The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. The park is situated in of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is along the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border in the virunga mountain region and on the edge of the Albertine Rift valley. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was designated as World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1994.
Bwindi impenetrable national park occupies over 331 square kilometres of both montane and lowland forests. Bwindi national park is shared by Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. And the Majority of the local communities are Bakiga and Bafumbira.
How to get to Bwindi impenetrable national park
Located in the southwestern part of Uganda about 530km from the Kampala to buhoma park headqaurters, Uganda’s capital city and Entebbe International Airport which is 46km from kampala is the main entry point into the county. The most suitable route to the park is the kampala to kabala then to buhoma park head qauters via Kanungu and Kanyantoorogo which takes around 9-11 hours with a 4WD vehicle. Or kampal-Kabale- Ruhija-Buhoma is which is about 509 kilometers and takes about 9-10 hours. With emphasis, A 4WD vehicle is recommended.
However, you can also get there by air where you can fly from Entebbe or Kajjansi Airfield to the Kisoro airstrip and those going to Buhoma can charter planes to Kayonza Airstrip or by road from kampala to your desired destination part of the park
There are two options of transport to reach bwindi national park. The two include by air where you can fly from Entebbe or Kajjansi Airfield to the Kisoro airstrip and those going to Buhoma can charter planes to Kayonza Airstrip or by road from kampala to your desired destination part of the park i.e
-Kampala to Kabale through Kanugu to Buhoma that is if buhoma is your desired park destination. This a tarmac highway route is about 414km which takes about 5-6hours.
– Kampala you could tale the Kampala-Ntugamo-Rukungiri-Kahihi-Buhoma route of about 390km of tarmac and 82km of murram roads.
-There is also the Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma 95km route, and the Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo 80km route.
-You can also take a bus from Kampala to Butogota . From Butogota, you can hire a taxi to take you to Buhoma. There is no public transport to Nkuringo but vehicles can be hired from Kisoro.
The park can be reached from several directions by road. It can be reached from Queen Elizabeth national Park (Mweya) which is about 160km from Bwindi and can be a 3hour ride. However we highly recommend using a tour company since they have tourist vehicles that are suitable for all your transport needs with comfort and quality assurance.
Bwindi forest National Park contains an assortment of jumbled vegetation, steep landscape, slippery valleys, drought ridges and hillsides that are mist-covered with one of the ancient biologically varied rainforests in Uganda comprising of about 400 varied plant species with lots of under growth vegetation. With an altitude of 1160 metres in Ishasha gorge to 2607 metres at Rwamunyonyi Peak. Bwindi national park’s eco diversity is mainly favored by the dense forest and the reliable rain fall received all year round with the short rains received in March – May and long rains received in September – November. However other months are generally dry with annual temperatures ranging between 7-20 degrees Celsius.
Bwindi forest National Park is home to over 120 species of mammals including 7 diurnal primates and about 30 elephants, 27 frog species, numerous chameleons plus geckos. There are about 360 species of birds and over 200 species of butterflies. This afromontane forest houses about 324 tree species, 10 of which occur nowhere in uganda, 100 different species of ferns.
Other species in the park include; chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey, African Elephant, African Green Broadbill, the cream-banded swallowtail, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervets, the giant hog, and small antelope species. There are quite a number of carnivores too including the side-stripped jackal and African civet. More notably, bwindi impenetrable forest protects over 320 population of mountain gorillas which is approximately half of the world’s population. With the efforts of the Uganda wildlife authority, there are a number of habituated gorilla families that are tracked by visitors to the park. Bwindi Gorilla safaris are the most memorable safari experiences ever recorded by most Africa safari travelers. However there are many more activities that are done in bwindi impenetrable national park on a bwindi safari as explained below.
ACTIVITIES TO DO ON BWINDI GORILLA SAFARI IN UGANDA
GORILLA SAFARIS / GORILLA TRACKING
Mountain Gorillas are undoubtedly Bwindi national park’s signature tourist attraction with over 6 gorilla families that have been habituated since April 1993. There are mainly four different gorilla groups that can be visited:
- Mubare group (16 gorillas; 1 silverback )
- Habinyanja group (23 gorillas; 2 silverbacks)
- Rushegura group (9 gorillas; 1 silverback)
- Nkuring group (20 gorillas; 2 silverbacks)
Eight permits per day are sold for each of these groups at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. Book at least 4 months (but not more than one year) in advance to ensure that requested dates are available.
