Impenetrable Forest National Park
Famous for being a
habitat for the extraordinary endangered
mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable
Forest Reserve was set up in 1942
and afterwards elevated to Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park in 1992.
Found in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park is part
of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
placed along the Democratic Republic
of Congo border next to the Virunga
National Park on the edge of the western
Great Rift Valley. It consists of
331 square kilometres of tropical
forest with both montane and lowland
forest and is accessible barely on
foot. The Bwindi Impenetrable National
Park is a UNESCO-designated World
Heritage Site with one of the richest
ecosystems in Africa and a diversity
of animal and bird species. The park
is a habitat for some 120 species
of mammals including 7 diurnal primates
and about 30 elephants, 346 species
of birds, 202 species of butterflies,
163 species of trees, 100 species
of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons,
geckos and many endangered species.
Bwindi Forest is a
safe place for gorillas, colobus monkeys,
chimpanzees and lots of birds like
hornbills and turacos. The park is
mainly distinguished for gorillas,
where half the world's population
of the endangered Mountain Gorillas
is found. There are four habituated
Mountain Gorilla groups open to tourism:
Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura near
Buhoma and the Nkuringo group at Nkuringo.
The biologically diverse park derives
its names from the local language
‘Bwindi’ (dark place)
which defines the impenetrable nature
of its thick forests.
In 1994, it
was acknowledged as the world Heritage
site. The word Bwindi means Impenetrable
and what makes Bwindi Impenetrable
is the fact that it has twisted vegetation
wrapped over an intensively fissured
backdrop of the sheer, draughty ridges
as well as the slippery valleys and
hills. The park has a big population
of gorillas and is renowned for its
coldness in the morning and at night.
The coolest months are usually June
and July and the average temperature
is about 70c-200c. This is the reason
why for safari purposes, one should
come with warm clothes because Bwindi
is so cold and receives about 2390mm
of rain. It has two rain seasons,
little rains are in the months of
March-May and heavy rains are in the
months of September as well as November
and the rain in Bwindi forest lasts
for longer hours.
Getting to Bwindi Forest National
Bwindi National Park is 520 Kilometres
from Kampala, Uganda’s capital
city. Usually stronger vehicles like
4Wheel Drives are recommended. There
are two routes:
1. One can move from Kampala-Kabale
(414Kilometres, between 5-7 hours),
then Kabale-Kanungu- Kanyantorogo
- Buhoma Park Headquarters, about
120kms, a 3.5hour-drive.
2. Kampala-Kabale (414Kms), then to
Ruhija and finally to Buhoma which
is 95 kilometres, a three-hour drive.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest animal
- Gorillas, it’s a home for
over 360 gorilla beringei, a half
of the total remaining world population.
- monkey i.e. Hoest’s, red-tailed
and blue monkey, black and white colobus,
- Olive baboon.
- Over 346 species of birds registered
(Bwindi has 90% of all Albertine Rift
- 200 of butterflies.
- Mammals i.e. buffaloes, leopards,
elephants and many more.
Tourist Activities at Bwindi Forest
VISITING THE GORILLAS
Gorilla trekking is the main activity
in Bwindi to the 4 Gorilla families
of gorilla beringei. Bwindi National
Park gorillas are organized now in
four groups that can be visited by
(a) Mubare group, this one has 16
gorillas and 1 silverback.
(b) Habinyanja group with 23 gorillas
and 2 silverbacks.
(c) Rushegula group of 9 gorillas
and 2 silverbacks.
(d) Nkuring group with 20 gorillas
and 2 silverbacks.
The information about the gorillas
can be got from Uganda Wildlife Authority
(UWA) Headquarters or Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park management or from a
tour operator like AAB Tours and Travel.
Bwindi Gorilla tracking is a bit tiresome,
implying that bodily fitness is a
very important aspect. By and large
gorilla tracking runs from 8:30 am
local Uganda time up to late hours
of the day. About 8 permits are sold
on a daily basis for each of these
groups at UWA offices. So it’s
better to book 130 days in advance
to ensure proper programming. Visits
to the gorillas are restricted for
environmental and animal safety reasons
and each gorilla group is only visited
for one hour a day by a limited number
of people who have normally purchased
permits months in advance.
GORILLA TRACKING REQUIREMENTS
It is advisable to come up to with
the following items for an effective
tracking of mountain gorillas in Uganda.
1. Hiking boots- ankle level boots
are ok but make sure it is something
2. Rain Coat
3. Water proof container for their
4. A warm cardigan
5. A pair of binoculars if you are
a keen bird watcher.
6. Video- filming is allowed in the
parks though not outside the park
7. Thick trousers and a long sleeved
top are ideal for tracking.
9. If you prefer wearing a hat, a
baseball cap is recommended.
BIRD WATCHING AT BWINDI IMPENETRABLE
Bwindi Forest is a focal point for
birdwatchers. Hiking trails are open
to people to view birds, butterflies,
primates and trees along the Munyaga,
Waterfall, Rushura, River Ivi, Mu
bwindi swamp nature walks and Bamboo.
