Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazetted as a national park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural world Heritage site in 1994. This is the most popular location for mountain gorilla tracking, a thrilling adventure that is done in only Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is located in south western Uganda and lies in a distance that is 8-9hrs drive from Entebbe Airport and 3-4hrs drive from Kigali Airport. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park covers 32,092 ha, one of the largest areas in East Africa which still has Afromontane lowland forest extending to well within the montane forest belt.
There is no doubt at the mention of Bwindi, everyone thinks about Mountain gorillas, yes, its true Bwindi forest is a huge protected tropical rain forest in south western Uganda. The forest covers an average area of 331 square kilometers on an average altitude of 1160-2607 meters above sea level at its highest peak Rwamumyonyi. The same dense thick forest is home to half population to more than 1000 mountain gorillas surviving in central and East Africa. Gorilla trekking here is the main sole activity however you need to acquire a gorilla permit to take part in this adventurous memorable experience. The park is divided in four sectors, Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Each sector has a significant unique feature over the other, other than the habituated gorilla families each has.
Bwindi is an all year around tour destination, it experiences two seasons in the year; The dry season in the months of June – September, December to February. Heavy rain is expected in the month of March to May then October to November, however despite of the season its not guaranteed that it will not rain. Bwindi receives annual rain fall of up to 2400 mm with average temperatures ranging 7-29 degrees. It really gets very cold early mornings and in the evening.
Bwindi is a rainforest on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley. The terrain is a string of ridges and valleys covered in very dense, impenetrable forest. These roads sometimes can be very terrible in the rainy season; these roads however are so good in giving the African massage when travelling in the forest.
Bwindi has one of the most diverse floras in East Africa and it harbors ten tree species which don’t occur anywhere else in the country. The forest is characterized by the bamboo trees that the gorillas like to eat much often. The bamboo shoots make the gorilla’s daily meals at least by 50%
Weather & Climate
Just to be clear it is ever raining in the forest, I don’t know if the water cones from the thick forested leaves over but there is rain all most every time. However, the rainy seasons come in at around march-may which is changing now because we are seeing very heavy rains in January.
September to November is also rain at its peak though we are seeing less rain lately in November. Pack plenty of wet-weather gear to combat the drizzle. The forest’s mild climate is easier to enjoy in the drier months of June to August and December to February. Though the fun while gorilla tracking has no time limits at all.
Access to Bwindi Forest National Park:
By Air: There are scheduled/ charter flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi town connecting to Buhoma area or to Kisoro Airstrip, which connects to Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. There are also flights from Kajjansi Airfield, which lies between Kampala and Entebbe.
Driving: From Kampala, the route depends on the trailhead you are visiting i.e. Kampala – Kabale – Ruhija OR Kampala – Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Buhoma/Nyondo OR Kampala – Kabale – Kisoro – Rushaga/Nkuringo.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four Gorilla tracking centres namely:
- Buhoma Gorilla trekking centre
- Nkuringo Gorilla trekking sector
- Ruhija Gorilla tracking sector
- Rushaga Gorilla trekking centre
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is majorly known for the popular Uganda gorilla safaris and a maximum of eight people are allowed to trek each gorilla family. Among all the sectors, Buhoma receives many guests compared to other sectors.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
The Batwa and Bakiga occupies the surrounding areas of Bwindi impenetrable National park. After Gorilla trekking, guests can be thrilled by the performance of any of the two groups of people but most importantly, the Batwa pygmies are a must visit.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is a dense tropical forest with a variety of tree species. The park has more than 220 tree species, and more than 50% of Uganda’s tree species, and more than 100 fern species. The brown mahogany is a threatened plant species in the park.
Bwindi forest has 346 species of birds and contains 90% of all Albertine rift endemics. Experienced birdwatchers can spot 100 species of birds per day. Visit Ruhija and Buhoma for good bird views. There are over 200 species of butter flies in Bwindi forest national park. Tourists can not only visit Bwindi for Mountain Gorillas but the place is also a bird watchers haven.
Bwindi forest is an old block forest that has existed more than 25000-years-old. the park is a tropical montane forest characterized by different vegetation cover described as High-altitude forest Medium altitude, Moist ever green. It has more 400 tree species composed of lush and foggy rain forest, ferns and low land montane forests. Most notable tree species are bamboo, canopy trees, the endangered mahogany and swamps at edges of the forest among many others. Bwindi forest can be interesting if you are into plant life.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
Buhoma Gorilla centre
- Buhoma Lodge
- Bwindi Lodge
- Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
- Mahogany Springs Lodge
- Buhoma Haven Lodge
- Silverback Lodge
- Buhoma Community Rest Camp
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
- Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Rushaga Gorilla trekking Area
- Chameleon Hill Lodge
- Bwindi Jungle Lodge
- Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
- Rushaga Gorilla Camp
- Gorilla Valley Lodge
- Gorilla Safari Lodge
Ruhija Gorilla tracking sector
- Bakiga Lodge
- Broadbill Forest Camp
- Agandi Lodge
- Ruhija Safari Lodge
- Gift of nature Lodge
Nkuringo Gorilla sector
- Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Tourist activities done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
- Gorilla trekking
- Cultural tours
- Nature walks
- Community tours