BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK – GORILLA TREKKING UGANDA SAFARIS | ACTIVITIES | ATTRACTIONS | SAFARI LODGES/ACCOMMODATION IN BWINDI NATIONAL PARK.
Find ALL The Much-Needed Information About Bwindi National Park In Uganda Such As:- Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Bwindi Safari, Attractions, Activities, Bwindi Safari Lodges/Accommodation/Where To Stay, How To Get A Uganda Gorilla Safari Permit, Uganda Gorilla Trekking Travel Tips/Advice, What To Wear For Gorilla Trekking, When To Go/Best Time To Go And Trek/See Mountain Gorillas In Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park.
VISIT BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK FOR THE BEST GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA.
Composed of 321 km2 of rainforest and accessible only on foot due to the improbable steepness, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Bwindi National Park Forest) was gazetted a national park in 1991 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and the oldest forest where Uganda gorilla trekking safaris & tours were first carried out. It is a wonderful piece of land that survived the last Ice Age, about 15,000 years ago when most other African forests disappeared. The word “Bwindi” in fact translates to “impenetrable” in the local Runyakitara language.
Bwindi is famously known for hosting nearly 51% (459) of the world’s Mountain Gorilla population of about 1063. It is undoubtedly the biggest Uganda tourist attraction, and rightly so for most of the travellers who visit Uganda. Professional guides will take you into the heart of this teeming ecosystem in search of Bwindi habituated gorilla families, whereupon you will spend a magical hour with the greatest of the great apes.
In addition to gorillas, the incredibly biologically varied park also has over 350 Uganda birds (species) including 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 120 Uganda mammals (species) including 9 other primate species, over 200 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs, and over 324 tree species. There are also a variety of fantastic Uganda safari lodges in Bwindi and next to the forest.
QUICK BWINDI NATIONAL PARK FACTS
- Location: South-western Uganda
- Size: 321km2 of unspoiled rainforest
- Altitude: 1160m to 2607m above sea level
- History: Gazetted in 1991 and declared a World Heritage Site in 1994
- Bwindi means “impenetrable” in the local Runyakitara language.
- Species: 120 mammal species, 351 species of birds, and 220 butterfly species
- Best known for Excellent gorilla trekking, as it hosts half of the world’s mountain gorilla
OTHER UGANDA SAFARI DESTINATIONS AROUND BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST
LOCATION OF BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHERE IS BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south-western Uganda about 540km from Kampala, on the edge of the western rift valley, and mostly accessible by road. It lies in the Kabale, Kanungu, and Kisoro Districts of Uganda. The ancient forest is surrounded by intensely cultivated agricultural lands, previously covered by forest vegetation.
SAMPLE POPULAR UGANDA GORILLA TREKKING SAFARIS IN BWINDI NATIONAL PARK
4 Days Uganda safari is a short 3nights/4days Uganda tour featuring a Gorilla safari taking you Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi & amazing wildlife safari in Uganda Queen Elizabeth Park…Read More
4 days Uganda tour is a 3 nights 4 day Uganda tour offering gorilla trekking trip in Bwindi Impeterable National Park & wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park….Read More
Our 4 days Uganda gorilla safari is a 3 nights/4 days Gorilla trekking Uganda tour that starts and ends in Kampala with 2 (double) Gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park…Read More
5 days Uganda safari is an amazing 4nights 5 day Uganda safari tour offering gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park & game viewing safari tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park…Read More
8 Days Safari in Uganda, is a 7 nights 8-day safari in Uganda tour offering gorilla trekking, chimpanzees, wildlife game viewing & community walking in Bwindi, Kibale, Queen & Lake Bunyonyi ….Read More
The 10 Days Uganda Safari is a 9 nights/10 day Uganda tour featuring Gorilla gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Chimps in Kibale, wildlife viewing, community & sightseeing…Read More
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHAT TO SEE IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK?
