Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and covers 331 sq km making it one of the largest natural forests in East Africa.
As part of the Albertine Rift Valley, the park is one of Africa’s most important conservation areas and was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in December 1994. Since 2003, the Albertine Rift Valley has been named a biodiversity hotspot — a place that needs special attention to maintain conservation efforts.
The landscape is rugged, with deep valleys running between steep sided hills and ridges. There is both lowland and montane rainforest with dense undergrowth of herbs, vines and shrubs, hence the name ‘Impenetrable’. This area is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa with the richest faunal community in East Africa.
What to see & do in Bwindi
The forest is home to many rare species and encompasses one of the last remaining habitats of Mountain Gorillas. More than half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (approximately 325 of the remaining 770 or so individuals). Mountain gorillas are only found in the wild.
Species of primates, including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and baboons. Bwindi is also the only park in the world where chimpanzees and gorillas co-exist in the same environment. The rare giant forest hog is also found here, although sightings are rare!
There are estimated to be upwards of 120 species of mammals (more than other Ugandan national parks except Queen Elizabeth). Among these are forest elephants and 10 species of primates, including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and baboons. Bwindi is also the only park in the world where chimpanzees and gorillas co-exist in the same environment. The rare giant forest hog is also found here, although sightings are rare!
For bird watchers, Bwindi is one of the most enticing areas in Uganda to visit with an estimated 360 species of birds, including 23 of the 24 endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley and another 14 species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the African Green Broadbill. The pristine rainforests of this park are also home to approximately 300 species of butterfly (including two endangered species of Swallowtails), 200 native tree species and many species of reptiles and amphibians.
The rugged mountainous terrain makes gorilla trekking strenuous work and visitors should be prepared for up to 8 hours of hiking (good physical condition is a must). Kindly note that Bwindi is a tropical rainforest. It rains at different times but nearly every day so you will need a rain jacket or poncho.
Gorilla Families in Bwindi
The ten groups of gorillas habituated for trekking include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Rushaga, Nkuringo, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bitukura, Oruzogo and Businje. Each group has approximately 15-20 individuals.
At present, a maximum of 80 permits daily are available for gorilla trekking. For advance booking, 2-12 months is recommended to avoid disappointment. We take up bookings up to 2 years in advance. Permits are $600 each and are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Permits are non-refundable, although in some cases will be transferable. Some permits may be available on short notice. Discounts on permits apply for Residents of East Africa and Citizens of Uganda.
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of local Ugandan culture, visits can be arranged to the local community to see traditional costumes and jewelry making. You may also want to visit the Batwa (Pygmy) families in the area. Village walks are available for a nominal price. Locally produced craft items can be purchased from the park tourist office, local craft shops and Lodge gift shops.
Where to stay in Bwindi
You can choose from a variety of accommodations made available for you ranging from high end facilities, these offer first class premium serves to guest especially those that wish to spend a luxurious lifestyle while on holiday. The mid range facilities are as well available, these offer moderate service to their guest and they are very affordable. For visitors that wish to spend less on accommodation, staying at budget facilities is very ideal, these offer are very safe, clean and with good food
- Buhoma Lodge – up-market
- Mahogany Springs- up-market
- Gorilla Forest Camp- up-market
- Gorilla Safari Lodge – up-market
- Sliver back Lodge mid-market
- Gorilla Mist Camp mid-market
- Trekkers Tarven cottages
- Ruhija Safari Lodge – up-market
- Chameleon Hill Lodge – up-market
- Clouds Lodge (Nkuringo) – up-market
- Gorilla Resort – mid-market
- Engagi Lodge – mid-market
- Buhoma Homestead/Lodge – mid-market
- Nkuringo Safari Lodge (Lake Mutanda) – mid-market
- Buhoma Community Bandas – budget
- Travelers Rest (Kisoro – Bwindi/Nkuringo sector) – budget