Home of The Mountain Gorilla; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination, and for good reason. The 331 km2 national park is home to diverse wildlife, including more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population.
The park’s rugged terrain is made up of steep hills and valleys, and it is covered in dense forest. The Albertine Rift Escarpment runs through the park, providing a natural habitat for the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking is the main tourist activity in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Gorilla treks are led by experienced guides who help visitors find the gorillas and learn more about their behavior.
The park also offers a variety of other activities, such as bird watching, hiking, and nature walks. There are several safari lodges located in the park, which provide comfortable accommodations and delicious food.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a truly unique and unforgettable destination. It is a place where visitors can experience the beauty of nature and learn more about one of the world’s most endangered species.
Flora and Fauna
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to various plant and animal life. The park’s altitude ranges from 1,160 meters to 2,607 meters, and its ancient forests are home to over 160 tree species and over 100 fern species.
The park is also home to many mammals, including over 120 species. The park’s most famous residents are the mountain gorillas, which number around 500 individuals. Other primates found in the park include chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys.
The park is also a haven for birds. Over 350 species have been recorded in the park, including at least 14 species found nowhere else in Uganda. These include the African green broadbill, brown-necked parrot, white-bellied robin chat, Frazer’s eagle owl, and white-tailed blue flycatcher.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a truly unique and special place. Its rich biodiversity is a testament to the need to protect our natural heritage.
Tourism to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest focuses on four separate locations. Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Each of these four destinations functions as a self-standing Gorilla tracking destination.
Activities In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Gorillas Trekking Tours
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows visitors to join park rangers on early morning excursions to see Africa’s mountain gorillas in their natural habitat up close.
Gorilla trekking is physically demanding, but seeing these incredible primates is well worth the effort. Gorilla treks typically take between 4 and 6 hours, and you must be in good physical condition to participate.
Once you reach the gorillas, you can observe them for up to an hour as they go about their daily activities. You will have the chance to see them eat, play, and interact with each other. It is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Here are three tips for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
Plan your trip in advance. Gorilla trekking permits are limited, and they can sell out quickly. It is best to book your gorilla permit at least six months in advance.
Be prepared for a physically demanding activity. Gorilla trekking can be challenging, and you must be physically fit to participate. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water and snacks.
Respect the gorillas. Gorillas are wild animals, and it is essential to respect their space. Do not get too close to them, and do not make any sudden movements.
Bwindi has many adventurous activities apart from gorilla trekking tours. There are a number of hiking trails in the park, but visitors must arrange a day in advance for a guide to accompany them. Three trails begin in Buhoma, including the Muyanga River Trail, which is an ideal short walk for visitors with little time to spare.
Alternatively, try the Waterfall Trail, which follows the Muyanga River upstream as it tumbles down the steep slopes southeast of Buhoma, flowing through a series of waterfalls before entering the camp area.
The Rushuura Trail will afford you some fantastic views across the western Rift Valley floor, with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Park National des Virungas providing a particularly spectacular backdrop.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most important birding destinations in Africa. The park is home to over 350 bird species, including some of the world’s rarest and most endangered birds.
The park is located in the Albertine Rift Valley, and its rugged terrain is home to various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and swamps. This diversity of habitats provides a home for various birds, including forest, grassland, and water birds.
Bwindi’s most popular birding spots include the Mubwindi Swamp, the Ishasha River, and the Buhoma Waterfall. These areas are home to various birds, including the African green broadbill, the brown-necked parrot, and the white-tailed blue flycatcher.
Bird watching in Bwindi is a great way to experience the park’s natural beauty and learn more about the amazing diversity of birds that live there. The park is open to visitors year-round, but the best time to go birding is during the dry season, from June to September.
This stroll through Buhoma and its margins immerses visitors in the customs and practices of the Bakiga and the Batwa people. The tour takes in varied activities as brewing local beer, farming and dispensing traditional medicine and concludes with dancing displays by members of the Batwa community.
