Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, situated in South Western Uganda, is a pristine forest known for being the sanctuary of the remaining mountain gorillas. Its dense vegetation earned it the name “Bwindi,” meaning “impenetrable” in the local Bakiga language, which is quite fitting.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately 530 km away from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The journey takes about 8 hours by road without considering any stops along the way.
Gorilla trekking is the primary activity in the park, allowing visitors to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas. Besides, the park serves as a safe haven for various wildlife species, having survived the ice age. Other primates, such as black and white colobus, blue monkeys, olive baboons, L’Hoest’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and chimpanzees, also thrive in Bwindi. Moreover, it is home to diverse animals like Giant Forest hogs, forest elephants, warthogs, and duikers. Birding is another popular activity, with over 350 bird species, including 23 of 26 Albertine endemics listed on the IUCN red list.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern Uganda, East Africa. It is divided into two areas, northern Bwindi and southern Bwindi, to manage the vast population of mountain gorillas. The park lies at an altitude ranging from 1160 meters to 2607 meters above sea level, which requires hiking to locate the mountain gorillas. The forest receives about 2390 mm of rain per year, and temperatures range from 7 degrees centigrade to -20 degrees centigrade.
The main activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include:
Several road routes are available from Kampala, but public transport is not recommended due to numerous stopovers and potential inconveniences. Recommended road trips include Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma, Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kihihi to Buhoma, Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma, and Kampala to Kabale to Ruhijah to Buhoma.
Daily domestic flights operate from Kajjansi Air strip and Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip in the morning and afternoon. It is advisable to book a transfer vehicle, as Kihihi Airstrip is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the park headquarters.
Both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park offer fantastic gorilla trekking experiences. Bwindi has a larger number of gorilla trekking families, providing more options for visitors. The Bwindi gorilla trekking permit costs $700 per person per trek, while Volcanoes National Park permits cost $1500 per person per trek. The distance to get to Bwindi from Entebbe airport is about 8 hours on the road, while the time and distance from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 2 and a half hours.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers various accommodations for visitors interested in activities like gorilla tracking, birding, and nature walks. Accommodation options range from luxury to mid-range to modest facilities. Some popular options include Clouds lodge, Gorilla Forest Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Engage Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Bwindi View Bandas, Mantana Tented Camp, Lake Kitandara Camp, and Volcanoes Bwindi Camp.
Recommended items to pack for a safari in Bwindi include tracking boots, a flash-less camera, rainproof gear, long-sleeved clothing with earthy colors, toiletries, insect repellent, and binoculars.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is open for visits all year round, especially for gorilla trekking and birding. However, the drier months from June to September and December are considered friendlier for gorilla trekking due to passable trails and less undergrowth.
For more information and frequently asked questions about Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, feel free to contact Trek Africa Expeditions.