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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a large primeval forest located in south-western Uganda in the Kanungu District. The forest is on the edge of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, at elevations ranging from 1,160 to 2,607 metres.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most popular national parks that travelers on a safari to Uganda visit. It is a World UNESCO Heritage site and a safari to Uganda is not complete without a visit to the impenetrable forest.

The park is 331 sq. KM (128 sq. miles) comprised of both mountain and lowland vegetation. The top activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable national park are many and one needs at least 5 days to explore the park fully.

Bwindi can be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the north (2-3 hours), from Kabale to the south (1-2 hours), or from Kampala via Mbarara (6-8 hours).

The roads meet at Butogota, 17km from the Buhoma entrance gate. A 4WD vehicle is necessary during the rainy season.

What to Do in Bwindi

Gorilla trekking

Bwindi is open for gorilla trekking all year long, but the best times to go are from June to August and December to February. At these times, the forest trails are drier and therefore less slippery.

Also, your chance of a dry gorilla viewing experience is higher during these months. This might result in a better experience and photography will be easier.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a wonderful experience that allows you to get up close to these gentle giants of the jungle in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is worth the cost, energy and time. Past travelers have reviewed the experience as unforgettable, magical and life-changing worth the penny.

Despite the high costs USD 600, discomfort and time, gorilla watching tours in Uganda remain the best wildlife experience worth doing. Must be booked early enough since they are highly demanded, but only 8 people can track a gorilla family.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park has three sectors where one can see the mountain gorillas from. The Southern Sector (Rushaga and Nkuringo) has the most habituated gorilla families, the northern sector (Buhoma) has 3 habituated gorilla families and the Eastern sector (Ruhija) has 3 habituated gorilla families that can be seen during one of our gorilla trekking safaris.

What to bring

Long safari style trousers, Long safari style shirts or t-shirts, a rain jacket or waterproof jacket, Hair bandana or hat, Waterproof, hiking shoes with grip, Waterproof backpack, Mosquito repellent. Shorts, tight or revealing clothes should be avoided.

And our advice would be to avoid wearing shorts, most Ugandan women would not wear these; they wear skirts or dresses that usually cover the knees. A long skirt or loose-fitting trousers are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.

Gorilla Habituation

Only 4 people can habituate a gorilla family. The gorilla habituation experience only takes place in Rushaga, the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park. It is a once in a life time experience because you get to spend 4 hours with the mountain gorillas from the time you see them.

There are 2 gorilla families being habituated so that they can be trekked in future. Once they are fully habituated, they can be trekked without running away or feeling uncomfortable around human presence. This is perfect for photographers on a safari to Uganda since they spend more time with the gorillas.

Bird Watching

The forest is a birder’s haven and anyone on a bird watching safari should not miss an opportunity to go bird watching in the forest. We offer some bird watching safaris which can be customized to include at least 2 days of birding in the forest.

The forest is home to about 350 bird species. 23 of these bird species are endemic to the Albertine Rift and 14 are recorded nowhere else in Uganda.

Batwa Cultural Experience

Batwa are the first people to live in Uganda and used to live in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and other forests before they were evicted from them by the government. During the Batwa cultural experience, the Batwa people will take you on a hike to the forest, guided by Batwa guides.

They will share with you how they lived, hunted and used the forest plants as medicine. They will teach you how to make fire traditionally, teach you their songs and traditional dances, teach you hunting skills among others. Why miss out for this unique activity in Bwindi national park.

Forest Walks

You can go for guided nature walks to the amazing beautiful water falls. The walks are guided by a ranger guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority staring from Buhoma gate. Munyaga river trail will take you to the most beautiful water falls.

You will also enjoy forest flora, fauna and wildlife such as monkeys that include the black and while colobus monkey, chimpanzees at close proximity. A best choice is the 3-4 hour hike to the waterfall. Look out for different bird species and the small wildlife that may cross the path without forgetting the colourful butterflies.

Buhoma village community walks

This takes about 3 hours, going through the village, learning the normal ways and cultures of the people that live in Buhoma, the Northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

This is a walking trail through the villages. You will be guided by a local, taking you to the highlights of the village. These highlights include a visit to a school, hospital, a traditional healer and a traditional wine making process. By doing this walk, you are supporting the community directly.

Buhoma to Nkuringo hikes

Take a guided walk from Buhoma to Nkuringo or from Nkuringo to Buhoma right through the forest. You will take in the peaceful surroundings of the forests, see many birds and learn so much about the forest. The walk may take about 6 hours.