A day-long encounter that takes place in a patch of private forest contiguous with the national park and provides a fascinating insight into the traditional forest life and lore of the hunter-gatherer culture
Dedicated to helping orphaned and disadvantaged Bakiga children living around Buhoma, traditional dances supplemented by rather contrived but enjoyable gorilla dances are arranged at the lodge.
Travelers can travel from Kajjansi airfield near Kampala or the latter Entebbe airport to a current tarmac airstrip found at Kihiihi airport which lies 40km from Buhoma on the Ishasha Road which takes about 90 minutes.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be approached by travelers by road transport; the park is located in the south-western region of Uganda around 465km (8h 50min) via Mbarara from Kampala.
Buhoma is approximately 465km west of Kampala and 190km west of Mbarara by road. The best route following the surfaced Kabale Road for 65km past Mbarara to Ntugamo, then turning right on the newly surfaced 45km road to Rukungiri. A number of different dirty roads through the highlands of northeast Kigezi connect Rukungiri. The drive usually takes up to 8 hours.
Two main routes connect Kasese, Fort Portal and Queen Elizabeth National Park to Buhoma. The most direct and fascinating route, via Mbarara Road at Katunguru, then sprints past the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and north through Kihihi. This 170km route takes four hours, but travelers transfer to Ishasha to look for tree climbing lions. Another alternative via Ishaka, Kagamba and Rukungiri is extensive coming from Katunguru.
From Kabale to Buhoma around 108km follows a dirt roads most of the way, and it takes three hours. Pursue the Kisoro Road out of Kabale for 18km to Hamura, then turn right at the signpost for Buhoma and processed for 60km via Kanungu to Kanyantorogo where you turn left to Bugota. A far scenic but slightly slower alternative is to travel through Ruhija, talking the signposted shortcut left turn 5km before Bugota. It is 50km around 2hours drive from Buhoma to Ruhija, passing through the park and some good scenery for much of the way, and ideally using the shortcut that avoids Bugota and cuts about 6km from the route passing through town and it’s a base for Gorilla tracking in Ruhija.
Safari Lodges in Bwindi
This magnificent lodge, also situated inside the park gates 100m from Gorilla forest camp, has a particularly atmospheric 1st –floor lounge-dining room & comfortable stilted cottages with wide balconies facing the forest & en-suite hot tub & shower. Mesh windows & gum pole-&-plaster walls
This long served tented camp remains the absolute top place to stay at Buhoma, thanks to its superb location in the forest glade at the top of a 91-step staircase 500m inside the park entrance. It’s worth the climb to sleep in a large, individually secluded en-suite tent with twin queen-sized beds, fitted nets, a large bathroom with hot tub and shower, and a comfortable private balcony. The forest here takes on through, even the occasional gorilla, while great blue turacos, emerald cuckoos and tinker barbet call from high in the canopy.
This isolated and rather suburban-feeling hilltop lodge 1km from the park gate by road lies in neat but rather selective gardens that seemed from the tangled forest over which it offers remarkable views. The tilled rooms, though not large, have a modern feel, & come with nets, en-suite hot shower & private balcony. It represents Buhoma’s best deal for comfort-conscious travelers on a moderate budget.
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Located just outside the park gate around 5minutes walk, the camp has a great jungle environ & greatly low rates than almost anywhere else in the region. The camp is located in Buhoma of region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The lodge was constructed to develop the local community. The lodge is well fitted with 6 safari tents and simple en-suite bandas.
How much does a gorilla permit cost?
The cost of a Bwindi gorilla permit is $700 per person per day. This fee includes the cost of a park entrance permit, a gorilla tracking permit, and a guide. The cost of the permit is not refundable, even if your gorilla trek is canceled due to weather or other circumstances.
The gorilla permit fee is set by the Ugandan government, and it is used to support the conservation of the gorillas and their habitat. The fee also helps to fund the salaries of the park rangers and other staff who work to protect the gorillas.
The gorilla permit fee is a significant investment, but it is a small price to pay to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.