Cultural walks can be undertaken to
Buhoma village community for seeing
traditional homestead, the healer,
the banana brewing exercise, traditional
handicraft and cultural concerts.
One can watch up to 150 bird species
in a day especially at Buhoma and
Ruhija. Identify your need to allow
proper arrangements in time for the
whole day. Bwindi has over 350 bird
species, representing a 90% of all
Albertine rift Endemics which include:-
1. Short tailed Warbler,
2. White-tailed Blue Monarch,
3. Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher,
4. Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson
5. Bar-tailed Trogon,
6. Rusty-faced woodland Warbler,
7. Gruer's Rush Warbler,
8. Wilcock's Honey-guide and many
Most of these birds are very uncommon
in the Great Lakes Region and an opportunity
to stare at them is at Bwindi forest.
MUNYANGA RIVER TRAIL
Munyanga river trail is an inspiring
small walk for visitors with limited
time. Interesting to see here are
basically birds and primates at the
forest periphery. The amazing waterfall
trail provides an attractive feature
of the forest with a large amount
of tree ferns, epithetic ferns, orchids
and Bwindi's colourful collection
of butterflies. This trail gives a
clear image and soothe of a true tropical
Lasting between 2 to 4 days in the
park, there are 4 exciting hiking
trails. There is likelihood to see
and gain knowledge about primates,
different exceptional bird species,
butterflies, trees, plants and other
organisms on all the four trails.
Under the direction of a skilled guide,
who is a requirement on the tour,
you get a wider knowledge of how the
park’s coordination operates.
The guides understand well the primatology,
ornithology and botany of the park.
RUIZI RIVER TRAIL
This is the longest of the trails
and takes a full day to complete and
it is always good for bird lovers.
Visitors in 4WD vehicles transport
should reflect on crossing the rough
centre of the park through Ruhija.
While on this Uganda trip, look out
for duikers, primates and both forest
and grassland bird species. In Ruhija,
visitors can get the three-hour panorama
crowded trek to the Mubwindi swamp.
One can also stroll expediently to
the Bamboo zone.
This trail is very pleasant for the
reason that it commands an open view
across the western rift valley floor.
To the west, Congo's Parc Nationale
des Virungas provides an impressive
backdrop of clear Lake Edward and
the Rwenzori Mountain.
Muzabiro Trail presents relaxed incredible
spectacular view of Bwindi Forest,
Western Rift Valley and the Virungas.
While on your way, you will view a
lot of ancient tree ferns. When you
get to the top of this trail, you
will appreciate the fantastic spot
for a picnic lunch.
it is among the areas of the highest
range in the park and its trail offers
14 vegetation types. When at the pinnacle
of this trail, you are treated to
an open picture of the comprehensible
water Lake Bunyonyi and the thick
In the evenings at Bwindi, there are
by and large distinguished by conventional
dance performances by local tropes
mainly women and orphan groups and
money from these performances is intended
for improving the lives of the locals
who live around the park. One is at
liberty to participate in the dancing
with the locals, a thrinlling experience
Bwindi is gifted with a numerous reasonably
priced accommodation facilities of
almost all classes of people. Accommodation
below is of deluxe, midrange and budget
1. Mantana, with very luxurious safer
2. Abercrombie and Kent with luxury
3. Ruhinja Guest House
4. Buhoma Homestead
5. Savannah Resort Hotel at Kihihi.
6. The local community also operates
a clean accommodation camp with a
restaurant serving traditional dishes
for breakfast, lunch and super.
7. In Kihihi, Savanna Resort Hotel
is 40 kilometres to Buhoma and near
Ishasha sector, of Queen Elizabeth
GOLLIRA TRAKKING PRECUATIONS
When you come across the gorillas,
make an effort to be obedient as much
- Try to give a sideway look; don’t
look at them straight in the face.
- Stick tightly to the group,
- Talk softly or in whispers
- They don’t like flash photography
Gorillas are wild
Gorillas are a bit wild and should
not be irritated carelessly. Uganda
Wildlife Authority (UWA) has a warning
notice that it does not take any responsibility
for any injury sustained by wild animals
in their habitats, therefore, always:
• Keep your distance of about
7 metres from the gorillas
• Know that gorillas have a
right of the way
• Do not give food to the gorillas
• Do not persuade them to get
into contact with you in any way.
• Do not eat in the surroundings
of the gorillas
At present, there are just about 700
mountain gorillas in the world. Thus
these animals are classified as endangered
species. To avoid transmitting human
diseases to them;
1. Try to avoid tracking if you suffer
from contagious diseases. In case
you develop a severe case of flu,
your money will be fully refunded
if you make this known in advance.
2. Do not sneeze towards them
3. Do not spit out in the forest or
defecate carelessly. If you need to
the guides will help you with a matchet
to dig a hole to bury your waste.
4. Persons under 15 years are not
allowed to track gorillas.