Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  (Bwindi Forest National park) is a typical tropical rain forest with an annual mean temperature range of a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. The heavy rains climax from March to April and from September to November.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest became popular to the world because of Gorilla trekking! It is a habitat for more than half of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorilla population. These gentle primates are highly endangered species and the forest possesses more than 360 individuals of the plausible 800 plus mountain gorillas in the entire world. They are highly endangered because of poaching, habitat loss and diseases. This national park generates one of the highest revenues to Uganda Wildlife Authority amongst all the safari parks in Uganda.

Bwindi, located in the southwestern region, on the edge of the rift valley. Commonly referred to as the impenetrable forest, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the western side; Kabale town to the southeast is the nearest main town to the park, 29 kilometers away by road. It covers an area of 331 square kilometers and is located in the highest parts of Kigezi highlands with an altitude of 1,190 to 2,607 meters above sea level and 60% of this magical park has an elevation of over 2,000 meters above sea level. The highest elevation in the park is Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge and the lowest part of the park is located at its most northern tip.

Bwindi Forest National Park is approximately an 8 hour or 9 hour drive from Entebbe by road and just 1 hour away by chartered flights. Usually the first and last days of Uganda gorilla tours are reserved solely for traveling and a few other minor activities along the way. The journey is quite long especially when you are traveling by road but definitely worth it after when you experience a close encounter with the mountain gorillas in it’s forests. There is just a lot behind this destination appearing among the most visited Uganda safari parks and am sure you will see it when you travel. Please check out the list of recommended gorilla safari companies that can organize for you exceptional safari expeditions in the wilderness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can also browse through some of our most popular safari packages below;

Safaris to Bwindi Forest National Park

 

Activities in Bwindi

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking is an experience where a group of people get to hike/trek through the thick forests in order for them to capture a glimpse of what gorillas look like and be able to view the environment in which gorillas stay.

Bwindi forest national park currently has six gorilla trekking sectors namely; Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga, Nyundo and Rubugiri, with Buhoma and Nkuringo emerging as one of the most visited sectors.
The proximity of the national park to the border of Rwanda has long made it possible for tourists to combine Uganda gorilla trekking and Rwanda gorilla trekking experiences in a single itinerary. Such trips can begin either way depending on a client’s preference making it possible to do Gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Rwanda – about (4 – 5 hours drive) from Kigali.

When is the best time to trek Gorillas in Uganda?

The best time to visit the mountain Gorillas in Uganda is mid-June through October, December running through March. This period is the busiest and best time of the year . These are dry months of the year and are the high season or peak seasons for Gorilla Trekking. Though mountain Gorillas can be trekked all year long in Uganda, with no seasonal closures.

Gorilla Habituation

Gorilla habituation is an experience where one gets to visit the mountain gorillas for more than the usual hours time, since these gorillas are being trained to live among-st human beings. The experience is so fascinating as it gives the tourist more time to learn about the mountain gorillas and their behaviors.

In Uganda gorilla habituation only happens in Rushaga gorilla sector which is south of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
The best time to do gorilla habituation in Uganda is during June to September and December to March.

Bird Watching

Bwindi National Park is a home to over 320 bird species and 23 species. The bird species include Western Green Tinker bird, African Wood Owl, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Montana Oriole, and Short tailed Warbler, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Chapin’s Flycatcher and African Green Broadbill and Green-breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill, Great Blue Turaco Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Standard-winged Nightjar, flycatcher, Short-tailed Warbler, Doherty’s Bush shrike, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black-breasted Barbet and many more. .

Uganda gorilla trekking tour

Gorilla Trekking Sectors

Bwindi impenetrable national park has four gorilla trekking sectors which include Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Mugahinga which was recently added. Rushaga has 5 gorilla families and is actually the only sector that is permitted for Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi National Park. For one to be able to visit Uganda and Bwindi national park, one ought to be prepared for the experience because it will be mind blowing.

Getting to Bwindi

Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda is located about 478 kilometers from the capital city – Kampala and can take between 7 to 8 hours of driving. The journey is mostly on a smooth surface and a dirt murram road for the last part into the forest. Bwindi National Park can also be accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park, diving through the Ishasha sector with 3 to 4 hours of driving.

Daily buses operate from Kampala to Kabale, Kisoro as well as Rukungiri via Kihihi. From those towns, you can easily connect to Bwindi National Park or arrange with a local guide to pick you up. The park can also be accessed by air, flying from Entebbe airport to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip on a domestic flight.
Aero link is a domestic operator with daily flights to Kisoro (only in the morning) and Kihihi airstrips of Bwindi.
Below are the flight schedules and times;

FromToDepartArrive
EntebbeKisoro07:45AM08:55AM
KisoroEntebbe09:10AM11:25AM
EntebbeKihihi07:00 AM08:45AM
KihihiEntebbe09:45AM11:25AM
EntebbeKihihi12:45PM01:55PM
KihihiEntebbe12:45PM03:55PM

Those who may want to visit Buhoma may take on the charter planes and land off from Kayonza airstrip.

