Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, is found in southwestern Uganda on the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley close to the border of DR Congo and Rwanda. It is one of the largest places in the East African region with Afromontane lowland forest spreading well within the montane forest belt. It was first designated as a crown forest reserve in 1932 after combining the two blocks that is Kayonza Crown Forest Reserve in the northern block and Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve in southern block that made a total area of 207 square kilometers (80sq mi). Later in 1942, it was renamed as the Bwindi Impenetrable Central Crown Forest reserve with a total area of 298 square kilometers (115 sq mi) under the joint control of the government of Uganda. Then in 1992 was gazetted as a national park to protect a range of wildlife species within it, most especially the endangered mountain gorilla.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park covers an area of 32,092 ha (321 sq km / 124 sq mi). It hosts a variety of wildlife species including half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, the most forest in Africa for the montane forest butterflies with over 202 species (which are close to 84% of the country’s total and eight of them are endemic to this forest), countless bird species (about 350 species recorded) including the Albertine Rift region (with 36 species endemic), many tree species (about 200 species with 10 of them endemic) that have lasted for over 2.5 million years ago. The park hosts a variety of globally threatened mammals such as Chimpanzees, l’Hoest’s monkey and African forest elephants and one of the richest mammalian living home in Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is one of the two Uganda’s national parks that were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was defined as an isolated forest exceptional biological richness by UNESCO. The park contributes to the economic development of the surrounding communities through the rising growth of mountain gorilla trekking tourism and other sustainable tourism initiatives. The Bwindi impenetrable forest is said to be a mere remnant of a very large forest which once enclosed most parts of western Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Wildlife mammals at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is more popular for being a home to the biggest population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas (approximately 400 individuals). But the park provides shelter to more than 120 mammal species, these include small and large mammals and eleven other primates. However, most of them are rarely seen. The animals of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include; forest Elephants, Caped buffaloes, Bush duikers, Bush pigs, Giant forest hogs, Golden cats, Black-fronted Duiker, Clawless otter, Yellow-backed duiker, Civet, Leopards, Side-striped jackal, numerous bats and rodents and many others.
Primates in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has inhabits the highest population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Some of them are well habituated for tourism and research purposes and others are still fully wild. Besides mountain gorillas, there are other 11 primate species that are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park these include; Black-and-white colobus monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Blue Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Demidoff’s Galago, Potto, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzee and Vervet monkeys.
Bird Species in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to over 350 bird species with 23 species Albertine Rift endemics and 14 species of them are only recorded nowhere else in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is one of the best bird lovers’ paradise in Uganda and Africa. The park shelters 76 of the 144 Guinea-Congo-forest biome bird species that can be found in Uganda and at the same time, the park qualifies for the Afro-tropical-highland biome bird species with over 68 of the total 86, as well as 4 of the 12 species for the Lake Victoria-biome. Bird species in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include; Grauer’s broadbill, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, White-bellied Robin Chat, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, Fraser’s Eagle, Black billed Turaco, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, and Regal Sunbirds, Black bee-eater, Black-faced warbler, Black-faced rufous warbler, Blue-headed sunbird (NE), Many-colored bush-shrike, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Neumann’s warbler, Ruwenzori apalis and Olive-breasted greenbul etc.
What is the climate of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park?
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has a wet, yet mild, climatic conditions. Temperatures stay consistent throughout the year, this is because of its being close to the equator. Temperatures during daytime are around 23°C/73°F and then relatively drop at night to around 11°C/52°F. The park is one of the areas which receives a lot of rain mostly from March to May and October to November though can still be visited for mountain gorilla trekking because in Uganda has variable climate because of being in the middle of Equator. So, Waterproof clothing and hiking shoes are enough to make you comfortable and very essential when going to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park no matter the season. From June to August and December to February are the driest month where the park receives little remain but it can still rain. The average temperatures range from 23°C/73°F in the afternoon to 11°C/52°F or even getting more cold at higher altitudes like in Rushaga and Nkuringo trekking sectors in the morning and late evening.
Wet seasons – March to May and September to November
March, April & May – There is too much Rainfall which sometimes make the roads so slippery. Therefore, when planning a tour to Bwindi during this time, 4×4 WD vehicle is essential and recommended. In this season, the daytime temperature average is around 23°C/73°F and in the morning 12°C/54°F or colder.
Generally, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a tropical type of climate, however the heat is tempered by the altitude. Its annual mean temperature ranges from a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. In winter, the park receives much rainfall than in summer with annual rainfall ranging from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. March to April and from September to November are the months where the park receives much rain fall.
