General information

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.

This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

Birding

Bwindi is an  ideal habitat for a variety of birds, that why it iscalled  a  bird-watchers’ paradise with 347 bird species of which  ten of  twenty six are  threatened and  5 are  endangered in Uganda. Bwindi has 24 of the total 25 Albertine Rift endemic bird species of which some have partial distributions in other places in their range like Shelley’s Crimson-wing, African Green Broadbill and Chapin’s Flycatcher. On the main trail of the Buhoma Waterfall Trail, the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija is where birding occurs.

Hiking/Nature walks at Bwindi

Hiking/nature walks take place in Buhoma and these include six main nature trails.

Muyanga Waterfall Walk
On this trail, you will depart from Buhoma along River Ivi-Nkuringo trail where you will proceed from to the climax of sensational sightings at the falls plunging 33 meters.

Muzubijiro Loop
This walk takes approximately 6km and includes hiking from one place to another around the hill where you will meet different species of birds, primates with a patent view of the Virungas.

Rushura Hill Walk
This walk involves spotting the tremendous lakes i.e Edward and George, conical peaks of the Virunga Volcanoes, Rwenzori Mountains and the massive forest divided between two countries.

The Ivi River Walk
This trail involves hiking along Mukempunu which means “a place of pigs”. Here you will spot populations of wild pigs which will enable you know about their attributes..

The Buhoma-Nkuringo Walk
This walk will take 3-4hrs and will involve crossing through the park. You will spot the misty hillsides clearly while going down towards Nkuringo till you will reach the Ivi River Walk.

The Habinyanja Trail
This trail takes 4-6hrs. You will walk and while overlooking the Buhoma River, you will cross the Munyaga River and take a steep ascent of the Riyovi and Habigorogoro Ridge.   While on this trail, you will encounter the legendry “African Corner” which was once a rock chunk similar to the map of Africa. With this steep ascent, hikers can enjoy moving along the gentle slope towards Habinyanja swamp. For those interested in bird watching, there are different species you can view like the Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Black Duck and Black Bee Eaters.

Gorilla Tracking 

The highlight of a visit to Bwindi – and the climax of the long journey to the Impenetrable Forest by air, car and steep, forest trail – is a magical hour in the company of a family of mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening. Bwindi has fifteen habituated gorilla groups that are tracked from four trailheads. Three of these groups are found in the vicinity of Buhoma in northwest Bwindi; four at Ruhija in the east; and eight at the park’s southern trailheads at Nkuringo and Rushaga. Eight permits are available to track each of the fifteen habituated groups, giving a daily maximum of 120 permits. Permits must be booked in advance through the UWA Booking Office in Kampala. Registration commences at 07.30 hours followed by a briefing at 08.00 hours. Tracking starts at 08.30. 

Gorilla rules
To protect the gorillas and visitors, a number of rules and guidelines have been set and must be adhered to. Ensure you get a copy of these rules from the reservations office or at the park. Note that visitors participating in gorilla tracking must be aged 15 or over.

Community walks

Community walks through forest edge villages at
Buhoma and Nkuringo provide insights into the lives of the local Batwa (Pygmy) and Bakiga peoples. The Buniga Forest Walk at Nkuringo is conducted by Batwa guides who demonstrate their traditional forest lore