided nature walks in cost US$30 (Foreign nonresidents-FNR) and US$15 (Foreign residents-FR), exclusive of park entrance fee of US$40 (FNR) and US$30 (FR), which is waived on walks undertaken on the same day as gorilla trekking.
b) Nature Walks In Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi
It is permitted to walk unguided along the public road through Ruhija sector, which offers good wildlife viewing, with black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys being particularly common.
Guided nature walks out of Ruhija cost US$30 (Foreign nonresidents) and US$15 (Foreign residents). Unlike Buhoma, it is not really feasible to do any of these hikes on the same day as you track gorillas, so you will need to pay the US$40/30 entrance fee.
For peak-baggers, the 6-hour Bamboo Trail leads to the 2607 meters Rwamunyonyi Peak, which is the highest point in the park, and notable for good birding.
The Mubwindi Swamp Trail offers superb birdwatching. This trail descends several hundred meters from the trailhead to a swamp area that harbours 20 bird species listed in IUCN Red Data Book and/or endemic to the Albertine Rift.
The first part of the trail passes through highlands where there are several clearings offering good views into the canopy, and a variety of birds.
There are great views across Mount Muhabura and other volcanoes in Virunga Range. The trail descends into an area of thick-leafed scrubby marsh rated the most reliable site anywhere for the extremely localized African green broadbill (often sighted from May to July).
Eventually, you emerge on the edge of Mubwindi Swamp, where the main avian draws are the quite easily seen Grauer’s rush warbler and Carruthers’s cisticola and the vocal but visually elusive red-chested flufftail.
For non-birds, other wildlife includes black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and L’Hoest’s monkeys. There is also a chance of seeing elephants and sitatunga in the vicinity of the swamp. An early start is recommended, and carries plenty of water.
Technically, it is a 3-hour walk, but that would be quite a frog-match-4 hours is more relaxed.
c) Nature Walks In Rushaga Sector Of Bwindi
Nature walks are offered at the same fees as elsewhere Bwindi. Birdlife is broadly similar to Buhoma, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, blue monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys are often seen, along with black-and-white colobus, while chimpanzees have a large vocal presence but are seldom seen.
The 3-4-hour Waterfall Trail descends into deep valley dripping with giant tree ferns, then climbs upward through a narrow, stream-filled fissure in the cliff face to reach a towering rock-walled atrium containing a cascade of more than 30 meters.
Outside the park, a candidate for further exploration would seem to be the dramatic and deeply incised Ruhezanyenda River Valley.
d) Hiking In Nkuringo Sector Of Bwindi
Nature walks into the national park can be arranged at the UWA rates, but the steep nature of the descent and ascent makes it a less –appealing prospects than at the other trailheads.
Though Nkuringo is superbly scenic area with great potential for hiking outside the forest, the possibilities for haphazard exploration are pretty limited. The steep nature of Nteko Ridge means that the main alternatives for a pleasant stroll are either west along the ridge top road towards DRC or east towards Rubuguri.