BWINDI NATIONAL PARK


Bwindi Forest is the best place in Uganda to track mountain gorillas which is approximately 321km². The park contains a half of the world's mountain gorilla’s population with over 440 mountain gorillas, which can be tracked along with other primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboons, black-and-white colobus and l'Hoest monkeys and has several habituated groups such as Mubare; Habinyanja; Rushegura near Buhoma and the Nkuringo group at Nkuringo and this community benefits from the mountain gorilla and other ecotourism which may be the only hope for the future conservation of this unique site. Bwindi is a swathe of steep mountains covered in thick, steamy jungle and located in south-western Uganda and situated along the DR Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift with a pristine rainforest. The park is patrolled by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, a parastatal government body. The park has total protection, although communities adjacent to the park can access some of its resources.


The park has more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Floristically, the park has more than 1,000 flowering plant species where the northern (low elevation) sector has many species of Guineo-Congolian flora, including two endangered species, the brown mahogany is a threatened plant species found within the park and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular, the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.


Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward which include the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha, and Ntengyere rivers and other rivers flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi making it a supplier of water to local farmers and an important water catchment area.


Gorilla tracking is the park's main tourist activity which earns much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority. Most of the gorillas are friendly to tourists. However, strict rules have been put in place to minimize the risk of diseases passing from the tourists to the gorillas and emphasized by guide walkers.

The forest is also a bird-watcher's paradise with impressive 350 species. Due to a rich fauna, a number of endemic butterflies of around 220 species have been attracted here such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail.

It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals and more than 45 are small mammals, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos. There are also many carnivores, including the side-striped jackal, African golden cat, and African civet and small antelope species.

 

Top Tourist Activities in Bwindi Forest


Gorilla Tracking

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is well known for its outstanding gorilla tracking and its mountain gorilla populations (half of the world's mountain gorillas). Don’t miss an opportunity to see the rare endangered gorillas during a Uganda Safari tour because it’s a once in lifetime adventure while at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi has four trailheads for tracking gorilla families for which you will have to obtain permits for tracking them. There are more than 50 gorilla families habituated for safari visitors. Always get your gadgets for trekking and other things needed.


Birding

Bwindi National Park is one of Africa’s prime birding destinations. The park has a variety bird species with over 350 species of forest birds, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird. Most safari visitors come in Uganda to spot some of Africa’s rarest birds.


Cycling/Mountain Biking
Mountain biking starts from Buhoma (Park headquarters) following a 13km trail to the Ivi River. Wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys are seen.
There are also guided birding bike rides which takes about 3 hours where many bird species are sighted.


Cultural Encounters
Cultural walks through the villages will make you discover and experience the culture of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities. The Batwa Experience takes place in the Buhoma village South of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A 3 hours friendly and knowledgeable village walk will guide you about local culture and customs such as blacksmith visits, craft shops and vibrant dances.
You will also see how people make baskets with interesting designs, Banana – made – beer and local waragi, growing and harvesting of local produce, food preparation.


Hiking/Nature Walks
A guided hike can be done through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest especially for those safari visitors who enjoy gorilla trekking. Buhoma has 6 main trails for nature walks including waterfall walks, forest walks, primate encounters, mountain views and impressive birdlife. These can be done in Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. You will experience the beautiful scenery of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.


Tracking Regions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


Nkuringo:
Nkuringo is located in the southern part of the park and is one of the gorilla tracking trailheads. Nkuringo has a beautiful scenery which attracts many Uganda safari and tours visitors.Nkuringo has six gorilla group families which are interesting and strenuous for Uganda safari gorilla trackers.
However, there are also walks along the Nteko ridge-top road which offers an impressive views of the forested hills of Bwindi and the Virunga volcanoes. There are also village walks which will enable Uganda safari and tours visitors to explore the Bakiga culture through their traditional dances, singing and weaving.


Buhoma:

Buhoma is located in the northwestern part of the park is home to 3 gorilla groups making it another popular traking region frequently visited by primate lovers.

Enjoy a 3 hour guided cultural walk as you discover the lifestyle and culture of people who live in Buhoma namely the Bakiga and Batwa tribes. You will see how people make local crafts such as designed baskets, beer made from Bananas, local Waragi Gin made from Bananas, traditional dances and singing.
There are also guided birding bike rides that give birders a great opportunity to see various Albertine Rift endemics among which is the Short-tailed Warbler. There are also mountain biking and nature walks to waterfalls and other parts of the forest for those looking for more adventure.


Rushaga:

Rushaga is located in the southeastern part of the park with the most Gorilla groups which is a suitable area for mountain gorilla habituation experience for primate lovers on a Uganda safari. Rushaga has various trailheads such as Shongi trailhead and 3 gorilla groups can be tracked from here such as Shongi, Mishaya and Kahungye. This trail continues to the southern part of the park, descending deep into the forest. There are also village walks, bird watching and a spectacular waterfall in Rushaga.


Ruhija:
Ruhija is located in the eastern part of the park. Ruhija has 3 Gorilla groups namely Bitukura, Oruzoojo and Kyaguriro gorilla groups and has one of the best tracking trails in Bwindi , and one of a kind with elephants alongside Rushaga.
There is a 6-hour bamboo trail leading to Rwamunyoni Peak (Highest point of the park) which is suitable for bird watching. There is also 3-hour trail descending to Mubwindi swamp which is notable for bird watching where you will see a variety of endemics and localized African Green Broadbill.


Nyundo:
Nyundo is situated north of Buhoma Village, sitting on the DR Congo border.
This community offers interesting guided hikes along the hill crests and rivers hence discovering waterfalls, great views, and cultural lifestyle of the Kigezi People.

 

Interested in mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda , book a safari to Bwindi forest today with Uganda Car Rental Services, whether your prefer a self drive road trip or guided tour , we will be more than delighted to offer you a safari car with or without a driver. Send an email to info@ugandacarrentalservices.com or call us on +256-700135510 to speak with the reservations team.