Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the world’s top destination for gorilla trekking and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park features Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a unique National park located in southwestern Uganda, covering 321 square kilometres on an altitude of 1,160M to 2,607m above sea level.
The rugged rainforest isis referred to as impenetrable due to its heavy vegetation cover, making access almost impossible. Bwindi Forest was gazetted a national park in 1991, and the Mubare gorilla Family was the first habituated gorilla group available for tourism by 1993, with 18 gorillas then. The forest was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 1994.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has more than 460 Mountain Gorillas, almost half of the world Mountain Gorilla population, about 400 plant species, 120 species of mammals including Forest Elephants, Primates like baboons and chimpanzees and an estimated 350 species of birds, including 23 Albertine rift endemic species.
The national park used to be a shelter to the Batwa (pygmies) who traditionally lived in the forest’s interior, hunters and fruit gatherers who now live on the edge of the forest for conservation purposes.
There are 21 gorillas habituated gorilla groups available for tourism in Bwindi, with one gorilla group reserved for research purposes. These are found in four major regions of the park, which are at the same time tourism centres; Buhoma, which hosts the park headquarters and with the oldest group, Ruhijja, Nkuringo and Rushaga, which has the highest number of gorilla groups. Each Gorilla group is allowed a maximum of 8 permits or eight visitors per day, and trekking commences at 8 am with a briefing.
Activities in Bwindi
Though the park is famously known for gorilla trekking, there are many exciting experiences in Bwindi. Nature walking trails include the Munyanga River Trail, Waterfall trail, Rushara Hill Trail, Muzabairo loop trail, and Ivi River Trails. All the walking trails in Bwindi provide incredible opportunities of experiencing Bwindi forest national park with scenic views and opportunities to see birds, primates and other wildlife in the forest.
Birding occurs along four major birding trails with excellent opportunities of seeing top bird species. The River Ivi Trail between Buhoma and Nkuringo is recommended and Buhoma’s forest-edge Munyaga River Trail, Ruhija’s Bamboo Trail, leads to the 2607m Rwamunyoni peak. Mubwindi, Swamp Trail are renowned for Albertine Rift endemics, including the localised green broadbill.
Cultural & Community walks.
The Bwindi national park is located in the Kigezi region, the home of the Bakiga, a farming tribe of people responsible for the striking terraced hillsides extending up to the edge of the forest to the south of Bwindi. Community walks through villages on the forest edge at Buhoma and Nkuringo provide experiences of the lives of the local Batwa (Pygmy) and Bakiga people who inhabit this area. The Buniga Forest Walk at Nkuringo is conducted by Batwa guides who demonstrate their forest folklore.
When to Visit Bwindi
You can visit Bwindi Impenetrable National park all year round. Bwindi receives up to 2,390 mm of rain per year, and months with heavy rains such as March-May and November usually have low visitors compared to the rest of the dry months.
The forest can be cold in the morning and at night, with average temperatures ranging from 7oC – 20oC and the coldest period being June – July.
For visitors who like exclusivity and not finding many visitors in a destination, this is the best time to visit though trekking the steep slopes can be challenging when wet.
How to Get To Bwindi
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 470 km away from Kampala, a 9-hour drive. Much as there are public buses from Kampala to Buhoma and Kisoro, it is advisable to use 4×4 land cruisers to Bwindi.
You can access the park by road in various directions from nearby national parks; the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park, famous for tree-climbing lions, is only 70kms away approx. 2hrs drive while Mweya is about 160kms approx. 4 hrs drive, Lake Mburo National park is only 250km away approximate driving time of 6 hrs.
There are daily commercial flights from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip in the south of Bwindi, accessing Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors and Kihihi airstrip with access Buhoma main trailhead and Ruhijja operated by Aerolink Uganda. And also, from Kajjansi Airfield, managed by Fly Uganda, we shall take care of the arrangements for your ground transfers between the airstrip and the park.
What to bring
Recommended list of what to pack is comprehensive enough, ranging from closings to safety and protective gear and medication. However, the choice of what to bring depends on your need and discretion. See the detailed list from our specific page; what to bring.
Accommodation in Bwindi
Each of the four sectors has its lodges within the park and in the nearby towns, from budget camps to Midrange and luxurious accommodation facilities;
Buhoma sector Accommodation
- Budget; Ride for a woman, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Bwindi Guest House and CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp
- Midrange, Buhoma Haven Lodge, Silverback Lodge and Engagi Lodge
- Upmarket, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Camp, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Lodge and Trackers Lodge.
Ruhijja sector Accommodation
- Ruhijja Community Rest Camp, Trekkers Tavern, Broadbill forest camp and gift of nature lode are budget facilities in Ruhijja, while;
- Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla mist Camp, Ruhijja gorilla safari Lodge and Agandi Lodge are high-end facilities.
Nkuringo sector Accommodation
- Wagtail Eco Safari Camp,
- Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge,
- Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge
- Gorilla Heights Lodge
Rushaga sector Accommodation
- Budget: Nshongi Camp and Gorilla Valley Lodge
- High-end: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge and Four Gorillas Lodge
Custom Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Can be customized to suit your travel choice and style
Talk to a Uganda gorilla safari expert to help you plan.
Accommodation, transfers, permits, meals, we’ll arrange that for you.