- About the Park
- Nature Walks
- Culture & Bird watching
- Access & Accommodation
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the Western Rift Valley (Libertines rift) and is shared by Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro districts. It I s331 square kilometers in size and on an altitude range of 1,160 metres (Ishasha gorge) to 2,607 metres (Rwamanyonyi Peak). The annual average temperature range is 7(C – 20(C with the coldest period being June and July.
Of the local people neighboring the park, the majority are Bakiga and Bafumbira, constituting the most dense settlements in Uganda (350 people/square kilometer). A few Batwa are also found.
This is the major tourist activity in Bwindi, with four gorilla groups currently available daily for tourists, Mubare group (10 gorillas, 1 silverback) was opened for tourism in 1993, Habinyanja group (18 gorillas, 1 silverback) opened in July 1998, Rushegura group (10 gorillas, 1 silverback) was opening in July 2002, while Nkuringo group (19 gorillas, 2 silverback's) was opened for tourism in April 2004. Get updates from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Headquarters or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or visit UWA Web site at www.uwa.or.ug
Book at least 3 months to two years in advance to ensure that requested dates are available.
Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi can be challenging, therefore ensure physical fitness. Gorilla tracking experience starts at 8:30 a.m. local time and can last from few hours to whole day! Registration at the gate commences at 7:45 a.m.
What to bring
- Wear jungle shoes suitable for steep muddy slopes and carry rain jacket because the park is often wet.
- Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable with jungle sounds.
- Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellant.
- Carry packed lunch.
For conservation reasons, visitors to the gorillas are tightly controlled. The following rules apply and must be strictly adhered to:
- No one with a communicable disease (e.g. Flu, diarrhea) is allowed to enter the park.
- Stay together in a tight group while with the gorillas, don’t surround them.
- Don’t get closer than 7 metres (21 feet) to the gorillas.
- Don’t use flashes while photographing the gorillas.
- Don’t eat or smoke when with gorillas or within a distance of 200 metres from the gorillas.
- Turn away from the gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough. Cover your nose and mouth in the process.
- Burry all human feaces a minimum of one foot deep and ensure that the hole is properly covered.
- Don’t leave litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed off properly.
- No person under 15 years is allowed to track gorillas.
- Don’t make loud noise or move suddenly.
- You are allowed a maximum of 1 hour with gorillas.
- Don’t spit on vegetation or soil while in the park, use your hankie or other garment.
- Your group must not be more than tourists and must all be over 15 years old.
For the visitor who has 2 or 3 days in Bwindi, the park has 4 fantastic hiking trails. On all these trails, you have opportunities to see and learn about primates, many species of birds, butterflies, trees and other organisms. Arrange at the reception for a guide. The guide’s company is obligatory and affords you an excellent understanding of nature’s system at work in the park.
Departure times: 9:00 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
The Munyaga river trail is an ideal short walk for visitors with little time to spare. Here you can see birds and primates of the forest edge.
The popular waterfall trail provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, epiphytic ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colorful array crystal clear water falls typifies your impression of a tropical rainforest.
The Rushura trail commands expensive views across the western rift valley floor. To the west, Congo’s Parc Nationale des Virungas provides a spectacular backdrop and on clear days Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains are visible.
The 5.2 km Muzabajiro Loop trail offers breath taking views of Bwindi Forest, Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way, you witness hundreds of pre-historic tree ferns. The top of this trail is a great place for a picnic lunch.
The River Ivi trail, so far the longest in the park, will occupy you for a full day, it is highly recommended for bird watchers.
Buhoma Village Tourist Walk
The village tourist walk, which takes up to three hours, is managed by the local community and the proceeds received here are ploughed into the community to improve on their welfare.
The walk introduces you to a number of interesting sites such as a typical rural homestead, a visit to the local traditional healer, a banana beer brewing demonstrations site and much more.
In the evenings, participate in captivating traditional performance presented by Women and Orphan groups. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of the families around the park.
Hit the trail in your car
Visitors with their own 4-weel drive vehicles should consider crossing the rugged centre of the park through Ruhija. This transect affords the visitor to see Uganda’s finest vistas of deep undisturbed forests. Watch out for duikers, primates and both forest and grassland bird species. At Ruhija, visitors (especially birders) can take the three-four scenery packed hike to the Mubwindi swamp. Visitors may also walk to the Bamboo zone (the only such area in the park). The Bamboo trail offers 14 vegetation types and is one of the areas of highest diversity in the park. At the top of this trail, you witness panoramic vies encompassing L. Bunyonyi and Mafuga forests.
Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven! It holds 346 species of birds and contains 90% of all albertine rift endemic, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa: and seven IUCN red data listed species. An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day! Visit Ruhija and Buhoma for this dream. Indicate your interest to the Park management so that appropriate early morning departures can be arranged.
Accommodation and Meals
There are a number of choices to cater for the up-market as well as the budget tourists’ accommodation.
The local community operates a rest camp, Buhoma Community Cam ground with clean and simple bandas; a restaurant serving simple traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner is also.
Bwindi View Canteen is also favourable for low income visitors.
Gorilla Forest Camp
Mantana Luxury tented Camp
Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp
Volcanoes Bwindi Camp
There is a self catering Guest house which must be booked in advance through Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Kampala.
Savana Resort Hotel is 43 kms to Buhoma and is adjacent to Ishasha sector, of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Kampala to Kabale is a distance of 414 km on bitumen surface and takes 6–7 hours. An additional 120 km from Kabale to Buhoma Park Headquarters via Kanungu and Kanyantoroogo on murram surface takes 3-4 hours and may require a 4WD vehicle. This road is not frequently used by the public. A 4WD vehicle is recommended.
There is also a bus from Kampala to Butogota. Taxis for hire are available for about US$15 from Butogota to Buhoma Park Headquarters. You may travel by bus or public taxi from Kampala to Kabale. In Kabale you can hire a car at about US$ 50, or take a pickup taxi to Butogota. Public transport to Butogota is unpredictable, but most common on Thursdays. Arrange in advance to be picked from Buhoma after your visit, if you don’t have your own vehicle.