Gorilla Families

Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are grouped in gorilla families which are given a gorilla sector to live in. The gorilla families usually have a silverback as the male and the one who runs the family. Gorillas are trekked according to the gorilla families and where they are located(Gorilla Sector). We provide you with a complete list of gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

What facinates you about bwindi forest national park (bwindi impenetrable national park)?

By the mare mention of “bwindi” lots should be triggered into ones mind. bwindi is simply a forest nestled in  south western Uganda shared a mongst the districts of Kabale , Kisoro and Kanungu.  The constituents of this forest is what makes it rather  a must visit place there by turning into an a national park ( bwindi forest national park / bwindi impenetrable national park). bwindi forest national park is endowed  with a multiplicities of attractions that  will constantly be  a bewilderment to many. Ranging from the  magnificent mountain gorillas, numerous bird species, thick forest, different tree species, rivers springing out on where flowing  with fresh water, extremely  steep hills filled with several thickets forming up 3 canopies, therefore theres no doubt that bwindi forest national park is a true jungle. the park is also having other wildlife besides the major occupants ( mountain gorillas). The forest of bwindi is also inhabited by  forest elephants a bit rare to encounter  but there visibility only limited to the night hours  and on rare occasion during the day.

Mother gorilla carrying  infant - bwindi forest national park

Top gorilla trekking sectors in  bwindi forest national park.

Gorilla  trekking is without doubt the prime activity conducted at bwindi forest national park. The activity simply involves  ascending into the jungle in search for the gentle giants (mountain gorillas ) and  upon meeting  the gorilla , a kick off of the interact sessions between the  gorilla trekkers is bound to take place amounting to a maximum  of 1 hour. Some of what to is  observing how the gorillas  go about their  life ( feeding and  nesting) interacting.  A sessions that is rewarded with an exciting   photo shoot  which also doubles as  souvenir for the  gorilla tracking exercise.  Bwindi forest national park , has got a total of four gorilla tracking sectors  which are distributed in among districts that make up bwindi national park. the sector include:

  • Buhoma sector:  This sector is located  in northern part of bwindi impenetrable national  park in the district of  Kanungu.  its was the first ever gorilla tracking in bwindi forest national park to be set up sector to be set up making it the oldest of the all the tracking sectors in bwindi.
  • Ruhiija sector: This sector is situated in kabale district, its apparently near that all the sectors if one is traveling from Kampala.
  • Rushaga sector: Rushaga  is situated in  Kisoro district and  it has the biggest number of habituated gorilla groups, it also doubles as the only sector where gorilla habituation is conducted.
  • Nkuringo: this sector is  also situated in Kisoro district  as well , it has the least numbers of  habituated gorilla families.

What  are chances of seeing bwindi forest national park gorillas?

Gorilla trekking chances  in bwindi impenetrable national park has pretty much  been over 99%.  In the last one decade,  only one person has been recorded not  have  seen gorillas on the first  day  of gorilla tracking but however was able to see gorillas on the second day of tracking.

Best bwindi forest national park gorilla trekking sector.

Have you  ever  thought of going on   gorilla trekking in bwindi? if yes  has the question of the best spot to track gorillas ever popped up in your mind ? well apparently Bwindi impenetrable national park sectors present opportunities to have the best of your gorilla trekking in Bwindi.  Bwindi forest national park sectors   to mention Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo have all been  tailored to  give all the gorilla tracking enthusiasts the best tracking experience, Thanks to Uganda wildlife Authority a body responsible to the well being  of all Uganda national parks.

Other Wildlife in bwindi  forest national park.

The mountain gorilla  existence at bwindi impenetrable national park apparently seems to  overshadow   the recognition of existence of other wildlife in the forest.  The jungles of Bwindi offers a huge bio-network that supports the thriving  existence of  other wildlife  and bird species some whose discoveries are yet to  be made.  Some of the wildlife traced at bwindi forest park include , forest elephants, jackals, monkeys (red tails, colobus, vervet, lhoests etc),baboons, forest duikers, Chimpanzees , several bird species and insects.

other  wildlife and bird species - bwindi forest national park

How to access bwindi impenetrable national park.

