Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is probably the most popular tourism destination in Uganda because of the mountain gorillas and the popular gorilla trekking adventure which is on many travelers’ trips to Uganda and Africa. The park lies in the highland region of southwestern Uganda near the borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bwindi National Park rightfully called “impenetrable” covers 321 square kilometers of dense rainforest and thick vegetation, interspersed with numerous streams and sparkling waterfalls. If you want to experience a true African jungle then Bwindi is the perfect destination.

Bwindi National Park’s high altitude ranges from 1,190m to 2,600m above sea level. The weather is always chilly because of the high altitude and dense forest.

Wildlife of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi National Park was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1994 because of its rich biodiversity. It harbors an array of flora and fauna including nearly half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi forest supports over 400 species of trees, 200 butterflies species, 350 birds species, and 120 mammals.

A number of large mammals which inhabit Bwindi forest include forest elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, etc. However these are not easy to see due to the thickness of the forest and the uneven mountain terrain.

11 primate species have been recorded including Black-and-white Colobus, Baboons, Chimpanzees, L’Hoest Monkeys, De Brazza Monkey, and the endangered Mountain Gorillas.

The legendary Three-horned Chameleon is one of the tiny creatures of the Bwindi forest that delight tourists during treks in the park.

Activities in Bwindi National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park

The Gorilla trekking adventure activity is the flagship of tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Arguably the best wildlife adventure in the world, the Gorilla trek offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to come face to face with the last of the wild Mountain Gorillas in their untouched habitat. Mountain Gorillas are known not to survive out of their natural habitat hence you cannot find Mountain Gorillas (not to be confused with lowland Gorillas) in Zoos! There are up 12 habituated Gorilla families in Bwindi and each is available for tracking by a group of not more than 8 tourists who can be with the gorillas for only one hour. On persons of 15 years ad above are allowed to track the Gorillas.

Bwindi is divided into 4 centers/regions from which to set off for the gorilla trek, namely Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga.

More about gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Habituation Experience trek

The gorilla habituation experience trek in Bwindi National Park is the alternative to the gorilla trek if you want to have a chance to see the gorillas a little longer. The traditional gorilla trek allows just one hour to be around the gorillas after finding them, the habitation experience on the other hand is a total of 4 hours including the time take while trekking to find them. If you find them in about an hour then you have a chance to see them for the 3 remaining hours. Only one gorilla group is available for the habituation experience and no more than 4 participants are allowed for a the day’s session.

Birding in Bwindi National Park

When it comes to birding tours in Uganda Bwindi National Park is a birding destination that does not miss on the Uganda birding itinerary. It is one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) and is ranked Africa’s number one birding spot. There are 23 out of 24 of Uganda’s Albertine Rift Endemic birds. The Ruhija area of Bwindi offers an almost guaranteed sighting of the African Green Broadbill – one of the top ten most sought after birds for twitchers in Uganda. Other highly sought after birds of Bwindi include Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Dwarf Honeyguide, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Laden’s Bush-shrike, Oberlaender’s Ground-thrush.

Nature walks – Waterfalls trail trek

Other than the famous Mountain Gorilla trek, Bwindi offers wonderful nature treks into the forest. There are a number of well maintained trails and wide tracks that lead through the forest offering great views of the forest and plenty of wildlife. The most interesting trail is one in the Buhoma area of the park that leads to beautiful waterfalls. On the trek you get to observe a range of tree species and flowery plants, and encounter some of the forest’s inhabitants including plenty of birds, butterflies, monkeys, chameleons, forest elephants. On a lucky day you could as well encounter the Gorillas. Tired and sweaty from the trek, take a plunge into the cold whirlpool below the waterfalls, swim and enjoy the wonderful natural moment before trekking back. This is a wonderful trek more so if you miss out on the Gorilla trek. The round trek takes close to 4 hours.

Batwa Trails Walk

The Batwa are former inhabitants of Bwindi forest who not so long ago were evicted from by the government as one of the efforts to conserve the park and protect the gorillas. They depended on the forest for their livelihoods, living as hunters and gatherers. They have a deep connection to the forest. There are well organized trails into the forest where the Batwa show visitors their way of life during the time they lived in the forest. They will take you through their hunting routines, their traditions and customs, show you their tree houses, and show you a number of medicinal plants which provided their treatment for a number of sicknesses. At the end of the trail you are treated to traditional dances.

How to reach Bwindi National Park

The journey by car from Kampala to Bwindi takes at least 8 hours, depending on the tracking area of the park you are to visit.

There are also scheduled flights from Entebbe Airport to Kisoro located an hour’s drive to the park.

Lodging in Bwindi

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge,

Mid-range: The Haven Lodge, Gorilla Mist Lodge, Lake Mutanda Resort

Budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Broadbill Camp

Trips to Bwindi Forest National Park

3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Trek Uganda

3 days Fly in gorilla trip

Share This!