Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of the UNESCO designated World Heritage sites in Uganda, it is home to half of the remaining endangered mountain gorillas in the world, it is also home to chimpanzees making it one of the only places in the world where the two great apes co-exist. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located far in the southwestern part of Uganda neighboring districts Kabale, Kisoro, and Rubanda districts; it is close to Kigali, Rwanda with only 4 to 5 hours drive to reach the park from Kigali city. The Park has one of the great species diversity in Africa with more than 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos recorded, and many more endangered species offering a visitor to this park with a variety to see on his or her safari. Gorilla tracking is one of the major activities done in Bwindi but there are many more things to do and see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park as detailed below.
Gorilla trekking is the major activity done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, this involves walking/hiking through Bwindi forest to search for the mountain gorillas, you will walk through swamps, cross rivers, hike, and make ne trails to penetrate through the forest until you find the gentle giants the mountain gorillas in their habitat and once you find them you will spend one hour interaction and encounter with them. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi is done at four major areas/sections which include Buhoma and Ruhija in the North part of Bwindi, Nkuringo and Rushaga in the southern part of the park, for you to trek in a given section this will depend on the gorilla permit location you purchase. A gorilla permit allows you to trek mountain gorillas giving you an opportunity to spend one hour with them in Bwindi, this is purchased directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through Pinnacle Africa Safaris. A gorilla permit costs USD700 for the Foreign nonresident, USD600 for the Foreign resident and USD70 (250,000 Uganda Shilling) for the East African Citizen per person per trek. If you are interested in gorilla trekking in Bwindi we advise you book your permits in advance atleast 3 to 4 months prior visiting the park for the trek however last-minute booking is also possible as long as the permits are available for a given date.
Gorilla Habituation Experience is another great activity to do in Bwindi. Gorilla Habituation Experience is a gorilla activity that involves trekking/walking and hiking through the forest to search for semi-habituated mountain gorillas which leave together in a given gorilla family group but are not used to human presence, once you find them you will participate in activities geared to making these mountain gorillas get used to human presence. Gorilla Habituation Experience gives you an opportunity to spend much time with the mountain gorillas that is four hours encounter different from the one hour encounter during the normal gorilla tracking. This experience is unique given the fact it gives you an opportunity to learn more about mountain gorillas. It is done is a group of 4 visitors tracking a given semi-habituated gorilla group. A gorilla habituation permit costs USD1500 for the foreign nonresident, USD1000 for the foreign resident and 750,000 Uganda Shilling. Like Gorilla tracking, gorilla habituation permits also sell out quickly we also advise you book your permit in advance 3 to 4 months prior to visiting the park.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of the best birding destinations in Africa. Birding is commonly done in the Mubwindi swamp located between Ruhija and Buhoma sectors in the north. 350 bird species have been recorded in this park including Albertine endemic species, these include African Green Broadbill, Forest Ground Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, the Great Blue Turaco, Red-Breasted Sparrow Hawk, Green Pigeons, Ross’s Turaco, Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, the Re-Throated Alethe, the Paradise Flycatcher and the Gigantic Forest Hornbill, the purple breasted and the blue-headed sunbird, the Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-Breasted Tit, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, and the Regal Sunbird. Spotting the birds may be hard when alone in the forest and with this you will be guided by an experienced guide during your walk through the forest to search for various bird species.
Bwindi is also great for hiking and the most common hiking trail is Buhoma to Nkuringo walking safari and Nkuringo to Buhoma trail, this gives you an opportunity to experience the park diversity up close including seeing the butterflies, various waterfalls, mammals, and primates depending on luck among other animals.
Community walks through the villages provide great insights into the lives of the Bakiga and Batwa pygmy peoples living besides Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi has various trailheads for great forest walks, these are guided by an experienced park ranger where you will have an opportunity to explore the park, learn about various tree species, birds, and other wildlife in the park.
Things to do and see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
By Road: The southern sector of Bwindi Forest National Park can be accessed through the main safari circuit from Entebbe/Kampala which is approximately 8-9 hours drive via the Equator. You will need to turn off at Muko along the Kabale-Kisoro road you will see the signpost of Uganda Wildlife Authority which you will follow up to your booked lodge for accommodation in either Rushaga or Nkuringo sector.
By Air: You can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala’s Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip to access the southern sectors of Rushaga and Nkuringo. Scheduled and chartered flights are available and operated by domestic airline operators of Aero link and Fly Uganda. You will need to plan with your tour operator for a transfer from the airstrip to the Park
Bwindi Forest National Park can be visited throughout the year and the best time is during dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. Things to do and see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Given the fact both treks are done in the forest, where you can encounter insects, stingy trees It is advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. Suggested Items to pack for Gorilla Trekking and Habituation Experience in Bwindi include;
• Insect Repellent
• Torch/Flashlight – and Spare Batteries
• Wet Wipes
• Water Bottle
• Camera and lenses
• Comfortable walking/hiking boots & socks
Most Lodges in Bwindi are located outside the park it is only Buhoma Lodge and Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp are located within the park, other lodges include Bwindi Lodge, Trackers Safari Lodge, Ruhija Safari Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Ichumbi Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge, and Clouds Gorilla Lodge. Contact our reservations here and we will book your stay in Bwindi accordingly
Eco Adventure Safaris our aim is to provide personalized service with the utmost dedication to the safety and enjoyment of our clients, we have discounted and affordable packages for our clients. We are committed to the well-being of our staff and guests as well as to having a positive impact on the communities and wild places that our operations reach. On all our operations and safaris, we embrace the environmental ethic “Take Nothing but Photographs, Leave Only Footprints“. Contact us here for Safari things to do and see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and safari packages to Bwindi Forest National Park and our dedicated safari consultants will help you plan your safari smoothly.