Bwindi forest national park can pretty much be accessed from any part of  Uganda  and northern Rwanda.  From Kampala the capital of Uganda, it takes approximately 8 t0 9 hours by road while  driving to bwindi through Masaka highway to Mbarara , to Kabale  and to Kisoro and Kanungu respectively. This driving time is however is dependent on the gorilla tracking  sector of bwindi forest park one would prefer to go to. Bwindi impenetrable national park can also accessible accessed from Rwanda (Kigali) from  various boarder post, taking up to approximately 4 hours to arrive, a time  frame  also dependent on the sector one is headed out to.  Bwindi park can also  accessed by air with flights departing from Entebbe to the various   air fields close to Bwindi park  ie kihihi airstrip serving both Buhoma  and Ruhiija gorilla tracking  sector. Another  air strip can be accessed from Kisoro  with  serving Rushaga gorilla tracking sector and Nkuringo and other   travel destination to mention mgahinga  gorilla national park still within  the confines of bwindi. The most recent addition to the  flight was the connecting flight from masai mara national reserve  to bwindi  forest national park   by air Kenya. The recent   addition seeks to bridge a gap  between travelers who wish to enjoy the wildlife diversity of  masai mara as well delve into  gorilla trekking   one  of the most incredible, thrilling  and fascinating activity   conducted at the bwindi impenetrable national  park.

How many gorillas are in bwindi  impenetrable  national park?

Before we  get into context  lets  pose 2 questions ,  ” did you know that Bwindi  national park harbors half of the worlds  mountain  gorillas” ?  and “did you know that mountain gorillas are an endangered species”? .  Well  with the  above questions  we will be able to get an insight  of why bwindi is such and an important ecosystem and guarded jealously.  Regarding the  gorilla population  in bwindi forest national park,  only 4 gorilla population census has been conducted in  Bwindi  impenetrable national park ever since it was gazetted as a national park in 1991.  The  first census was conducted in  1994  with 300 as the revealed number, another in 2002  indicating an increment of upto 320 , the 3rd census  conducted in  2006  revealing a decline to 300 in number, the most recent census was conducted in 2019  and the samples are still  being analyzed in order to ascertain the number.

To still keep you on the know,  half of  worlds mountain  gorillas  are in Bwindi forest national park.If you may ask,  if the half are in Bwindi, where are rest of the half  of mountain gorilla population?. well the rest of the half are distributed in  Rwanda, Congo and Uganda in the parks of Volcanoes Rwanda, park, virunga park Congo  and  Mgahinga gorilla park  Uganda respectively.  The area of distribution in known  as the great virunga area.

Gorilla tracking  procedure  in bwindi impenetrable national park.

Gorilla trekking in  Bwindi and the rest of  national parks that conduct gorilla tracking have got  procedures. Depending on the gorilla tracking  sector you  intend  to track from, one of course must have a gorilla tracking permit issued by an authority in this  in its the Uganda wildlife Authority. The price of the permits vary depending on the  nationality and residential status.  The current Trekking permits  prices stands at 600usds  for foreign non residents residents, 500usds for each foreign  residents and  ugx250,000 for east African residents. note that  listed prices apply to  1st June 2019. From June 2020  foreign  non residents will be paying 700usds and foreign  residents will be paying 600usds per permit.  The permits are attached to particular gorilla trekking sectors and the tracking dates are strictly  those indicated on the permits.  upon  getting the necessary permits, one of-course has to get them them selves to the national park park  of course.  its also advised to look for the services of trusted  tour  operator who will save you the hustle and bustle of the entire process but rather get you to the tracking  and return you your destination successfully.  upon getting to the park on the date of tracking,  its  a requirement that you get briefed from the park headquarters on the dos and donts of gorilla trekking. later   rangers are asigned and  gorilla families to track from are also assigned to the trekkers. later swing into action and  delve into the jungles  in  search for  the gently giants, a search that can only come to a stand still when the gorillas discovered.  It  takes  approximately 30 minutes – 5 hours to find the bwindi gorillas, upon find the gorillas, you are given a maximum of  one hours  to interact   with the  gorillas. The interaction with the gorillas will be inform of knowing how they go about their daily life feeding, nesting  and family  activities.  the tracking can only be deemed complete with pictures and videos  as souvenirs.

How long is gorilla trekking in bwindi forest national park?

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park, can take   any time between 20 minutes from  to 3/4 of the entire day.  The gorilla tracking time frame  varies  depending many factors ie  it depends  on the location of the gorilla family you have been a signed to track from,  it dependent  where the  gorilla spent the previous night, the gorilla movements of the gorillas. The trekking can also be dependent on the  movements of the  trekkers, so group of the  people may move at slow pace while other may be energetic and fit enough to hike through the jungles in search for the gorillas.

Cost of  Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

Gorilla trekking is an activity which takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National park Uganda/ Bwindi Forest Nationa park and Mgahinga National park.

