Bwindi Impenetrable Forest obtained a national park status in 1992, and in 1994, it was declared a World Heritage Site. This thick impenetrable forest park covers a total area of 327 square kilometers and it is best known as home of the endangered mountain gorillas. The park is also home to a variety of other wildlife including several birds, small animals and a couple of other primates. Thousands of visitors from all parts of the world to come see these amazing giants during our Uganda Gorillas Tours in Bwindi Forest.
Gorillas are listed among the world’s critically endangered species and today there are less than 800 of these found in the entire world. These can only be seen either in Uganda or in Rwanda.
What to do in Bwindi National Park
Gorilla Trekking Tours
Gorilla trekking is the primary tourist activity within this park and it is mandatory that for anyone to take part in this activity they should have a gorilla tracking permit. It offers holidaymakers a chance to come face to face with the giant graceful mountain gorillas. This activity begins very early in the morning (8:00am) with a briefing by the park warden before setting out in the forest in small groups of eight people led by park rangers who will lead you as you search these thick forests for the gorillas.
Bwindi National Park has a total of 10 habituated gorilla groups and each of these can only be visited by 8 people at a time. This therefore means that there are just a couple of gorilla permits available, so we normally advise all our clients to make their reservations at least three months before their safari date.
Below are the habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi National Park which are open for tourism activities:
- Mubare Gorilla Group also referred to the M Group
- Habinyanja Gorilla Group also referred H Group
- Rushegura Gorilla Group also referred to as the R Group
- Oruzogo Gorilla Group
- Bitukura Gorilla Group
- Nshongi Gorilla Group
- Mishaya Gorilla Group
- Kahungye Gorilla Group
- Busingye Gorilla Group
- Bweza Gorilla Group
- Nkuringo Gorilla Group
Cultural Tours to the Batwa Community
While in Bwindi Park you will visit the Batwa pygmy people. During this cultural experience you will have a cultural walk to their community led by these people themselves. You will learn about the way of life of these people the norms, practices, visit a couple of their local projects, the traditional beer-brewery, the traditional healer, and later on be entertained with music, dance and drama.
Visitors spending a couple of days within this part will have a chance to take part in the nature walks along the different tails. During these walks you will see several primates, butterlies, animals and trees. Below are some of the available forest trails.
The Munyanga River Trail
This short trail will take you to the beautiful waterfall. During the walk you will encounter birds and some monkeys.
The Rushurra Trail
On this trail you will enjoy views over the floor of the western rift valley, views of Parc Nationale des Virungas found in the D.R. Congo as well as the mountains of the Moon on a clear day.
The Muzabajirro Trail
This will take you through the forest to a beautiful site where you will enjoy your picnic lunch. You will see several prehistoric ferns and views of the floor of the Western Rift Valley as well as the Virungas.
Other trails worth exploring include:
The Ruizi River Trail
The Bamboo Trail
Bwindi is home to 348 bird species including 90% of the species endemic to the Albertine rift Endemics. A keen birder will be able to observe about 100 species in a single day. Some of the special species here include: the White-tailed Blue Monarch, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Short-tailed Warbler, Dusky Crimson Wing, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Kivu Ground Thrush, Bar-tailed Trogon, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher as well as Gruer’s Rush Warbler.
The forested nature of Bwindi national park offer habitat to a variety of wildlife among which are 300 different Butterfly species, 50 different reptile species, more than 80 different moth species, 10 different primate species (including mountain Gorillas, L’Hoest’s, baboons, red tailed monkeys, black & white colobus monkeys as well as the blue monkeys), 200 different types of trees and about 120 different mammal species.
There are approximately 350 different types of birds including a couple of Albertine Rift endemics plus some species listed on the IUCN red-data.
How to get there / Access
Bwindi National Park can be reached using either road transport or air transport.
By Air Transport
There are a number of airstrips found around Bwindi National Park and these include: Kisoro, Kihihi or Kayonza airstrip. Holiday makers coming from the capital Kampala can fly there from either Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe airport.
By Road Transport
There are a number of routes that connect to the park, and below we have lighted them.
- the Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo Route
This begins in Kampala all the way to Kabale and then drive another 105 kilometers to Nkuringo for about 4 hours.
- Kampala-Masaka – Kabale- Kanungu to Buhoma
From Kampala you will drive through Masaka to Kabale for about six hours and then continue through Kanungu and Kanyantoro before reaching buhoma driving for another 4-5 hours.
- Kampala-Ntugamo- Rukingiri- through Kihihi to Buhoma
This route is the most commonly used as well as accessible to Bwindi National Park when traveling from the capital. You will drive up to Rukungiri, before going on for another 82 kilometers to Buhoma.
- Traveling from Queen Elizabeth National Park, or Fort Portal town or Kasese
For those traveling from Kasese or Fort Portal or Queen Elizabeth National Park, there are two available routes that can take you to Buhoma, however for the finest views we advise that you use the three hour drive route that takses you through Katunguru, Ishasha as well as Kihihi route. Alternatively drive along Mbarara road all the way to Ishasha, before driving on a rough road to Kabale, through Kagamba and then join Ntungamo–Rukungiri road.
Where to stay in Bwindi National Park / Accommodation
Bwindi National Park has a variety of Accommodation facilities which can accommodate all visitors depending on their budget. Below we have highlighted some of the available facilities.
Luxury and Mid-Range Facilities:
Mantana Tented Camp, Gorilla Forest Camp, Volcanoes Bwindi Camp, Lake Kitandara, Gorilla Resort as well as Buhoma Homestead
Buhoma community bandas, Bwindi view bandas, virunga terraces