A Guide to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Neighboring Areas
A Complete Guide to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with travel information on what to do, where to go, things to see, maps & guides, where to stay, tips & advice. This travel guide is packed with complete travel information to help you plan a gorilla safari to Bwindi Forest & explore the neighboring areas including Kigezi Highlands, Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi, Echuya Forest & more. This guide features up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, places where to go shopping, enjoy nightlife, travel tips and more. Rated as the No. 1 destination and vacation planner for Bwindi Forest, South Western Uganda.
This site is dedicated to making sure you have and maximize the best of your visit to Bwindi Forest National Park by educating you in advance on all that the destination has to offer and how you can plan a smooth safari in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
A trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a lifetime journey to a special protected area that has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Since gorilla tourism was introduced in Bwindi in 1994, a considerable number of tourists visit the park every year. The numbers of tourists are highly regulated and a carrying capacity is highly respected. Since Bwindi is an ecotourism destination, it is important to plan your trip well in advance.
Experience Bwindi Live never Before
Let us help make your tour to Bwindi better. Would you like to go gorilla trekking in the Impenetrable forest or you are interested in just a simple hike? We bring to you the best gorilla trekking tours in Uganda offered by selected tour operators. Here are some popular gorilla treks to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest;
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Plan an Amazing Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park website is a local online guide since 2010 and till today it continues to serve its purpose. It is here to help you plan your safari or vacation to Bwindi, South Western Uganda.
Use our comprehensive travel guide to plan a tour to Bwindi Forest in South Western Uganda. This portal offers complete information on the best things to see, things to do, where to stay, where to dine, & travel tips to help you plan gorilla safari. Find local attractions including museums, as well as listing of tourist amenities including bars, theaters and shops and more.
Whether you are looking to gorilla trekking, bird watching, community tours or volunteering, we hope to see you in Bwindi this year! Our aim is to provide free and inspiring advice to plan an amazing gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi National Park and Uganda in general. We endeavor to make this guide, the most comprehensive and authoritative guide to gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest and Uganda in general.
About the Park
Bwindi National Park is the flagship of Uganda’s tourism, the number 1 destination to visit in Uganda. The park is home to over half of the world’s 1060 mountain gorillas – the rest live in the neighboring Virunga Ranges; Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Read More
Where is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Located in the remote South Western Uganda, Bwindi Forest is the favorite destination to travelers looking to gorilla trekking in Uganda. The park can easily be accessed by road from Kampala in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda.
Here are maps and guides to help you locate Bwindi on the map and show you the best route to each destination in Bwindi.
Discover what’s on and places to visit in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Travel maps will guide you to the top tourist trails, best places to go shopping, find hotels, directions to hotels & bars, restaurants. Read More
Top Things to Do in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Are you an active traveler looking to explore Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? From popular treks to meet the mountain gorillas to guided walks within the impenetrable forest, you will definitely enjoy your visit. Bwindi is the ultimate destination for travelers from all walks of life including hikers, photographers, nature enthusiasts and more.
Though gorilla trekking is the major thing to do, there are many adventure activities that tourists can enjoy in the park. Here are the most popular adventure activities to do in Bwindi Forest;
Gorilla Tracking is the most popular adventure activity that attracts most travelers to Bwindi Impnetrable National Park. This activity can be done all year round and there are twenty habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists. Also refered to as gorilla tracking, this activity is done along ecotourism guidelines that were set by the Bwindi Great Ape Project in the 1990s. Read More
The Gorilla Habituation Experience was introduced in Rushaga Sector of Bwindi as an experiential form of tourism in 2017. It offers travelers with the chance to watch the great apes for up to four hours within the impenetrable forest. A considerable degree of fitness is needed since you have to follow a gorilla family that is still being habituated for tourist visits. Read More
Bwindi National Park is a hotspot for birding! The park hosts about 351 bird species of which 23 species are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley. While in Bwindi, you will bird through varied habitats that include forests, swamps, wetlands etc. Lots of birds can be ticked off during a carefully planned birding trip through the four sectors of Bwindi Tropical Forest. Read More
The Batwa were the indigenous inhabitants of the forest and had lived there thousands of years even before the Bantu people (considered the cultivators of land) arrived. The Batwa commonly referred as the pygmies were initially hunter-gatherers and settled in the jungles of South-western Uganda and beyond. This riveting Batwa experience involves tourists exploring these people’s ancient way of life. Read More
This is commonly done by tourists who have mostly 2 -4 days to explore the Bwindi. There are various trails thought-out the four sectors (Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo) and tourists can add nature walks t0 their gorilla trek. Nature walks help tourists to explore tree species, some primate species, butterflies, and even bird species. Learn about the most popular trails to take while in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Read More
One of such popular community walks includes the Buhoma Village walk where tourists have a 3-hour cultural walk through the villages to see how the rural Ugandan household lives. Community tours are conducted with a tour guide (mostly a native from the village) who is very knowledgeable about the cultural values, customs and practices of the people. Here are the most popular community experiences. Read More
Guide to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
We have tried to provide a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about gorilla tracking in Bwindi including practical advice on how to plan a perfect gorilla safari in Uganda. This guide is also helpful for visitors going gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
What is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park famous for?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is famous for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, & being home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park provides a safe haven for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies & more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees. More Park Information
What does Bwindi mean?