Gorilla Tracking can be physically demanding, so go prepared. The Gorilla Rules prepare you for Gorilla Trekking and give guidance on conservation of the Mountain Gorillas. Please read the Gorilla Rules before your trip.
BIRD WATCHING SAFARI
Bwindi safari is the ultimate Bird watchers choice. Boasting with over 348 species of birds and 90% of all Albertine rift Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, which are hard or impossible to see in any other part of Africa.
An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day. There are mainly seen in Ruhija and Buhoma. However , you are advised to make your interests known to the guide so that appropriate early morning departure is arranged.
Game viewing time:
Tourist can visit the park any time of the year, although the best time is during the dry season. The park is open for gorilla trekking all year long, but the best time is from June to August. Most wildlife is best seen in the dry season when the vegetation is less thick, and there are no heavy rains to interrupt your trip
NATURE WALKS/ hiking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi national park has 4 fantastic hiking trails and on all the walking trails, you will be able to fulfill you safari desires since you will be able to learn and get an upclose encounter with many species of birds, primates, butterflies, trees, and other wild game. These trails will certainly unveil to you the reason why the forest was named “Bwindi” which means “darkness” and tell why it is also regarded as Impenetrable. One requires to be realistically physically fit to take part in this nature walks/ hiking safari adventure because it may involve climbing the steep terrain.
Arrange at the reception for a guide. The guide’s company is obligatory and yet affords you an excellent understanding of nature’s system at work in the park.
THE MUNYANGA RIVER TRAIL
it is the most suitable trail walk for visitors with little time and energy to spare. It provides a short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge in the valley beloow the buhoma trailhead. This popular waterfall trail provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, epithetic ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colourful array of butterflies. This trail which leads to 3 delightful crystal clear waterfalls typifies your impression of a tropical rain forest.
THE RUSHURA hill TRAIL
This trail provides expansive scenaric views across the floor of the western Albertine Rift Valley and to Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north on clear days. And also to the west, Congo’s Parc Nationale des Virungas provides a spectacular backdrop.
THE MUZABAJIRRO TRAIL
Muzabajiro Loop Trail offers the visitors a chance to experience the breath taking views of Bwindi Forest as they climb to the summit of Rukubira hill, Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way, you witness hundreds of pre-historic tree ferns. The top of this trail is a great place for a picnic lunch and camping.
THE RUIZI RIVER TRAIL
This bird watcher’s trail is the longest in the park and it will occupy you for a full day. It will offer you the African chance to watch most of africa’s endemic bird species that call bwindi national park home.
The Trail in YOUR CAR…..
Visitors with their own 4 -wheel drive transport should consider crossing the rugged centre of the park through Ruhija. This transect affords the visitor with Uganda’s finest vistas of deep undisturbed forests. While on this Uganda safari, watch out for duikers, primates and both forest and grassland bird species. In Ruhija, visitors can take the three-hour scenery packed hike to the Mubwindi swamp. You may also walk to the Bamboo zone ( the only such area in the park ).
THE BAMBOO TRAIL
The Bamboo trail offers 14 vegetation types and is one of the areas of highest diversity in the park. At the top of this trail, you witness panoramic views encompassing Lake Bunyonyi and Mafuga Forest.
In the evenings, participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park.
ACCOMMODATION IN Bwindi impenetrable national park
There are many accommodation facilities located bwindi national park and the choice is mainly influenced by the price and the gorilla group you are to trek . i.e. there are budget facilities, midrange facilities and luxury facilities to make your safari relaxation time memorable in Uganda.
African Pearl Safaris offers a medium range accommodation homestead.
Abercrombie and Kent has luxury tented accommodation
Mantana also provides fully furnished luxury tented accommodation.
The local community operate a rest camp with clean and simple bandas. A restaurant serving simple traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner is available.
RUHIJA: There is self catering guest house which is booked in advance through Great Lakes Safaris.
KIHIHI: Savanna Resort Hotel is 40 kms to Buhoma and is adjacent to Ishasha sector, of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Bwindi impenetrable national park Gorilla Trekking and wildlife Safaris
Visit the Mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi impenetrable forest and enjoy the ultimate gorilla experience. We offer tailor made and scheduled Gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris in Uganda and Rwanda at unbeatable prices all inclusive. Alongside your gorilla trek, we combine other interesting activities such as chimpanzee trekking, game viewing, mountain hiking, community tourism, white water rafting and so much more depending on the interest of every traveler. At Adventure in the Wild Safaris, we strive to ensure that you enjoy the most memorable Adventure in East Africa. Contact us to plan your Adventure safari!