Serengeti migration safaris

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

(Home to over half of the remaining mountain gorilla population)

Bwindi impenetrable national park covering an area of 321 square kilometers is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a home half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla, the park protects the oldest forest in the world which survived the last Ice Ae about 15,000 years ago.

The word Bwindi translates to “impenetrable” in the local Runyakitara language.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is famously known for hosting 51% of the world’s mountain gorilla population of about 1,063 individuals and is the best destination to do gorilla trekking.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is a biologically varied park hosting over 350 Uganda birds including 23 Albertine Rift Endemics, 9 species of primates including mountain gorillas, over 200 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs and over 324 tree species.

Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in South Western Uganda on the edge of the western Rift Valley, the park stretches through the districts of Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts of Uganda.

From Kampala, the capital of Uganda it is approximately 540 kilometers about 8- 9 hours’ drive.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies along the border of Uganda with Democratic Republic of Congo, south of Queen Elizabeth National Park and North of Kisoro Town. The park lies at altitude range from 1,160 to 2,607 meters above the sea level, about 60% of the park lies at an elevation of over 2000 meters and the highest point of the park is Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge of the park. The lowest altitude part of the park is at its most northern tip.

History of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was first proclaimed as the Impenetrable Forest Reserve in 1932 and in 1991 it was upgraded to a national park and was renamed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

There is a total of 1063 mountain gorillas left in the world with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park being home to half of them and is the biggest gorilla population in the world, Bwindi is home to 19 fully habituated gorilla families with 1 semi-habituated family. These gorillas are found in the 4 sectors of the park that is Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo sectors. Each of these sectors hosts different gorilla habituated families.

Buhoma Sector

Mubare Gorilla Family

Habinyanja Gorilla Family

Rushegura Gorilla Family

Katwe Gorilla Family

Rushaga Sector

Bitukura Gorilla Family

Oruzugo Gorilla Family

Kyaguriro A Family

Kyaguriro B (Mukiza) Gorilla Family

Ruhija Sector

Nshongi Gorilla Family

Mishaya Gorilla Family

Kahungye Gorilla Family

Bushingye Gorilla Family

Bweza Gorilla Family

Mucunguzi Gorilla Family

Rwigi Gorilla Family

Bikyingi Gorilla Family (Semi Habituated)

Kutu Gorilla Family

Nkuringo sectors

Nkuringo gorilla family

Christmas gorilla family

Bushaho gorilla family

Primates in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In additional to Mountain gorillas, Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to over 120 other mammal species including 9 primates such as Chimpanzees, Olive baboon, Black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Blue monkey, Vervet monkey and L’Hoest’s monkey.

Other animals in Bwindi forests include forest elephants, bushbucks, forest hogs, bush pigs, golden cats, jackals, civets among others.

Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi impenetrable national park is a bird watchers haven boasting over 350 bird species including 23 Albertine Rift Endemics and 14 species that are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda. Birds in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Evergreen Warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Collared Sunbird, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, Coppery Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Dusky Tit, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Great Blue Turaco, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Crombec, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Green Hylia, Green-headed Sunbird, Tiny Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, Grey Apalis, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, Grey-headed Negrofinch, White-breasted Negrofinch, Grey-headed Sparrow, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Klass’ Cuckoo among others.

Things to do in in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekking is the main Uganda safari activity to do in Bwindi impenetrable national park, this excursion offers an encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi starts at 08 am with briefing at the park’s headquarters, Bwindi is home to over 500 mountain gorillas individuals with over habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking experiences takes approximately 2-8 hours with one hour of being in the presence of mountain gorillas in their nature habitat.

During the gorilla trekking, you will also spot other primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and many birds.

Gorilla Habituation Experience

For visitors who are interesting in spending more hour with the mountain gorillas, then gorilla habituation experience is a must do and it is done only in Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park.

On this experience, visitors are accompanied by researcher, trackers and rangers and spend 4 hours with semi-habituated gorilla family. A maximum of 4 visitors are allowed to participate in this thrilling experience.

Bird watching

Bwindi impenetrable national park is named as the number one Uganda birding spots by Africa Bird Club, the park boasts approximately 351 bird species including 23 out of 24 Albertine Rift endemics. Bird watching in Bwindi offers visitors an opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife inhabiting in forest including Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Evergreen Warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Collared Sunbird, Common Bulbul, Compact Weaver, Coppery Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Dark-backed Weaver, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Dusky Tit, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Great Blue Turaco among others.

Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is mainly done in 2 sectors that is Ruhija and Buhoma sectors, bird watching in the Ruhija sector is done in the famous Mubwindi Swamp.

Hiking and Nature Walks

Hiking and Nature walks in Bwindi impenetrable national park are done on several trails running through the park and are available in Buhoma Sector, hiking through Bwindi forests take approximately 30 minutes to 8 hours offering visitors an opportunity to enjoy the biodiversity and spot some of the forest creatures such as monkeys, birds and butterflies among others.

Cultural and Community walks

Cultural and Community walks in Bwindi impenetrable national park offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in customs and practices of the local Batwa and Bakiga people. On this excursions, you are entertained by local dances and drama, learn about their different activities such as hunting, meet the traditional healers and the blacksmith among others.

Where to stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

There is a range of accommodation options in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park ranging from budget, midrange and luxury. These accommodations include

Buhoma Lodge

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge

Mahogany Springs

Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Chameleon Hill Lodge

Mutanda Lake Resort

Gorilla Mist Camp

Agandi Uganda Eco – Lodge

Bakiga Lodge

Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Trekkers Taven Cottages

How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi impenetrable national park is accessed by road and air transport.

By road – it is a drive of approximately 9 – 10 hours drive from Kampala – the Capital of Uganda to Bwindi, all the routes converge at the town of Butogota which is approximately 10 miles from the entrance gate at Buhoma.  For visitors who are already on a safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park can easily access the park on  adrive of 2 to 3 hours hrough the Ishasha Sector.

By Air – traveling to Bwindi impenetrable national park is the fastest way to get there, there are number of daily domestic and scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airstrip.  These flights are offered by air operators such as Aerolink and Bar Aviation.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is served by several airstrips such as Kihihi airstrip serving Buhoma and Ruhija Sector in North of the park, Kisoro Airstrip served by Rushaga and Nkuringo. Kayonza Airstrip is another option for chartered flights.