The word Bwindi means “a place of darkness” when translated from the local dialect, Mubwindi. This is most likely due to the dense rainforest of the park, which is also noted in the park’s inclusion of “impenetrable” in its full name “Bwindi Impenetrable National Park”.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 120 mammal species, including 10 primate species such as the common chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys and vervets. Other notable mammals include Africa elephants, giant forest hogs, bush pigs & buffalos. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also a birding paradise, with 349 bird species recorded, including 90% of all Albertine rift endemics. Read More about Bwindi Wildlife
An estimated 460 mountain gorillas live in the rain forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Of these 20 mountain gorillas families can be tracked on standard gorilla trekking trips & one mountain gorilla family can be visited on the gorilla habituation exercise. Read More about Bwindi gorillas
It is important to support ecotourism in Bwindi and therefore visitors are encouraged to engage in other activities that can be done. Visitors should visit the Batwa Community, the amazing Bwindi Hospital, taking a nature walk to spot numerous colorful bird species etc. Find out more about things to do in Bwindi
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park’s altitude ranges from around 1,190 meters (3,900 feet) to 2,607 meters (8,553 feet) above sea level. The park is situated in the southwestern part of Uganda, and its terrain is characterized by steep hills and valleys. The altitude varies throughout the park, with some parts being higher than others. The altitude can also depend on the specific location within the park, as there are different entry points and areas to explore. Overall, the altitude at Bwindi Impenetrable Park is high enough to offer a cool and comfortable climate, but not so high that visitors may experience altitude sickness.
Where Do Travelers Start their Trips?
There are four sectors where gorilla trekking is conducted in Bwindi. Visitors trek from a variety of start points that include Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Buhoma itself – dependent upon their allocated group from one of the 20 habituated gorilla families in the forest.
This sector is located in the north of the park and is home to four habituated gorilla families, including the Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Muyambi, and Katwe groups. The Buhoma sector is the most popular gorilla tracking sector in Bwindi and offers a range of accommodation options.
This sector is located in the east of the park and is home to three habituated gorilla families, including the Bitukura, Oruzogo,Mukiza, and Kyaguliro groups. The Ruhija sector is less crowded than the Buhoma sector and offers beautiful views of the park.
This sector is located in the south of the park and is home to five habituated gorilla families, including the Nshongi, Busingye, Kahungye, Rwigi, Bikingi, Mucunguzi, Mishaya, and Bweza groups. The Rushaga sector is known for its steep hills and is considered one of the most challenging gorilla tracking sectors.
This sector is located in the south of the park and is home to three habituated gorilla families, that is; the Nkuringo, Christmas, and Bushaho gorilla group. The Nkuringo sector is known for its stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Lake Mutanda.
IMPORTANT: Before booking your accommodation ensure that your Destination Management Company has obtained gorilla permits from the specific sector. It is important to stay near the briefing point for the next day gorilla trek.
Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
The most popular activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is gorilla trekking, with most visitors to Uganda traveling to the park to view these captivating creatures in the rain forest. Bwindi is also the only place in the world where you can take part in the gorilla habituation experience, which includes spending up to four hours tracking an unhabituated group of gorillas before they’re regularly tracked on standard gorilla trekking trips.
Where is the best place for gorilla trekking in Bwindi?