There are a variety of amazing things to see in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The top Uganda safari best attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park include the rare and endangered mountain gorillas, prolific birdlife, beautiful scenery, amazing people and culture around the park, and more.
Here Are The Details Of All Top Attractions In Bwindi National Park:
Gorillas In Bwindi
Wild Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in the dense misty jungle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are the world’s most powerful and endangered great apes.
Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi live in close-knit family groups that are headed by a silverback – a mature male – who selects places for the group to eat and sleep and has many privileges, including the right to feed first.
The Silverback Gorilla is up to 3 times as hefty as a normal full-grown human, and his shaggy coat adds to the impression of bulk, making him look exceedingly large and scary. However, these apes are gentle and peaceful primates and are not easily provoked. They are more likely to display aggression to warn intruders away when they feel threatened or think that their family is in danger, but the likelihood of them actually hurting you is quite low.
Bwindi gorillas, as you will also learn during your Uganda gorilla safari, mostly restrict their activities to a specific territory, normally with a 41km2 radius. You will be able to visit a particular gorilla family on your gorilla trekking Uganda tour in Bwindi.
Gorilla Families in Bwindi
Bwindi is a proud home of 19 fully habituated gorilla families and 1 semi-habituated family. Each habituated gorilla family in Bwindi has something to offer which may be in terms of character, size, and more.
All habituated gorilla families in Bwindi are known by name and have been given names to identify them. The families are found in the 4 different sectors of the park. Each gorilla sector function as a self-standing Uganda gorilla trekking destination has its own set of accommodation options, a variety of tourist attractions, and is reached by a different approach road from the other location.
Below Are The 4 Sectors Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park In Which Gorillas Are Found:
Buhoma Gorilla Sector
Buhoma Sector is set at an altitude of about 1,500m on the Bwindi’s northern boundary. Buhoma is where gorilla trekking in Uganda was first launched back in 1993.
It is the park’s busiest tourist focus despite the opening of other 3 gorilla trekking trailheads. The sector provides some of the most accessible Uganda gorilla treks. It is relatively easy to access from Kampala City and has 4 fully habituated gorilla families, including:
- Mubare Gorilla Family
- Habinyanja Gorilla Family
- Rushegura Gorilla Family
- Katwe Gorilla Family
Ruhija Gorilla Sector
Ruhija is the Bwindi highest and arguably most beautiful sector. The sector has situated an altitude of 2,340 meters in the hills abutting the park’s eastern boundary. It was opened up for gorilla trekking in 2008 and currently has 4 habituated gorilla families, including:
- Bitukura Gorilla Family
- Oruzugo Gorilla Family
- Kyaguriro A Family
- Kyaguriro B (Mukiza) Gorilla Family
Rushaga Gorilla Sector
Situated at an altitude of 1,900m near the southern tip of Bwindi, Rushaga became the newest Uganda gorilla trekking sector in 2009.
The sector is characterized by steep valleys dripping with giant tree ferns, stream-filled fissures in cliffs, and towering rocks. It offers terrific views across deep jungle-clad valleys as well as a glimpse of the dramatic Virunga Mountains. It is less known compared to Rushaga and Buhoma but it contains 8 habituated gorilla families and 1 semi-habituated family for the unique Gorilla Habituation Experience. These include:
- Nshongi Gorilla Family
- Mishaya Gorilla Family
- Kahungye Gorilla Family
- Bushingye Gorilla Family
- Bweza Gorilla Family
- Mucunguzi Gorilla Family
- Rwigi Gorilla Family
- Bikyingi Gorilla Family (Semi Habituated)
- Kutu Gorilla Family
Nkuringo Gorilla Sector
Nkuringo gorilla trekking sectors were opened in 2004 and lie at an altitude of 2,100 meters on the park’s northern border of Kisoro.