Mountain Biking

The Northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable provides the best biking experience. This activity is carried out by Ride 4 a Woman, a community support group. They offer mountain bike rentals and guided bikes in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National park. The bikes take about 3 hours or longer.

Mutanda Lake Trip

Mutanda Lake is a beautiful lake located in the Southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National park. The lake and its many islands can be explored using a dugout canoe boat with knowledge guides. You may just choose to go on a relaxed sunset boat cruise.

Where to Stay in Bwindi.

Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge

Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is the finest luxury lodge at Bwindi. With dramatic intense views of the forest. Situated on a hill overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge comprises of eight stone and tile bandas located in the North-Western part of Buhoma area.

The lodge is the focal point for trekking the habituated gorilla families in Buhoma region. About 3 gorilla families including; Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura have been habituated for tracking in Buhoma.

The location of Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is suitable for gorilla trekking, among other safari activities.

The Lodge is comprised of 8 self-contained thatched stone-and-tile cottages. All the cottages are well furnished and they have ensuite bathrooms and toilet facilities.

The cottages have private verandas and balconies looking out to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga volcanoes.

The lodge’s kitchen serves a variety of dishes comprising of both local and Western delicacies. The bar is fully stocked with all sorts of beverages inclusive of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

The lounge is cozy and its location gives a spectacular view of the rain-forest, the green terraces and occasional sights of monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, among other wildlife.

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

The Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is 2161m on the Nteko ridge overlooking a beautiful swath of the World-renowned Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

The ridge provides a superb vantage across the Kashasha River Valley to the forested hill known as ‘Nkuringo’ and the surrounding swathe of trees of the Bwindi Forest.

This section of forest is home to the three Nkuringo Gorilla families of Mountain Gorillas from where the Lodge provides a prime access point to the start of the amazing activity.

The Lodge has panoramic views of the majestic volcanoes of the Virunga chain, across the escarpment into the Albertine Rift Valley within the DRC Congo.

Mahogany Springs Lodge

Mahogany Springs offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting.

With some of the most luxurious accommodation in East Africa the feeling that you will experience when staying here is beyond compare.

At Mahogany Springs it is the little touches that make the big difference, from the tiny details in the design of the lodge through to the unrivalled service levels provided by the highly trained management team.

Mahogany Springs is the perfect base from which to begin you Gorilla Tracking or Bird watching adventures.

The Gorillas have been to know to the visit the lodge and coming face to face with one of these peaceful creatures is an indescribable experience.

With more bird species per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world Bwindi is often described as bird watchers paradise and the fact that Mahogany Springs is set back on an open piece of land by the river ensures we have many rare species visiting us every day.

Silverback Lodge

Located in Buhoma and perched up high, Silver-back Lodge overlooks the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail while admiring the views from the Summit Bar. The lodge is 5 minutes’ walk to the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters.

Designed with local materials, the rooms at the lodge have an en suite bathroom with shower. They offer a veranda and the beds are draped with a mosquito net.

Towels are provided. The restaurant serves local and international dishes. Barbecues can be arranged and a bonfire is lit in the evenings.

Activities offered includes gorilla tracking, nature walks, bird watching and mountain biking. Buhoma Village walks can also be organized.

Bwindi cultural centre

Is located in Kisenyi Parish, Kanyantorogo sub county, Kanungu District, 2 kilometres off Kanyantorogo trading centre, which is the main junction linking Queen Elizabeth National Park-Ishasha sector, Mgahinga National park from kabale, to Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Buhoma.

The centre has well-furnished self-contained rooms and bandas filled with water heaters. These are naturally distributed in the green environment comprising of fruit gardens linked by natural walk ways.

The centre has a bar and restaurant which are located in a banana and fruit plantations which are maintained for agro tourism purposes.

Nshongi Camp

Is the perfect location to start your Gorilla tracking, infact it’s the only place in Uganda and in the world where you can track FIVE different Gorilla Groups, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye, Bweza.

Nshongi Camp is just a few minutes’ walk to the Ugandan Wildlife Service hut, the starting point of the Gorilla tracking.

Eco-friendly, rustic and warm, locally own, Nshongi Camp is known as the ideal base for Gorilla tracking, viewing and birding, several of the 315 birds species,  many of them endemics and monkeys can be seen here. Sometime at night even the bush elephants come close to the camp.

Bwindi Backpackers Lodge

Offers accommodation for travelers on gorilla tracking, cultural and volunteering expeditions right in the heart of the Bwindi.

The lodge is located near the tracking points of 6 habituated Gorilla groups of … We cater for independent travelers, backpackers, over landers and campers.