When considering the cost of Gorilla trekking in Uganda, note that the gorilla permit costs 600 USD. In the past years, it used to cost 450 USD during the low season however after sometime the discounted permits no longer exists. There are 13 gorilla habituated families and only eight people are allowed to trek the mountain Gorillas every day. Book your gorilla permit three months before travel.

How Long Does Gorilla Trekking Take

Mountain Gorillas inhabit the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National park,(Bwindi forest national park) Mgahinga National park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

Gorilla trekking is an activity where tourists have a chance to trail through the forest in the wild. Gorilla trekking can be done in Africa in only three countries including Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republican of Congo with  Uganda Bwindi forest national park being with the most traffic.

Booking Gorilla Trekking

Booking Gorilla trekking; Mountain Gorillas are habitats national parks in Africa in three countries. The most profound national  parks where gorilla trekking  takes place include Bwindi impenetrable national park ( Bwindi forest national park) ,Mgahinga in gorilla national park both in Uganda. others include Volcanoes Rwanda park and Virunga Congo national  park in DR. Congo.

Booking Gorilla trekking requires one to get a gorilla permit which is a card issued to Gorilla trekkers in the jungle to authorize their access to trek. The trek takes 30 minutes and 7 hours to meet the endangered species this depends on where they last fed and how faster the trekkers are. You are given one hour to see the mountain Gorillas as they play, feed, groom each other and many more.

Gorilla Conservation

The mountain Gorillas are one of the most successfully Conserved species which have increased to 370 individuals in the early 2000s. However of recent the gorillas have increased to 900 species inhabiting the area this happened in the recent census of 2018.

Bwindi Forest national park ( Bwindi impetrable national park) has for sectors, to mention: Ruhija, Rushaga ,Nkuringo and Buhoma. Each sector  has their own family members, the silverback male is the  leader of the group with a number of females and the off springs.

The park is a rain forest with thistles and nettles in the bamboo producing new shoots.

Gorillas start giving birth at the age of 9-12 years, the gestation period takes 9 months and the baby is weaned at the age of 3-4 years. When the males grow their pushed out of the family  to create other Gorilla family at the age of 12years the males will develop the silver back ,when the silverback is old it defends its family.

Uganda conserves two populations including Virunga Volcanoes and Bwindi Impenetrable National park.

The borders of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda form Uganda portion of volcanoes.

Mountain Gorilla conservation and research activities in the Virunga, Volcanoes in DRC and Rwanda the conservation started in 1970s and 1980s.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in 1980s was discovered that the site was not only a habitat for the mountain Gorillas but was for many endemic and threatened species. Considering this information, this led to the designation of Bwindi as a park in 1991.

Biking Safaris

Biking Safaris is an interesting experience where travelers instead of using tour cars or walking treks, they move on bicycles. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park (Bwindi forest national park) offers biking safaris for its guests.

Bwindi biking safaris through the park gives the traveler an amazing view of the park as you enjoy a village bike ride. You also get a chance to spot a number of bird species, wildlife ,butterflies ,primates  all on the ride.

Sometimes the bikes are provided by the Organization in the names of Ride 4 a woman Organization.

Explore the forest as you enjoy the mountain bike, you can ride in a day with a well-informed guide, its very fun with a guide and you won’t miss out a thing on the trek.

The guide is well informed and trained in wildlife species, plant species, birds, trees of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest half a day or full day on a bike this is one of the reasons most people stay behind for another day for a mountain bike

Where to stay

Bwindi national park has a wide variety of budget and luxury accommodation facilities that can be offered to its visitors. Be sure to visit the accommodations to be able to make a selection of your preferable choice. Some of the accommodation facilities offered around and inside Bwindi Forest National Park are all in budget, mid-range & luxury settings.

 Lodges
Some Of the Accomodation Facilities in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Book a Gorilla Permit

gorilla permit is an identification that shows that a traveller has been approved either to trek the gorillas or to do gorilla habituation. Gorilla trekking permit is cheaper that gorilla habituation permit. Be sure to choose the right Tour Operator to help you book a gorilla permit in advance.

What Safaris Company should one use?

Be sure to choose a genuine safari company that will offer you a wide range of services that will suit you. They should be able to provide you with suitable transportation and guide your trip perfectly.

Safari Packages

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park  ( bwindi forest national park) offers a number of safaris packages which one can choose from and be able to have a proper planned trip. A traveler is advised to choose a safaris package of his/her choice so that their bookings, accommodation, movements and activities are planned and organised for them. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park offers trips that cover both Uganda and Rwanda.

Bwindi forest plays a key role in regulating the outside area’s environment and climate. Bwindi National Park was designated as a national park in 1991 and in 1994, it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site because of its ecological importance and a 10 square kilometer area was incorporated into the park.