The surrounding hills are densely settled by farming communities, but have a remote and underdeveloped feel, on account of the location on a dead-end road ending at the nearby Congolese border. It is a very scenic region, set along the Nteko Ridge, which provides grandstand views across Kashasha River Valley into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
There are 3 habituated gorilla families in Nkuringo including:
- Nkuringo gorilla family
- Christmas gorilla family
- Bushaho gorilla family
More Primates In Bwindi National Park
Besides Mountain gorillas that have made Bwindi famous, this biologically diverse park contains over 120 other species of mammal including 9 primate other species such as:
- Chimpanzees (unhabituated)
- Olive baboon
- Black-and-white colobus
- L’Hoest’s monkey
- Red-tailed monkey
- Blue monkey
- Vervet monkey
- The vulnerable L’Hoest’s monkey
Other Animals In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
In addition to the plethora of primates that swing their way through the treetops, other mammals roam the forest paths of Bwindi, including is a seldom-seen herd of over 30 ‘Forest’ Elephants in the south-east, 6 antelope species including Bushbuck and 5 Duiker species, Giant Forest Hogs, Bush pigs, Golden cats, Jackals, Civet, and other small mammals.
The Rare Birds Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The forested haven of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also a bird watcher’s dream destination, boasting over 350 bird species including 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 species that are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
Here, you have a chance to become the first person to take a photo of Shelley’s Crimsonwing in the wild. The park’s Ruhija sector offers particularly diverse birding, and here keen birders can visit Mubwindi Swamp to see the mysterious African green broadbill. This globally threatened species is only known from 2 sites in the world, the other being a remote forest in DR Congo.
Below Is A List Of The 23 Albertine Rift Endemic Bird Species In Bwindi National Park:
- African green broadbill
- Shelley’s Crimsonwing
- Handsome Francolin
- Rwenzori Turaco
- Rwenzori Nightjar
- Dwarf Honeyguide
- Kivu Ground Thrush
- Red-Throated Alethe
- Archer’s Robin-Chat
- Rwenzori Apalis
- Mountain Masked Apalis
- Grauer’s Swamp Warbler
- Grauer’s Warbler
- Neumann’s Warbler
- Yellow-Eyed Black Flycatcher
- Chapin’s Flycatcher
- Rwenzori Batis
- Stripe-Breasted Tit
- Blue-Headed Sunbird
- Regal Sunbird
- Rwenzori Double-Collared Sunbird
- Purple Breasted Sun Bird
- Dusky Crimsonwing
Butterflies Of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
As if the colorful flashes of blue-headed sunbirds and black bee-eaters were not dazzling enough, Bwindi’s 220 montane butterfly species put on their own display, adding to the otherworldly feeling of the dappled green light.
Butterflies in Bwindi comprise around 84% of Uganda’s total butterfly species, including 8 species endemic to the Albertine Rift.
Beautiful Scenery Of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
In 2019, CNN Travel ranked Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as the world’s most beautiful place. According to CNN, Bwindi is one of the world’s spectacular places, full of hidden and overt beauty in every corner that shouldn’t miss on a bucket list of one looking for an outstanding adventure on a Uganda safari tour.
CNN recognized what we have always known. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a primeval ecosystem, wrapped in a blanket of mist; verdant, muddy, and bursting with the secret sounds of hidden life. Precipitous slopes descend to deep valleys cut into the landscape by tumbling mountainous streams and waterfalls. Ancient hardwood trees are interspersed with bamboo thickets, delicate fern fronds, and dangling vines
Amazing People & Culture Around Bwindi
Alongside the primates and the birds, it is important to remember that the Uganda cultures of her local people have as important a part to play in the story of Bwindi as the gorillas.
Happily, a visit to Bwindi does include the opportunity to discover the story of the Batwa people, original human inhabitants of the forest, and the Bakiga people, farmers from the forest fringe, supporting sustainable development projects as a result.
The Batwa People Around Bwindi
The Batwa people lived in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for over 1000 years. They lived a typical hunter-gatherer culture; the men used simple spears or bows and arrows to catch birds, monkeys, small antelopes, and bush pigs, while the women foraged for wild honey, fruits, and berries.