The successful tracking rates of mountain gorillas is the same across Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga & Nkuringo. Visitors often decide the location to track based on their desired safari lodges & which fits with their preferred travel route.
Well, most people think that there are slim chances of meeting the mountain gorillas in the wild! This is not true. There are 95% chances that you will meet the mountain gorillas on a single gorilla trek in Bwindi Forest. However, going on a gorilla trek twice is also a good idea – you are most likely to visit two different gorilla families and even go gorilla trekking in different regions of the forest. Read More
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest can be done all year round. There are two most popular seasons when most travelers visit the endangered mountain gorillas; December – March and June – October. Please be in the know that if you are looking to traveling during these dates, you need to make your gorilla permit booking well in advance. Here is advice on how to book gorilla permits. Recommended time is at least 4 months before. For last minute checks, get in touch with one of the selected tour operators listed on this website.
We recommend you read the information on weather and climate of Bwindi to guide you in planning a gorilla trek.
Gorilla Trekking does come at a price that is justifiable. Prior to 1990 when the first gorilla family has habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, gorilla trekking has been regulated and thus a gorilla permit comes at a price that aims at controlling the number of tourists visiting the park. The good news is that this protects the environment in which the gorillas live and the proceeds from gorilla tourism are used in protecting the mountain gorillas.
The packing list for a gorilla trek includes a number of critical items. You need to plan a perfect gorilla safari including the relevant clothing, kit packing list, recommended pieces of gear as well as essentials for gorilla trekking.
Clothing: We provide detailed advice and recommendations on the type of clothing that you need including head gear, foot wear, gloves and more.
Essentials: Trekking poles, hiring porters, etc.
The minimum age to track gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is 15 years old. This is to ensure the safety of both the visitors and the gorillas, as gorillas are susceptible to human diseases. Visitors who are 15 to 18 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult during the gorilla trekking experience. Read More about age limits
How long does a Gorilla Trek?
Gorilla treks vary in length and therefore calls for physical demand. Tourists are always allocated different families just ahead of their trek, according to the clients’ capabilities and requests. Most treks end within 3-6 hours. There are very few instances when treks take a full day!
You should be of good levels of fitness to track the mountain gorillas, as the hiking can take from 2 – 8 hours in total through the rain forest. There are rough paths for the majority of the trek, but they may be steep in places & become slippery in the rainy season. More info about difficulty
Book Your Tour to Bwindi Forest
Because you are reading this guide, you are most likely planning to go on a gorilla trek in Bwindi or visit the Bwindi National Park. Have you booked your gorilla permits yet? If not so, you can choose one of the packaged tours listed on this website. If you are looking to travel independently, you can also book a gorilla permit with one of the destination management companies listed here.
Get a Gorilla Trek Quote
Do I need a Permit to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest?
Yes, you need a permit to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and must be booked in advance. Book Your Gorilla Permit Now
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park varies depending on your residence status. The foreign non-residents pay $700 per permit, the foreign residents pay $600 per permit, and the East African citizens pay Ugx 250,000.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers a range of other activities, including bird watching, hiking, nature or forest walks, and cultural experiences with the local Batwa people.
Where to Stay
Would you like to go gorilla trekking in Uganda but wondering about where to stay? Are you looking for places where to stay? Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the neighboring region feature numerous hotel and other lodging facilities. Lodging inside Bwindi is highly desirable but limited. Collectively, hotel and lodging options include budget, mid range and luxury lodges. There are also boutique, bandas, camping and more.
There are many accommodation facilities in the different sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Whichever sector you are tracking from, there are facilities that will always suite your demand. Check out the lodges in Buhoma and Ruhija in the north as well as Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.
Some of the popular facilities include Silverback Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs in Buhoma sector, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill and Gorilla Valley in Rushaga sector, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Nkuringo Safari Lodge in Nkuringo Sector, Bakiga Lodge, and Gorilla Friends Camp in Ruhija Sector. Find out the best places to stay in Bwindi including safari lodges, tented campsites, open camping and more. Read More
Bwindi Travel Planner
Would you like to explore Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Here is useful information to help you plan for a safari to Bwindi:
How to travel to Bwindi Forest from Kampala (Uganda) or Kigali (Rwanda). Bwindi National Park can be accessed by both Air and Road transport.
