Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

It lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked. This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable

The highlight of the visit to Bwindi is the magical hour in the company of a family of mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening. Bwindi has 15habituated gorilla families that are tracked from trailheads at Buhoma in northwest Bwindi, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Contact time with the gorillas is limited to 1hour and participants must be aged 15 and over.

Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi’s 4 trail heads all offer exciting birding opportunities with the prospect of checking off forest rarities.The River Ivytrail between Buhoma and Nkuringo is recommended as Is Buhoma ‘s forest edge Munyanga River Trail. Ruhija’s Bamboo trail leading to 2607m Rwamunyoni peak and Mubwindi swamp trail are renowned for Albertine Rift endemics including the localized green broadbill.

Where To Stay?

Bwindi Forest has four gorilla trekking areas where travelers can stay while on safari and below is our pick of the best lodges per sector.

Buhoma sector

  • Gorilla forest camp
  • Buhoma lodge
  • Bwindi lodge

Ruhija sector

  • Bakiga lodge
  • Gorilla mist lodge
  • Broadbill forest camp

Rushaga sector

  • 4 gorillas Lodge
  • Ichumbi gorilla lodge

Nkuringo sector

  • Nkuringo mountain gorilla lodge
  • Chameleon hill on Lake Mutanda
  • Gorilla heights lodge
  • Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge

Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

When most people think of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, they think of mountain gorilla tracking in Africa, which is rightly so because it is the main attraction. However, Bwindi being a heavily dense rainforest, it is home to many birds and animals and several other activities.

Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest

Bwindi is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is done daily after purchasing a gorilla-tracking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. You are advised to book your permit at least 3 months prior to secure your day especially if you prefer a certain location. Only 8 individuals from 15 years of age are permitted to visit a gorilla family per day.

Bird watching

Bwindi should be your choice. It is easily accessible for birding with birding trails in the forest leading to the different areas including the waterfall trail. It is home to about 350 species of birds which include 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda. There are excellent site guides in the communities who are very knowledgeable about the birds in the area especially the endemics. These join you as you take your trip into the forest re-enforcing the team you will have started with on your trip.

Nature and waterfalls walk

There are various trails into the forest for your different interests. You have trails leading to beautiful waterfalls where you can dive in the water. You walk along with an armed Uganda wildlife ranger guide for your protection in case you meet a wild animal but also as a guide. 6km walk around the hill where you have chances of interacting with primates and birds.

Mountain Hiking and biking

Kigezi region where Bwindi impenetrable forest is located in a mountainous area with beautiful scenery. Most lodges have bikes you can rent per day to take on the special trails created in the community otherwise ask them for a project you can rent from. Ivi river trail from Buhoma Park headquarters to Ivi River organized by ‘UWA’.

Community walks and Cultural experiences

Visiting Batwa who people that lived in the forest for many years. Due to pressure from conservation, they were relocated to the nearby villages and you visit their new homesteads and interact with them and share how life was before and how life is of current.