Wondering about the best time to visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking? You can visit the park at any time of the year, though the rainy season between April-May and September-November makes conditions for gorilla tracking a lot more challenging.
Guide to Best Times to Visit Bwindi Gorillas
Although Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has relatively wet weather because of equatorial climatic conditions, you can visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking safari all year round.
The weather patterns in Bwindi forest do not change much often characterized by daily mist, morning or afternoon downpours, cool weather, clear skies and hot sunshine. The dry season between December to February and June to September are considered as the best months to visit the gorillas in Bwindi forest. However, being the peak seasons for gorilla trekking, prices tend to be high due to competition. You must book your gorilla safari in advance (at least 3 months) including gorilla permits and accommodation.
It can rain any time of the day even during dry season, in addition, you must prepare for strenuous long treks due to steep terrain, though trails are fairly dry and slippery, gorillas move long distances in search of fresh vegetation (food).
Although the dry season can be the easiest gorilla trekking conditions, other visitors prefer to see gorillas during rainy seasons because of the relatively lower costs of the gorilla safari. During longer rains in March, April to May and short ones from October, September to November Uganda Wildlife Authority, lowers gorilla permit price from $600 to $450 USD per person for foreign visitors.
There are always few gorilla trekkers and you’re likely to see gorillas in small group of people with less competition for good angle photography. Accommodations especially high end lodges and hotels also offer discounted room rates; generally rainy season makes the overall Bwindi gorilla safari comparably inexpensive.
Although during rainy seasons, seeing gorillas can be strenuous due to wet, slippery trails and tangled vegetation. There are many advantages that make the rainy season the best time to see gorillas.
Gorillas tend to feed on lower slopes or close to the park boundary; you’re likely to trek for short distances. However, such can never be guaranteed, you need to be well equipped. At the start of the trek, get your walking stick, hire a porter (at an additional cost) to carry your day pack and carry rain jackets to cover your camera equipment. Also wear gloves to avoid touching thorny bushes and guitars preventing your feet against deep muddy trails or sharp rocks while hiking.
It’s very rare for a gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi to be altered by bad weather. In fact there hasn’t been any complaints regarding such, with many who have trekked rate gorilla trekking experience a once in a lifetime wildlife encounter.
Every day a group of 8 visitors led by Uganda wildlife authority rangers and guides spend one hour with a particular gorilla family among the 12 habituated gorilla families. These are located in four different sections of across Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Visitors must inquire from the guides before trekking begins in the morning about their hiking capacity to be allocated to a gorilla family that’s easier to reach to avoid disappointment.
Although gorilla trekking in Bwindi is on high demand by many visitors on a holiday to Uganda, it remains the most environmental friendly activity of all time. Visitors must read carefully and understand the gorilla trekking rules and regulations before booking a gorilla safari.
Best Time to Go Gorilla MONTH BY MONTH
January and February are usually fairly dry, with Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, all experiencing good conditions for trekking at a time of year often thought of as low season. Its among the best time for Gorilla trekking and peak season where tourists storm Gorilla parks to encounter Gorillas in their natural habitat.
March, April and May -these are wet months, as well as in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Mountain gorilla permits in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). March, April and May are considered as low season and Gorilla parks register low turn ups.
June, July and August – the major Gorilla trekking season – you can as well combine Gorilla watching with wildebeest migration in Tanzania taking place over the plains of the Serengeti. Do book as far in advance as possible at this time Gorilla permits can be sold out before securing yours.
September and October are the best time to go gorilla watching if you’re also planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania, as conditions are ideal for both activities.
November is another soggy month – but again, Democratic Republic of Congo often lower the price of their permits. It’s a rainy month and low turn up is registered in all Gorilla parks.
By mid-December it’s eased off to light showers and if you’re looking for an alternative Christmas holiday, then you could do at lot worse than heading to East Africa to go gorilla watching.