The nearest international airport in Uganda to Bwindi is in Entebbe, which is located about 460 kilometers away. From Entebbe, visitors can travel by road or by air to the park. It is recommended to hire a driver or take a guided tour for the road journey.
You can also access the park from Rwanda and the nearest airport is the Kigali International Airport. The drive from Kigali to Bwindi takes about 4-6 hours depending on which sector you would like to access. Learn about how you can get to Bwindi Forest.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bwindi
Here are Frequently Asked Questions to guide you in planning your next safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, along the border
with the Democratic Republic of Congo, surrounded by the towns of Kisoro,
Kabale, and Kanungu.
2. What is the main attraction of Bwindi Park?
The main attraction of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is its population of endangered
mountain gorillas. You can go on guided gorilla trekking tours to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
3. Tourist Information Centres
Wondering about where to enter Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? There are four gazetted gates to the park. Each sector has an outpost that has been developed. This is where you will be assigned the gorilla family or where to commence different activities such as nature walks, hiking and more.
3. What is the Best Time to Visit Bwindi?
The best time of year to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is during the dry seasons, which are from December to February and from June to September. However, gorilla trekking is possible year-round and the park is open for visitors throughout the year.Read detailed information on the best times to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park.
4. What is the Climate of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has a tropical rain forest climate, with temperatures that are relatively constant throughout the year. The average temperature ranges between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius (68 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, and it can drop to around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.
The forest receives high levels of rainfall throughout the year, with an annual average of 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters (59 to 79 inches). The rainy season in Bwindi typically occurs from March to May and from September to November, while the driest months are usually June, July, and August.
Due to its high altitude, the forest experiences cooler temperatures than other areas at similar latitudes, and the weather can be unpredictable and change quickly, so you should be prepared for varying weather conditions.
There are several Hotels & Safari Lodges where to stay on a safari in Bwindi – From Luxury Hotels to Budget Accommodations. Find Reviews, Price comparisons, Gallery, Amenities, Booking Information and more.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an ecotourism destination. From the time great ape tourism was introduced in Bwindi Forest to date, all activities that are done in the park follow strict ecotourism guidelines. Would you like to engage in tourism that changes the livelihoods of the local communities? Here are some few featured projects to support;
Ride For a Woman – Go Mountain cycling for a Local Cause
The “Ride for a woman” is the most common community support project that offers mountain bikes and guided cycling to tourists who visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park especially in the Buhoma sector. The cycling trail starts from Buhoma up to Ivi River (for about 13 kilometers/6-7 hours). Ride for a Woman Project has also set up an accommodation establishment where you can engage more in homestays.
Explore the spectacular hidden treasures of the Buniga Forest and its variety of wildlife, bird and plant species on this wonderful trail, done on the company of the local guides who have expert knowledge on their attractions within the area.
Packing for a Bwindi TripWhat do I need to park when visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Here are the essential things that you need for your visit.
Gorilla Trekking Permit:You will need to obtain a permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority in advance of your visit if you plan to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi. This permit is necessary to enter the park and observe the gorillas, and must be purchased before your visit. Book Your Gorilla Permit Now
Valid passport and visa:Visitors to Uganda must have a valid passport and obtain a visa in advance of their trip. You should check the specific visa requirements for your country of origin before traveling to Uganda.
Comfortable hiking shoes:Gorilla trekking in Bwindi involves hiking through dense forest and rough terrain, so it is important to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes with good grip.
Long-sleeved shirts and pants:Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants can help protect you from scratches and insect bites while hiking in the forest.
Rain jacket or poncho:Bwindi is a rainforest and experiences frequent rain, so it is important to bring a rain jacket or poncho to stay dry.
Insect repellent:Bwindi is home to many insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, so it is important to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from bites.
Camera:A camera or smartphone with a good camera is essential to capture the incredible moments during your gorilla trekking experience and other wildlife sightings.
Cash:It is recommended to bring enough cash to cover any additional expenses, such as tips for guides and porters, as well as souvenirs.
Personal medications and first aid kit:You should bring any necessary personal medications and a small first aid kit to address any minor injuries that may occur during your trip.
What is New?
Wondering about what is happening in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest? We bring to you latest news and updates from the forest. We also share travel tips and advice for travelers looking to explore Bwindi Forest in South Western Uganda.