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Home » 10 National Parks of Uganda: Uganda National Parks: National Parks in Uganda » Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda Gorilla tracking Safari is Located in the south west of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park stretches for 321km2 at an altitude of 1,160 – 2,607 m above sea level.

The area is among the East African areas with largest tract of Afromontane forest which existed since the pre historic era and endured through the last ice age forming the ground for great biodiversity concentration with highest number of trees in relation to other areas of its altitude stature.

The park has enormous numbers of butterfly species some of which are endemic to the park and it is also holding great concentrations of mammal numbers.

Containing about 400 out of 880 mountain gorillas that apparently thrive in the wilderness with none existing in captivity, the impenetrable forest of Bwindi holds the mantle as a great gorilla trekking safari destination.

Surrounded by high population density with great agricultural attachment, it’s very interesting that Bwindi still has great biodiversity concentration including; 163 species of trees, 104 species of fern alongside other taxa.

16 species of trees are restricted to the Uganda’s south western region including Lavoa swynnertonii which is globally threatened.

5 Days Gorilla Trekking Safaris Uganda Rwanda Primate Tour

Tourist activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

The Gorilla trekking activity is the primary activity in Bwindi impenetrable national park.

The activity is done in the park’s four regions where a range of gorilla groups have been habituated for gorilla tracking experience.

These include; Ruhija in the east with three (3) habituated gorilla groups namely; Bitukura, Kyaguriro and Oruzogo; Buhoma region in the north with three (3) habituated groups namely; Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura.

Nkuringo in the west with one (1) habituated gorilla group namely; Nkuringo and Rushaga in the south with five (5) habituated gorilla families namely; Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Mishaya and Nshongi.

The maximum of eight (8) people are allowed to track each group with one hour of direct encounter. The activity commences at 8am with short briefing by UWA rangers at the headquarter of each region before setting out to the mist in search of mountain gorillas which lasts between 2 – 8 hours depending on the movement of gorillas.

The gorilla trekking encounter requires one to be in possession of a gorilla permit which is provided by Uganda Wildlife Authority at a price of $600 in the peak season or $350 in the low season for foreign nonresidents, $500 in the peak season or $250 in the low season for Foreign residents, 250,000/= in the peak season or 150,000/= for East African citizens in the low season. The activity is guided by UWA park rangers that have gathered considerable skill overtime.

Important notes to consider while undertaking gorilla trekking experience.
Jungle shoes which are firm on ground and light to carry for long and strenuous trek.

Since it may rain any time in Bwindi, the rain jacket is recommended.
Use ear plugs if uncomfortable with jungle sounds.

Sunscreen lotion, hat and insect repellant are crucial on this gorilla trekking activity.

You need to carry with you packed lunch as the activity might take longer than expected.

You need walking sticks to give you support through the steep terrain of Bwindi impenetrable forest.

Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National ParkThe Impenetrable forest of Bwindi has 350 bird species with 23 Albertine endemics and 14 species existing nowhere else in Uganda.

The region of Ruhija offers good birding opportunities and the entire Bwindi forest in general.

Birds include; Blue headed sun bird, Short tailed warbler, Red headed blue bill, Common Bulbul, African blue and white tailed blue flycatchers and African Emerald cuckoo.

This activity is favorably done in the morning and in the evening along the Buhoma waterfall trail, along Bamboo zone, the main trail and the Mubwindi swamp.

Cultural Encounters in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is surrounded a range of tribal groups including the Bakiga and the Batwa communities.

These tribal groups have differing traditions which are interesting to encounter while on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.

Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association

This community encounter lasts 3 – 4 hours exploring the traditions of Buhoma village. It starts at a local handicraft shop which sells locally crafted items like fabrics, wood carvings and bees wax candles.

The walk through the Batwa community allows you to explore their traditions and how they are trying to set up a new life after their eviction form the forest.

The activity exposes you to traditional performances, traditional healer who uses herbs to cure diseases, local school and other experiential activities like making banana juice, gin and local brew.

The collections from the tour go to supporting local school, maize mill and local microfinance circle. The Batwa collections are given back them as they are.

Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)

The village of Nkuringo is close Congo boarder thus giving you an opportunity to explore the views of Democratic Republic of Congo.

This activity offers great cultural encounters and scenic views. It takes you to the blacksmith called Nicholas where the traditional iron smelting is blended to with stand the contemporary changes.

You enjoy the sights of knives and machetes being made live. This cultural encounter also takes you through peoples’ homesteads like Sicilia’s home exploring the traditional huts, traditional tools like cooking pots, grinding stones and local waragi distilling apparatus.

Pena who is a traditional healer will show you how she applies traditional shrubs to come up with ointments, herbal powders and tea which are used locally to cure a range of ailments.

Buniga Forest Nature Walk in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

The Buniga forest is a pocket forest and is under the control of Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) that conduct guided walks through the forest.

It is rich in flora and fauna. Its eco-tourism use was motivated by the increased encroachment by the locals which was threatening the continuity of biodiversity.

The community decided to put some trails in the forest so as to promote eco-tourism that would lead to sustainable resource use in the area.

Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)

The Nkuringo Cultural Center is one of most experiential cultural encounters while on Uganda safari. It is designed to equip guests with a new skill while on their safari in Uganda which can supplement your gorilla trekking encounter.

The activities range from weaving, traditional cooking, drumming and dancing. The center also provides guided village walks traversing the local homesteads, sharing with local people learning their life style and encounter the local crafts.

The visit to the local school exposes you to the energetic Kiga dance with the belief that the best dancer is the one who shakes the ground.

Nyundo Community Eco-Trails

The Nyundo community undergone a serious climate change encounter and the rainfall volumes reduced drastically and the patterns changed.

The hill slopes undergone severe erosion and the mist dis appeared and at lastly the crop production began to reduce.

In return the local people reached a ground of restoring the forest so as to reverse the climate change effects.

The eco tour trails were established in this forest to ensure its sustainable use. The trails expose you to King Bakyara’s waterfall, local brewing distillery, blacksmith, bee keeper, and banana plantation and cattle farm. The encounter also exposes you millet bread preparation, yoghurt making and craft making.

Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)

This is in the south of Bwindi and is designed to enable you explore the life of Rubuguri community. Rubuguri is one of those hard to reach areas that are connected by dirt road passing through rugged terrain.

The area is remote and the local inhabitants have kept their traditions alive. The village walk takes you through a swamp, homesteads exposing you to the local people.

Pay a visit to the local school called St. Peters Primary School and then enjoy the traditional Bakiga dance.

How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda

Accessing different regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where gorilla trekking takes place including; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga can be done from Kampala, Kibale , Mgahinga and Volcanoes NP.

4 x4 Wheel drive is recommended due to the nature of the roads most especially in the rainy seasons.
The park can also be accessed using public transport.

Buses from Kampala connect to Butogota passing through the towns of Rukungiri and Kihihi. Though one should know that the departure and arrival time is not specific.

The gorilla safari destination of Bwindi can also be connected to by Air. Aero link conducts scheduled flights to Kihihi and Nyakabande Airstrip in Kisoro from the International Airport of Entebbe.

The Kihihi Airfield and Kayonza Airstrip provide easy connection to northern sector of Buhoma and Ruhija in the East while Nyakabande in Kisoro is ideal for southern sector of Nkuringo and Rushaga.