Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a popular Uganda safari destination, is located in southern Uganda and is known for its dense foliage. Every day, when visitors embark on the famed gorilla trekking expedition, ranger guides must remove undergrowth to provide trackers access to where gorillas nested the night before. It is the actual African rainforest, with drops of sunlight filtering through the dense forest canopy, giving you the sense of being in paradise, with minimal pollution from various emissions seen in our everyday surroundings.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 for its vast diversity of flora and wildlife, as well as being home to half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas. The park has a total size of 321 km2 and is mostly wooded, with some portions covered by bamboo and bushes. The forest is made up of steep, slick valleys with peaks and hilltops.

Because of the dense canopy, the temperature in Bwindi is cool; bring some warm clothing for the evenings and long-sleeved shirts/trousers for walking.

Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is split into trail heads where gorilla trekking activities take place. The gorillas that have been trained for tourism are divided into families that are stationed at several trailheads. Before booking your lodging in Bwindi, make sure you know which trailhead you are assigned to. After you’ve determined your designated trailhead, you may book a hotel in that area. At the moment, 20 gorilla families have been trained for tourism. Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo are among the trailheads.

Wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park


The park is home to over 120 animal species, many of which are rarely seen since they hide in the thickets of the deep forest. These include both enormous and extremely tiny animals. Elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, gigantic forest hogs, black-fronted duiker, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otter, side-striped jackal, civet, various bats and rodents are among the wildlife found in Bwindi forest.

Bwindi forest is home to 11 primate species, including black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzees, and Mountain Gorillas.

Butterflies and Amphibians

Over 200 butterfly species live there, including eight Albertine rift endemics. Among these are the African gigantic swallowtail and the Cream-banded swallowtail. There are 27 amphibian species known in Bwindi forest, with 11 being unique to the Albertine rift. There are 14 snake species and 14 lizard species.


Around 350 bird species live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Because of its unique bird species, it is by far the greatest area in Uganda for birdwatching. The forest is home to 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of which are only found in Uganda. Grauer’s Broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Shelley’s Crimson-wing are among the internationally threatened species. Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black-billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds are among the other species.

Birding in Bwindi takes place mostly in the Mubwindi Swamp in the park’s Ruhija sector, ‘The Neck,’ a length of woodland connecting Ruhija to the Buhoma sector, and the Buhoma region, particularly along the waterfall route.

Activities to do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest

Half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas live in Bwindi. After buying a gorilla tracking licence from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, gorilla monitoring is done on a daily basis. It is recommended that you reserve your permit at least three months in advance to ensure your date, especially if you choose a certain area. Each day, only 8 people above the age of 15 are authorized to see a gorilla family.

You must be in excellent health or you will not be able to track since humans and gorillas may readily spread diseases to each other. Before tracking, your guide will brief you and advise you to keep at least 8m away from the gorillas, avoid using flash photography, and avoid looking straight into the gorilla’s eyes for a lengthy amount of time. Wear long-sleeved leggings and shirts to avoid scratches when trekking through the forest, bring a rain poncho, seasoned boots, plenty of water, lunch (it can take a whole day to find them), and consider hiring a potter because the terrain can be challenging.

Bird watching

Bwindi forest is a popular Uganda birding destination and was rated Africa’s top birding destination by the Africa Bird Club. If you only have a limited amount of time in Uganda and can only visit one park for birdwatching, Bwindi should be your first pick. Birding pathways in the forest lead to many areas, including the waterfall trail, making it conveniently accessible for birding. It is home to over 350 bird species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 species found nowhere else in Uganda. The villages have wonderful site guides who are highly informed about the birds in the region, particularly the endemics.

Nature walks

For your diverse interests, there are several pathways into the forest. There are trails that lead to lovely waterfalls where you may jump in the water. You walk with an armed Uganda wildlife ranger guide, who serves as both a protection and a guide in case you encounter a dangerous animal. The accessible paths include the Buhoma-Nkuringo trek, which takes 4 to 5 hours and crosses the national park. Rushura Hill Walk – a woodland route shared by Congo and Uganda. Muyanga waterfall hike and Ivi River trek are both 14 km long and take around 7 hours to complete. Muzubijiro Loop – A 6km trek around a hill where you may see monkeys and birds.

Hiking and biking

The Kigezi region, which contains the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is a hilly location with stunning landscape. Most lodges offer bikes you can borrow for the day to ride on the community’s particular paths, or you can ask them for a project you can rent from. ‘Ride for a Woman’ organized an Ivi river route from Buhoma park headquarters to the Ivi river.

Community walks and Cultural experiences

There are several activities and cultural experiences available in the town surrounding Bwindi Forest. You might opt to live as a Batwa, a people who lived for many years in the jungle. You will be able to re-visit the jungle with them and learn about how they lived in the wild for years, along with gorillas and other creatures. Buniga Forest nature walk in Nkuringo, a forest reserve near to Bwindi Impenetravle National Park, is one of the hikes available. Eco pathways in the Nyundo settlement and King Bakyara’s waterfall trail

Visit the Aquaponics project in the community with Conservation via Public Health (CTPH). Buhoma community tours – points of interest, handmade stores, Batwa village, traditional healer, elementary school, and lastly, sample how bananas are used to produce juice, beer, and gin.

Getting there

Entebbe International Airport has scheduled/charter flights to Kihihi town, which links to the Buhoma region, or to Kisoro Airstrip, which connects to Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Flights are also available at Kajjansi Airfield, which is located between Kampala and Entebbe.

Driving: The journey from Kampala varies on the trailhead you are visiting, for example, Kampala – Kabale – Ruhija OR Kampala – Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Buhoma/Nyondo OR Kampala – Kabale – Kisoro – Rushaga/Nkuringo.