There was no farming. There was no destruction of the forest, no charcoal burning, their shelters did not disturb the environment, and they lived in harmony with their beloved forests, wildlife including the gorillas.
However, in 1991, times changed for the Batwa. In the name of preserving the ancient rainforest and its unique wildlife, the keepers of the forest were evicted and relocated to neighboring communities. Since that time, they have lived on the forest fringes, unable to hunt, often squatting in the gardens of villagers, uneducated, and unable to make a future for themselves.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHAT TO DO IN BWINDI NATIONAL PARK? | UGANDA SAFARI ACTIVITIES IN BWINDI FOREST
There is a variety of amazing Uganda safari things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Visiting Bwindi means gorilla trekking, but also hiking and nature walks through the forest, birding, cultural visits with Batwa and Bakiga people, and more.
Here are the top Uganda safari activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi
Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi really is a bucket list experience that naturalists from all over the world dream of doing!
Uganda gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi starts with a briefing from expert local guides at the respective park headquarter. At 8 am you embark on the trek within the impenetrable forest in search of these great mountain creatures. Bwindi is inhabited by about 459 individual gorillas, known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the Mountain Gorillas in the world.
Taking 2-8 hours, the trek for these great apes is relatively tiresome as the forest can be quite wet and the going fairly steep. But the bit of exercise will be very well rewarded by meeting, watching, spending time with, and photographing these incredible creatures as you look straight into their inviting, brown, expressive eyes. This is a thrill of a lifetime only Bwindi can offer you.
Although the gorillas will be the highlight, you will see other mammals, unique plants, birds, and butterflies. After the life-changing Uganda gorilla trekking experience, you will return to the starting point where you are rewarded with a gorilla trekking certificate at your gorilla graduation.
Note: You need to wear long-sleeved pants and shirts to avoid scratches as you trek through the forest, carry a rain poncho, seasoned boots, lots of water, lunch, and finally consider hiring a potter because the terrain can be difficult.
In the rainy season, the rain forest might be a bit muddier and your tracking might be a bit longer/ tougher because of that. However; it’s a RAIN forest, so the difference is not all that big compared to the dry season.
Gorilla Trekking Rules In Bwindi
- Only 8 individuals from 15 years of age are permitted to trek a gorilla family per day.
- You need to be in good health condition otherwise you will not track because humans and Gorillas can easily pass diseases to each other.
- You are required to be 10 meters away from the gorillas,
- Do not use flash photography
- Do not look directly in the eyes of the gorilla for an extended period.
- You are allowed 1 hour with the gorillas after encountering them
Read More About The Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules
How To Book A Gorilla Permit For Bwindi?
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is done after purchasing a gorilla trekking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Bwindi gorilla permits are very popular and a total of 152 permits are available per day. The permits get sold out far in advance, especially in the high season of June – September, and December – February. You are advised to use a reputable tour operator and book your permits at least 3 months in advance.
Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Permit Price
A Uganda Gorilla Permit for Bwindi costs:
USD 700 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
USD 600 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
UGX 250,000 for East African Citizens
Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi
There is one gorilla family (Bikyingi) that is being habituated in the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. You can be part of that special habituation program!
Under the habituation experience, you accompany researchers, trackers, and rangers in the forest to track and spend 4 hours with this semi-habituated gorilla family. A maximum of 4 visitors is allowed on this unique gorilla encounter, instead of 8.
Bwindi Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit Price
The Uganda gorilla habituation experience safari is more expensive than the standard Uganda gorilla trekking and the permit cost;
USD 1,500 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
USD 1000 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
UGX 750,000 for East African Citizens
Birding/Birdwatching In Bwindi National National Park
Bwindi forest is a prime Uganda birding destination and was named as Africa’s number one of all Uganda birding spots by Africa Bird Club. If you have limited time in Uganda and you must choose only one park for birding then, Bwindi National Park should be your choice. It boasts 351 Uganda birds species including 23 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemics.
