Gorilla trekking; the forest is home to more than half of the entire world’s mountain gorilla population and as such, mountain gorilla trekking is the specialty of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi starts with briefing at the park headquarters at 8:00AM by the ranger guide and allocation of gorilla families to visit; each gorilla group / family is visited by a maximum of 8 people on a particular day and the forest has more than 12 groups at the moment but in different locations.
After briefing, you then head into the forest with your guide ahead of you and at hand to clear the trail. The trek can last anywhere between 2 to 8 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas but usually, park rangers will enter the forest early and try to track the gorillas from the point where they were last seen the previous day. After finding the gorillas, you will be allowed up to a maximum of 1 hour to see and photograph them. When your hour is done, you enjoy your lunch pack and make your way out of the forest and back to the starting point to receive your gorilla trekking certificate to confirm your successful participation in Gorilla trekking in Bwindi.
Gorilla Habituation Experience; besides the ordinary Gorilla trekking which is an exciting adventure itself, Gorilla habituation experience is mind blowing! Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the only place in Africa where you can spend 4 hours with a gorilla family in its natural habitat. You get to spend time alongside researchers as they prepare a wild gorilla group for human interaction thus spending more hours observing and learning more about the mountain gorilla lifestyle!
Birding; for bird lovers or anyone interested in a birding safari in Uganda, Bwindi is a true birder’s haven with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics which is equivalent to 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species. Birding in Bwindi takes place along 4 major trails; the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija
Hiking / Nature Walks; There are six nature trails found in Buhoma for those looking to explore the “impenetrable forest” on guided nature walks. The trails take different directions and expose the visitor to a number of sites including waterfalls, primate encounters, mountain views, tranquil nature and impressive birdlife. Muyanga Waterfall Walk departs from Buhoma along the River Ivi-Nkuringo trail and culminates in the sensational sight of the falls plummeting 33 meters.
Rushura Hill Walk passes through one forest shared by two countries. On a clear day you can view Lakes Edward and George and the Rwenzori Mountains as well as the conical peaks of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Muzubijiro Loop is a 6km walk around a hill, where you will encounter primates and birds and enjoy a view of the Virungas.
The Ivi River Walk is 14km and takes around seven hours. The trail passes a place known as Mukempunu – meaning “a place of pigs” – where wild pigs can often be found. The Buhoma-Nkuringo Trail takes three to four hours, and crosses right through the park, connecting the two villages and offering impressive views of the misty hillsides as you ascend the hills towards Nkuringo. You can leave your luggage with your driver, who will meet you at the other side. This trail can also be completed as part of the Ivi River Walk.
The Habinyanja (Railegh) Trail takes 4-6hrs. After crossing the Munyaga River, it takes in a fairly steep ascent of the Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridge overlooking Buhoma River. Found along this trail is the legendary “African Corner” named after a rock piece depicting a map of Africa. Following the steep ascent, keen hikers can enjoy a more relaxed gentle slope to the mighty Habinyanja swamp. Birders on this trail should watch out for the Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Black Duck and Black Bee Eaters, among others
Cycling / Mountain Biking; this is one of the latest adventures within Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain biking in Bwindi is a community initiative named “Ride for a woman”. It is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp and takes a 13 kilometer well maintained trail to Ivi River departing from the park headquarters in the morning and the round trip takes six to seven hours. Along this trail, you may see wildlife such as bush-bucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
Cultural / Community Tours; The Batwa trail and Batwa experience in Buhoma are the most popularized and well known cultural experiences in Bwindi but there are more interesting and rewarding cultural experiences and community tours in Bwindi that will expose you to the local Bakiga community culture and the Batwa communities.
There different community initiatives that arrange these tours and these include the following;
• Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association
• Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)
• Buniga Forest Nature Walk
• Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)
• Contact Nkuringo Cultural Centre:
• Nyundo Community Eco-Trails
• Contact Nyundo Community Conservation Project:
• Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)
• Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)