The Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one group for research.
Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 459 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
Bwindi is a home to atleast 200 butterfly species including the eight albertine rift endemics.Also a home to many reptiles.
The neighbouring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls, and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bwindi Impenetrable national park lies in East Africa Uganda. It is located in southwestern Uganda. The park hosts the largest number of leftover mountain gorillas and this is why it was divided into two areas northern Bwindi and Southern Bwindi for management reasons.
The park lies at an altitude between 1160 meters and 2607 meters above sea level. This calls for hiking to locate mountain gorillas as one of the adventures of Bwindi Impenetrable National park.
Bwindi Forest is located in an area that receives rain at any time of the day about 2390 mm of rain per year. Bwindi Impenetrable National park temperatures are between 7 degrees centigrade to -20 degrees centigrade.
Gorilla trekking is the highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. A Gorilla trekking permit allows you to see the mountain gorillas but they are sold according to the area. Bwindi forest has 4 gorilla trekking areas that is Buhoma area the major administrative area, Ruhija area the, Rushaga area and Nkuringo area. Each area has gorilla families which are trekked by a maximum of 8 clients per day.
Birding In Bwindi Forest
Bwindi is the primary birding destination of Uganda and Africa. Over 350 bird species find a home in the forest including Albertine endemics. Keen birders have a chance to spot over 100 bird species a day. Some birds include Western Green Tinkerbird, Mountain Masked, and Chestnut-throated Apalis, African Hill Babbler, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, and white-tailed Crested Fly Catcher the list is endless.
Ruhija gorilla trekking area is a superb section of Bwindi for keen birders. The Mubwindi Swamp is the real deal for Birding in Uganda.
Primate walk In Bwindi
Apart from the mountain gorillas, Bwindi forest is home to several other primates including chimpanzees, black and white colobus, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys the list is endless.
A nature walk in Bwindi Forest national park
A number of tail choices are available for anyone interested in a walk in Bwindi forest including Munyanga river trail just below Buhoma which is a short walk to spot birds and several primates
Waterfall tail goes passed tree ferns going through beautiful falls
Rushura hill trail is the best spot for enjoying the western rift valley and providing a wonderful view of Lake Edward and Rwenzori mountains on a clear sunny day.
Muzabajiro loop tail goes through the summit of Rukubira hill giving out the most incredible view of Bwindi Canopy, Virunga Volcanoes in Mgahinga National Park and western Rift Valley.
Bwindi Community Walks
To incorporate the locals into the mountain gorilla conservations campaign as they benefit, some community walks are used to take travelers into the community. Proceed accrued are used to support the community need like road maintenance, upgrading schools, improve water supply to mention but a few. Some of the community walks include:
Buhoma Community Walk and Cultural Performances
Through the local authorities of Buhoma area, a 3 hours walk where tourists get to know day to day life of the villagers. Tourists take time off to visit the local banana brewer, visit a local home, have a chance with a traditional healer and as the day winds up enjoy an arranged local dance group performance.
Nkuringo Community Walk
The locals of Nkuringo area operate a community visit for interested clients where you get to interact with a local brewer, visit a local home stead, blacksmith and traditional healer. This is one way to promote community park co-operation in that even when the gorillas are go astray, the locals do not just kill them but feel the concern of telling the Authority.
Several alternative routes from Kampala the main capital are available by road transport. Although public transport is available for anyone heading to Bwindi, the stopovers are so many. You may end up arriving late night in Bwindi area yet even your property may have been misplaced. For such reasons we do not recommend public transport as you go to Bwindi for Gorilla trekking
Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
From Kampala Main city to Kabale, one drives about 6 hours for 414 km from Kampala to Kabale. A continuous drive passed a winding marram road for approximately 120 km through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kihihi to Buhoma
Heading for gorilla trekking after a game safari tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park takes about 5 hours to reach Bwindi Impenetrable Forest this is if you pass through Ishasha sector. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 160 km from Mweya and 64 km from Ishasha sector. Ishasha is home to tree climbing lions and you need to make sure the Ishasha Bridge is in good shape.
Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma
Using this road trip you take about 8 hours without stops. When departing Kampala you can use this direct route. Take a drive on the turmac road to Rukungiri for about 390 km head to a murram road for 82 km getting to Buhoma late hours of the evening only to check in and rest.
Kampala to Kabale to Ruhijah to Buhoma
Taking this road leads you through remote Kabale to Rujiha to Buhoma for 95 km . The road network is in bad shape.
Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo
When you drive from Kabale to Nkuringo it takes approximately 150 km for about 4 hours on a winding murram road.
One may decide to take a break in Kisoro even have accommodation here prior to gorilla trekking. This drive from Kabale to Kisoro is 80 km. Driving from Kisoro to NKuringo gorilla trekking area is 35km so one can overnight in Kisoro drive early morning to do gorilla trekking the next day. This drive takes about 1hour and thirty minutes.
By Air to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Kajjansi Air strip and Entebbe Airport operate domestic daily flights that fly to Kihihi Airstrip in the morning and afternoon. You need to secure a seat in advance because most times the flights are over booked especially the peak seasons. Charter flights can be arranged too upon request.
Ensure to book transfer vehicle because Kihihi Airstrip is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the park headquarters.
Which Park Is Best For Gorilla Trekking Bwindi impenetrable National Park Or Volcanoes National park
The Bwindi Forest Versus Volcanoes Park gorilla trekking question keeps popping but experience in both is fantastic. Bwindi National Park has a variety of gorilla trekking families compared to Volcanoes so you have a number of choices to select from because of its vast area. Volcanoes National Park may not be as large as Bwindi but its gorilla families are charming too.
The Bwindi gorilla trekking permit costs $700 per person per trek but the distance to get to Bwindi from Entebbe airport is about 8 hours on the Road. Volcanoes National Park gorilla trekking permits cost $ 1500 per person per trek but the time and distance from Kigali airport is about 2 hours and half
Tracking boots that can support you while hiking to locate the mountain gorillas
A flash-less camera to take photos and keep memories of being face to face with the gentle giants.
Rainproof gears to protect you from getting wet when it rains. The bwindi forest receives rains without any time.
Long-sleeved shirt and trousers with dirty friendly colors to go through the boggy jungle
Toiletries even if most lodges provide, it is best to have your own just in case.
Insect repellant as the forest harbors a number of insects including stingers
A pair of binoculars to get a clearer view of forest dwellers like birds, and monkeys that may be up the very tall trees.
All year round Bwindi impenetrable forest is open for visits, especially gorilla trekking and birding.
The drier months June to September and December of Bwindi Forest are friendlier because of the passable trails in the forest and less undergrowth especially when gorilla trekking. The ground is not so boggy too.
For this and more frequently asked questions about Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, feel free to contact us.