Birding in Uganda‘s Bwindi is mainly done in 2 park sectors of Ruhija and Buhoma. A bird walks in the Ruhija sector, down to the famous Mubwindi Swamp is not for the faint-hearted.
It is an obligate pilgrimage for the serious birder since it is down there that resides the most exclusive of Bwindi’s Albertine Rift endemics; the mythical Grauer’s broadbill or African green broadbill. It is a globally threatened species and only known from two sites in the world, the other being a remote forest in eastern DR Congo.
Birding Fees For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
USD 30 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
USD 15 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
UGX 10,000 for East African Citizens
Scenic Hikes/Nature Walks In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Guided scenic hikes and nature walks are available from each sector of Bwindi. In the Buhoma sector, the hikes range from 30 minutes to 8 hours in duration, offering a great opportunity to enjoy the tranquility and broader biodiversity of the forest; monkeys, birds, and butterflies.
The best-guided nature walk in Buhoma is probably the 3-hour Waterfall Trail, which leads for 2 kilometers along the disused logging road to Nkuringo before ascending through a beautiful area of forest to a 33 meter-high waterfall on the Munyaga River. The 7 hours Ivi River Walk also leads for 14km with a good opportunity for seeing monkeys, duikers, and a variety of birds.
In Ruhija, you can hike the 6-hour Bamboo Trail that leads to the 2607 meters Rwamunyonyi Peak, which is the highest point in the park, and notable for good birding.
Nature Walk Fees For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
USD 30 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
USD 30 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
UGX 10,000 for East African Citizens
Cultural & Community Walks Near Bwindi
Before or after your gorilla trekking in Bwindi, you have a chance to immerse yourself in the customs and practices of the local Bakiga and Batwa people.
You have to meet and interact with the first people of the forest– the Batwa hunter-gatherers in Buhoma. They have inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for thousands of years and have not forgotten the old ways of life. You meet the traditional healers who treat the sick with medicinal plants. Learn how Bananas are used to make juice, beer, and gin – and you can taste the results!
In the Nkuringo sector, you can visit the blacksmith, a tour that rewinds time to the Stone Age period with the sound of sheepskin bellows spewing air into a charcoal-fired furnace, from which the blacksmith hooks out red hot metal and hammers it into tools – from machetes to knives.
You also have the opportunity to watch the region’s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The Bakiga are phenomenally energetic performers who compete to see who can thump their bare feet loudest on the ground; the best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake!
BEST LODGES IN BWINDI ∣ ACCOMMODATION IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
There is a variety of Uganda safari lodges or accommodation/lodges in Bwindi and next to the forest. Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park ranges from luxury, midrange to budget eco-lodges to tented camps. The majority of these Uganda safari lodges/accommodations in Bwindi are found in Buhoma.
Here Are The Best Bwindi Lodges And Camps For Your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tours:
Luxury Lodges In Bwindi National Park
Luxury safari lodges in Bwindi National Park are many and found in the different sectors of the park. For breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences these are our top luxury places to stay on your Uganda tour to Bwindi:
Buhoma Lodge is situated a short stroll from the gorilla trekking briefing point. The lodge has an intimate, homely atmosphere. During the cool evenings, you can sit by the fire in the lounge and chat about your day’s adventures.
Return to your room, which is heated by hot coals and hot-water bottles in your bed, for a peaceful night’s sleep. This is a good base from which to trek the gorillas in the ancient rainforest, a truly life-changing activity.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Located in Buhoma Sector, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is positioned within the beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This camp is the closest to the gorillas of all the properties in the area, and sometimes, the gentle giants even visit the camp!
The camp is owned and operated by Sanctuary Retreats, a name synonymous with fabulous locations and luxurious accommodation. It is ideal for those who are interested in basing themselves within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for gorilla trekking, rather than outside the park’s borders.
