Sprawling in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of Africa’s most stunning montane protected areas. It lies along the Albertine rift valley just at a border area with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This conservancy area spans up to 331 square kilometers comprising of expansive tropical rainforest which makes it a few most significant water catchment areas in Uganda. This forested park straddles between altitude 1160 meters and 2607 meters.
What to see in Bwindi National Park
A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park means a great opportunity for you to catch a glimpse at the rare mountain gorillas that make up part of the 11primate species. Others include chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys, olive baboons a mention but a few. Small mammal species are also confined within this pristine park and they include bats and rodents. If you are interested in birds, about 350 of them are concentrated within this montane park, 23 of which are Albertine rift endemics and 14 of them are never spotted anywhere in Uganda. While on birding tour, you can spot several bird species including the African green broadbill, white tailed flycatcher, blue flycatcher, brown necked parrot, Frazer’s eagle owl and many others. For those of you who will embark on nature walk, there are also 200 butterfly species for you to see.
Things to do in Bwindi National Park
Gorilla trekking is remarkably a prime safari experience that is offered in Bwindi and while you are on Uganda safari, it should be a must to include in your bucket list.Gorilla treks in this national park always start from any of its 4 main trailheads of Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Each of these trailheads feature habituated families which are assigned to trekkers. To take part in this adventure, you will need a permit and in Uganda gorilla permits cost $600 per visitor. About 16 gorilla groups are available for visitors to realize their dreams with these fascinating creatures. They include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Katwe which are confined within Buhoma sector; Rushaga sector features mainly Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza and Nshongi while Ruhija sector is composed of Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro and Nkuringo sector has Nkuringo and Christmas.
Gorilla habituation experience
If you wish to enhance your experience, there is Gorilla Habituation experience one of a kind primate adventures that is only offered in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. While here, there are 2 groups that have been set aside for this particular experience and they include Bushaho and Bikingi. It takes you the whole day of following gorillas and 4 hours to have a face to face encounter with them. Permits for this thrilling experience cost $1500 per person. Habituation is entirely takes a process and lasts for about 2 years. Ideally, it is one way to make these creatures get familiar to human presence before they are officially opened for gorilla trekking.
If you love nature, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is that one unique park you shouldn’t miss to pay a visit while on Uganda safari. It features many trails where you can embark on nature walks and each trail rewards visitors with rare views of its natural wonders. They include Munyanga River trail-this is found just outside the park and rewards visitors with incredible views of its primates, birds and others. The waterfall trail-this take you to the 3 scenic waterfalls in this trail, Muzubijiro loop-remarkable for its clear views of Bwindi forest, western rift valley, the Virunga volcanoes and others, Bamboo trail that is characterized by 14 different vegetation types, Ivi river trail which is ideal for bird watching, Buhoma village tourist walk that takes you to Batwa and Bakiga community, Rushura trail and others.
A trip to Bwindi isn’t only for you to have magical encounters with the rare mountain gorillas but also for you to get the best of African cultural experiences. A cultural tour in this pristine national park takes you to the Batwa and Bakiga communities. While here, you have a chance to enjoy thrilling traditions, cultures, dances, music performance among others.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a true birder’s haven. It comprises of about 350 bird species making one of Africa’s most significant bird paradises. While on birding tour in this national park, you have a chance to spot out bird species like the western green tinker bird, chestnut throated apalis, Kivu ground thrush, montane oriole, African green broadbill, collared apalis, shinning African blue, common bulbul, white tailed fly catcher, fine banded woodpecker, short tailed warbler and many others.
As well, you can also take part in mountain biking, village walk and other most exciting activities that will reward you with lasting memories.
Safari lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
What makes safaris to Bwindi complete is availability of varied accommodation options. In Bwindi, they range from budget to luxury. While on your safari to this national park, you can spend a night at Buhoma lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge (luxury lodges). Budget lodges for your overnight stay in Bwindi National Park include Buhoma community rest camp, Broadbill forest camp, wagtail eco safari camp, gift of nature lodge, Nshongi camp, Ruhija community rest camp while midrange options include Gorilla Mist Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Silverback lodge Bwindi, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort, Engagi Lodge Bwindi, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp and others.
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi National Park can be reached by road or air. By road, you will spend about 8-10 hours driving from Kampala or Entebbe. For a smooth ride, you need a 4 WD safari vehicle to help you navigate through the remote routes to this magnificent protected area.
From Kabale, you drive for about 108 kilometers to Buhoma through Ruhija which is approximately three hours. If you are taking the Kampala-Buhoma route-the route is good from Kabale to Ntungamo. From Ntungamo, drive for 45 kilometers to Rukungiri where you then drive via Kambuga to Kanungu then finally come to Butogota about 17 kilometers to Buhoma park headquarters.
Alternatively, take a flight from Entebbe and you land into Kisoro airstrip where you can connect to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. If you are traveling from Kasese or Fort Portal, you can take the Katunguru route, Ishasha and Kihihi.
When to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Depending on what your travel interests are Bwindi National Park can be visited at any time of the year. For any plans to explore the natural wonders within this park, take note of both the dry and wet season. The dry season begins from June to September and December to February. This is usually considered as an ideal time for most visitors on Uganda safari to Bwindi. However, the rainy or wet season is equally ideal and it starts from March to May and October to November.