Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is best known for gorilla trekking in Uganda, that is the reason that most visitors come to this park. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest provides an incredible backdrop for this once in a lifetime adventure. There are four trail heads from which one tracks one of the gorilla families for which we have obtained permits for you. Currently, the park has about 14 habituated gorilla groups for tourism purposes and among these include; Mubare, Rushegura, Habinyanja, Oruzogo, Bitukura, Kyaguriro, Kahunjye, Mishaya, Nshongi, Nkuringo, Bikingi, Bushabo and others. Each gorilla family is visited by a maximum of 8 persons par day. The trek in search for gorillas is quiet strenuous and a certain level of fitness is recommended! This activity attracts many tourists to Uganda because; mountain gorillas are endangered specie of apes, with only 880 individuals left in the whole world (Gorilla census report, 2011). It is only in 3 countries in the world where one can see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat namely; Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Like in Uganda according to most tourists, gorilla trekking is the highlight of all Rwanda tours and safari packages, taking place in Volcanoes National Park. In DR Congo, gorilla tours are conducted in the magnificent Virunga National Park.
Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience in Rushaga – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Gorilla habituation involves staying with for a full day while studying, photographing and observing them while in their natural habitat.
There are presently two family groups being habituated, meaning that they becoming used to human contact and will not run away from tourists visiting them in their natural habitat.
Mountain Bike Rides in Buhoma
Ride 4 a Woman which is a community support group offers mountain bike rentals and guided bike in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the Buhoma area of the park. You can even do the Village Walk on a bike with guide. There are Birding Bike Rides, or simply a ride into the Forest such as the Ivy River Trail. The average Bike Ride is 3 hours or longer in length with much to see along the trail or road. The guides are all well-trained, some specialize in birding, others in culture but all know Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which they all love and want to conserve.
The Batwa Experience
The Batwa were and are the keepers of the forest – the original inhabitants of bwindi forests, they were here for thousands of years before the Bantu People, the Cultivators of the Land arrived. The Batwa People – are pygmies – were hunter gatherers and lived in the forests of Southwest Uganda and beyond. They left a small ecological footprint on the forest and lived in harmony with nature. You can visit the forest (actually outside of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest) with the Batwa People and learn of their traditional ways of hunting and food gathering.
Cultural walks – Here you have a 3 hour cultural walk through the village – you learn the ways and culture of the people that live in the Buhoma area on the edge of Bwindi Forest. The Village Walk is with a guide who is friendly and knowledgeable about local culture and customs. You will see how people make local crafts such as baskets with the most intricate designs – beer made from Bananas, and a distillery that makes the local Waragi Gin from Bananas, meet a traditional healer and learn of what is gathered in the ancient forest and how it is taken and applied to ailments – you will be amazed
Hiking through and in the Forest (forest walk)
Hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be one day or longer hike from the north of Bwindi to the South – called Nkuringo- there one can stay overnight and continue the next day down to scenic Lake Mutanda where you paddle across in a wooden dugout and continue on to the town of Kisoro.
This is the most popular hike along two trails of Bwindi – there are however other trails and nature walks, most from easy to moderate in and near the Forest that can be explored on foot and requiring from an hour to all day long. Hiking through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is always with a guide.
Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is one of the prime birding destinations in Africa. There are over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region are found in the forest, and 22 of the 36 endemic species in the region.
Bwindi national park has been picked as Africa’s Number One Birding Site. Now visitors come from far and wide to spot some of Africa’s rarest bird species and at the same time they can track the Mountain Gorillas.
Organizing Tours to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
There are many tour companies in Uganda and Rwanda organizing tours to Bwindi National Park. Click here for details about these companies. First of all, one must posses a gorilla permit that acts as permission to join the trek in search for mountain gorillas in their natural environment. Each gorilla permit costs US$600 for Foreign Non-residents, US$450 for East African Foreign Residents, US$350 for East African Residents and 250.000 Uganda shillings for Ugandans. Tours can be booked direct through Travel Agencies, or organize it by your self and book permits through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The park is located 9-10 hours drive from Kampala / Entebbe International Airport. It is 3-5 hours from Queen Elizabeth National Park, and 2-4 hours from Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, also famous for mountain gorilla tracking tours. This means, one can combine Rwanda tours with Uganda tours and enjoy a great opportunity of tracking gorillas twice in both countries along side other activities like primates tracking, birding and wildlife viewing. From Kigali, it is less than 5 hour’s drive through Katuna or Cyanika boarders.
Bwindi National Park can be accessed through Kihihi and Kisoro Airstrips by private chatter flights or daily scheduled flights organized by Aerolink Uganda Limited.