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is situated in Buhoma Sector just outside Bwindi, about 500 meters from the start of the gorilla trekking trailhead. Its unique, upscale design stands in connection with its striking surroundings of the forest.
You can expect to have every creature’s comfort at their disposal while reveling in the beauty of Uganda’s highlands. Treatments at the Humula Forest Spa are paired with spectacular views for the ultimate rejuvenation.
Mahogany Springs is situated in Buhoma Sector just a couple of kilometers from Bwindi National Park, in a farmland setting with lovely views of the Munyaga river and the forest. It has the feel of a classic safari lodge, with one of the finest locations of all the properties in the park. The lodge provides a peaceful base from which to enjoy gorilla trekking and many other exciting activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge has a fabulous location on Nteko Ridge, which overlooks Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Once a modest campsite, today it provides excellent accommodation and activities for visitors to the park. The lodge won the 2020 World Travel Award as Uganda’s Leading Safari Lodge!
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, appropriately, is set high up on a hilltop in the Nkuringo sector, and is described as resembling a ski chalet in the Alps! The views are indeed breathtaking, featuring vast tracts of the forest as well as the Virunga volcanoes.
Your incomparable experience of gorilla trekking is topped with relaxing foot massages for tired feet. And your hearty Ugandan-inspired meals are served on the outdoor verandah – a magical vantage point that gives the illusion of dining up among the clouds. The lodge is sure to provide a dreamy luxury Uganda safari.
Chameleon Hill Lodge
Chameleon Hill Lodge is set in a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Mutanda, between Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. The lodge has lovely views of Lake Mutanda, its islands, and hills all around. And in the background, rise the majestic Virunga Volcanoes! It is an ideal place on your Bwindi gorilla trekking tour in the Rushaga sector.
Mutanda Lake Resort
Mutanda Lake Resort is situated on a peninsula in the spectacular Lake Mutanda, between the town of Kisoro, Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi. The property boasts amazing views over the lake as far as the Virunga Mountains! It is perfect for keen gorilla trackers who would like to enjoy a great mix of activities, all from a comfortable base!
Gorilla Mist Camp – Ruhija
Featuring 12 well-appointed rooms with views of the Bwindi Forest Canopy, Virunga mountain ranges, free Wi-Fi, Gorilla Mist Camp offers accommodation in the Ruhija sector Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is located about 50kms from Kabale town and 30 kilometers from Buhoma, Bwindi national park’s headquarters.
Agandi Uganda Eco-Lodges
On the edges of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the delightful small village of Ruhija is certainly the best place to enter the park and see the mountain gorillas (5min from the lodge). The peaceful Eco-lodges offer a 180° panoramic view over an outstanding landscape: the bright green hills, the famous primary forest, and the long chain of Volcanoes in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo.
Built overlooking a beautiful valley, Bakiga Lodge is a wonderful accommodation for visitors looking for a real African experience with amazing views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It is a high-quality African eco-lodge, situated in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi national park, just a few minutes’ drive from the Gorilla trekking trailhead.
Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Ichumbi derived from the local Rufumbira dialect means ‘ a cool, comfortable home ‘. The lodging facility that is just 10 minutes’ walk to Rushaga gate of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, has a spectacular view of the park right from your room! It is designed to provide you with comfort and relaxation to be able to enjoy your Gorilla tracking experience, go birding watching and enjoy forest life surrounded by the impressive landscape
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Buhoma Community Rest Camp is located before the entrance to Bwindi National Park. The camp gives outdoor enthusiasts a taste of safari-style and is an excellent base camp for gorilla tracking as well as observing the many endemic bird species that inhabit the region.
Trekkers Tavern Cottages
Trekkers Tavern is located in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi. The cottages rest on a hilltop overlooking the magnificent Virunga volcanoes and the panoramic views of the Bwindi forest. There are 5 cottages in total with en suite bathrooms, hospitable staff, and friendly services.
Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge
Rushaga Gorilla Haven’s Lodge is situated in a Ryarutagara spectacular spot in the Kisoro district of Uganda. The property on which the Lodge sits was acquired by Bishop Enoch Kayeeye in 1964. It was formally occupied by immigrants for many years. He maintained it in its natural beauty with surrounding natural trees that have on occasion attracted monkeys and other wildlife. The majestic mountain gorillas have been seen several times on the edge of the forests just across the havens!
HOW TO GET THERE TO BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi is accessed using several routes all converging near Butogota.
- From Kabale is a 108km drive to Buhoma via Ruhija that takes about 3hr but a bit longer if it rains and 4wd vehicles are highly recommended.
- From Kampala to Buhoma, the best route is the surfaced road to Kabale up to Ntungamo about 60km from Mbarara.
- From Ntungamo a right turn for 45km leads to Rukungiri, from here through Kambuga to Kanungu finally connects to Butogota 17km to Buhoma Park Headquarters.
- The whole journey distance of 534 km, takes 9-11 hours. An early morning start for the journey is recommended as well as the use of a 4WD vehicle.
- From Kasese/Fort Portal there are two routes:one via Katunguru,Ishasha and Kahihi taking 3-5hrs.The other route follows the Mbarara road as far as Ishaka, 33km from here to Kagambe on Kabale road at the junction with the Ntungamo-Rukungiri from here further directions to Buhoma are as given above.
YOU CAN USE ANY OF THESE 2 ROUTES TO DRIVE FROM ENTEBBE INTERNATIONAL PORT/KAMPALA OR FLY FROM ENTEBBE TO KISORO AIRFIELD THEN DRIVE FOR 1 HOUR TO BWINDI NATIONAL PARK
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BWINDI
What Is Bwindi National Park Famous For?
Bwindi National Park is famous for offerings gorilla trekking in Uganda. The park is home to over 459 mountains which is almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population of around 1063. Bwindi also offers hiking in and through the forest, birding, cultural visits with the Batwa people, mountain biking, village visits.
How Big Is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 321 square kilometers in size. Its altitude ranges from 1,160 to 2,607 meters above sea level. About 60% of the park has an elevation of over 2000 meters. The highest point in Bwindi is known as Rwamunyonyi Hill at the eastern edge of the park and the lowest part is at its most northern tip.
When Was Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Gazetted?
The forest was proclaimed as the Impenetrable Forest Reserve in 1932 and this remained its official name until 1991 when it was gazetted a national park and renamed Bwindi. Realizing that this local name has less allure to tourists than the colonial name (though the two words were close to the meaning), Uganda wildlife Authority subsequently expanded the name to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Why Is It Called Bwindi?
The name ‘Bwindi’ is derived from the local Runyakitara word “Mubwindi” which means “a place of darkness”. It is actually derived from the local phrase ‘Mubwindi Bwa Nnyinamukari’ which originally referred to the Mubwindi swamp, near the Ruhija sector in the Southeast of the park.
The story behind this name goes to about a century ago, when it is said, a family migrating northward from the Kisoro area found themselves standing at the southern end of a seemingly impenetrable swamp. The parents asked the swamp spirits for guidance and were told that if they sacrifice the most beautiful daughter, Nnyinamukari, would the rest of the family cross without mishap. After 2 days of deliberation, the family decided that they could not turn back south, and so they threw the girl into the water down and went on their way safely to the other side. When news of the sacrifice spread, people began to avoid the swamp, calling it ‘Mubwindi Bwa Nnyinamukari’−‘Dark place of Nnyinamukari’.
How Old Is Bwindi?
Bwindi is one of Africa’s oldest rainforests, dating back over 25,000 years. It is an amazing piece of land; it survived the last Ice Age about 15,000 years ago when most other forests in Africa disappeared.
What Animals Live In Bwindi?
Animals in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include over 120 mammal species, 351 species of birds, and 220 butterfly species. The most amazing animals to look for in Bwindi include Mountain gorillas, Elephants, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Black and white colobus monkey, Olive baboons, Blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Forest duikers, and Giant Forest hogs.
How Many Gorillas Are In Bwindi?
Bwindi is home to about 459 individual Mountain Gorillas as per the last 2018 Gorilla Census, known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world.
How Many Gorilla Families Are In Bwindi?
Bwindi contains about 50 gorilla families and 13 solitary individuals according to the most survey, undertaken in 2018. The park, however, has 19 fully habituated gorillas families set for Uganda gorilla trekking experience and one semi habituated gorilla family group for Gorilla Habituation experience in Uganda.
Where Is Bwindi National Park Located?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south-western Uganda on the edge of the western rift valley. It lies in the Rukungiri, Kabale, and Kisoro Districts of Uganda. This ancient forest is surrounded by intensely cultivated agricultural lands, previously covered by forest vegetation.
How Long Is Kampala To Bwindi?
The distance from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable National park is approximately 540km, about an 8-9 hours’ drive.
How to Get To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be reached by road and air. The road trip from Entebbe or Kampala to Bwindi takes about 8-9 hours. You can also fly to the Kihihi airstrip from Entebbe International Airport (1 hour), then transfer by road to your lodge. Aero link operates a daily flight schedule to Bwindi, combined with other destinations within Uganda. For more details, check out our guide on how to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Bwindi National Park?
You can visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park year-round. But the best times to visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking in Uganda, hiking, and birding are the drier months of June to mid-September and December, January, and February.
The heaviest rainfall normally occurs from mid-March to the end of May and then again at the end of September through to November. While the rains in March to May are often short, those in September to November are more often characterized by hours of soft drizzle. It does become harder when the trails are mud-slides and water is running down your neck, soaking you through. But don’t discount the ‘rainy season’. Permits are easier to come by at relatively short notice and something is exhilarating about sitting, mud-covered and uncaring, among a group of gorillas, feeling like you are the only people in the forest.
Note: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a rainforest and the weather can be unpredictable. You should always be prepared for rain when visiting Bwindi.
Is Bwindi National Park Safe?
It is safe and secure to visit Bwindi National Park. Security measures in the park are continuously reviewed and improved to give gorilla trekkers, birders, and hikers, a safe and secure experience. Also, UWA, its veterinary staff, and the Ministry of Health have instituted COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will protect visitors, staff, local population, and importantly the endangered mountain gorillas. Visitors to Bwindi that want to trek the gorillas must now follow the COVID-19 SOP for gorilla trekking including, hand washing/sanitization, wearing of face masks, and social distancing.
From there a Uganda safari undertaker can then proceed to the north to encounter Queen Elizabeth National Park – the world biosphere reserve to view the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, the famous boat ride of Kazinga Channel, and the game drive along the Kasenyi track. Proceed to the north to encounter the 1,509m Mt Ruwenzori famously Known as the Mountains of the moon suitable for Adventure safaris, especially mountain climbing.
Continue to the primate capital of the world – Kibale national Park well known for populations of habituated chimpanzees thus a haven for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda before proceeding to Semuliki National Park well known for its prehistoric tree species and the Sempaya hot springs.
The journey of your safari in Uganda still continues to Murchison falls National Park – the largest protected area in Uganda for the powerful Murchison falls, the big five, Giraffe, and Nile River itself. Proceed far northeast to Kidepo National Park – one of most of the remaining wilderness parks in Africa to encounter endemics like Cheetah, Kavirondo bush baby, Ostrich among others plus the rewarding landscapes of the Karamoja region that will optimize your Uganda safari memories. Drive towards the south via Mount Elgon – the dormant Volcanic Mountain suitable for Hiking, viewing Sipi falls, the caves, and paintings on the mountainside before announcing the end of your Uganda safari tour.
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