High amounts of vapor-transpiration from the forest, increases the amount of rain received within and outside the park. This rainfall contributes much to the thickness and green vegetation of the park and its neighboring places.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and the surrounding areas are normally very cold during morning and night with moderate temperatures between 7⁰C and 20⁰C mostly in the months of June to July, January is the warmest month of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. The park has altitudes which varies from 1160m to 2607m above sea level that causes temperature variations. The park being close to the equator and high amounts of vapor-transpiration from the forest, rain is expected any time of the day which makes the park not to experience the real dry seasons like in other parts of the country.
Facts on Weather in Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park.
The park is known to be cold in the morning and at night with average annual temperatures between 7C-20C.
June and July are the coldest months in Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park.
Rainy seasons in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park include; the months of March to May and then late September to late November. However, rains in March to May are short and heavier in November and can rain for long hours.
Dry Seasons in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park include; Mid December to late February and June to late September.
Rains in the months of March to May are shorter but can take long hours of soft drizzle and late September to November experiences the heaviest rain.
The Geography of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is found in the southwestern parts of Uganda with an area totaling to 331 square kilometers. The park is bordering with Kabale district in the southeast with Kabale town as the nearest main town to the park which is about 50 kilometers, in the western side it is bordering with Democratic Republic of Congo on the edge of the Western Rift Valley on the highest parts of Kigezi Highlands which were created due to up-Warping of the Western Rift Valley. The landscape of the park is very rocky, with narrow valleys interconnected by rivers and steep hills.
The park’s primary geology made up of Precambrian shale phyllite, quartz, quartzite, schist, and granite. Altitudes in the Park ranges between 1,190 to 2,607 meters (3,904 to 8,553 ft) above sea level. About 60% of the park have a height of over 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) and the highest part is Rwamunyonyi Hill at the eastern part of the park. The northern part is the lowest part of the park.
How to access Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park?
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is 580 kilometers from Entebbe international airport the main entry point into Uganda and approximately 540 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. The park can be accessed by both road and air transport networks. However, air transport is the quickest mean to reach the park. Though using road transport which takes about 7-10 hours’ drive including all the delays, it is the most rewarding as it offers you many scenic sights, enable you to spot many other attractions along the way such as the rolling hills of Kisoro, Equator landmark, Igongo cultural center, Lake Mburo national park, the ishasha southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park where you spot many animals.
Getting to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park by road
Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park can be reached using road transport from different. By road transport, you can use both private and public means. There are several bus companies such as Gaga bus, Friends, Trinity, Baby coach and Gateway which operates daily services from Kampala to Butogota town, Kampala to Kabale town, Kampala to Kihihi town, Kampala to Kisolo which are the neighboring towns to the park and then get a taxi or hire a vehicle to your booked lodge. However, using a private vehicle is the best choice when it comes to road means of transport because it saves time and more comfortable. So, you can hire a safari vehicle from any car hire company in Uganda or contact Africa Adventure Vacations Ltd and we arrange your entire mountain gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in a magical style.
When hiring a private vehicle for self-drive, we recommend you to get a 4WD vehicle because is the most suitable and strong enough to navigate through muddy and slippery trails in the park mostly when it has rained.
When planning to use road transport to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park for mountain gorilla trekking, we highly recommend 3-day Gorilla safari.
Best road transport to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park (Ruhija sector, Buhoma sector, Rushaga sectors and Nkuringo). This route can either start from Kampala Uganda’s capital city or Entebbe international airport and it is the common route used mostly for visitors who visit Uganda only for Mountain gorilla trekking.
When the trekking sector is Ruhija sector, the distance is about 450 km from Kampala and 496 km from Entebbe which is about 7-8 hours’ drive.
When the trekking sector is Buhoma sector, the distance is over about 470 km from Kampala and 516 km from Entebbe which is about 8-9 hour’s drive from Kampala or Entebbe.
When the trekking sector is Rushaga sector, the distance is about 470 km from Kampala and about 520 km from Entebbe international airport which is over 8-9 hour’s drive.
When the trekking sector is Nkuringo sector, the distance is about 490 km from Kampala and about 536 km from Entebbe international airport which is over 9-10 hour’s drive. Kasese – Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park the distance is 178.3 kilometers via Hima Katunguru route
Fort portal – Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park the distance is 253.6 kilometers via Fort portal – Mpondwe route
Kisoro – Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park the distance is 84.1 kilometer via Kabale-Kisoro road
Kibale – Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park the is distance is 236 kilometers via Hima-Katunguru route
Mbarara – Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the distance is 206.5 kilometers Mbarara – Kabale road
Kigali (Rwanda) – Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park the is distance is 169.6 kilometers via Kabale – Katuna – Kigali route
Queen Elizabeth national park – Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the distance is 154.6 kilometers via Kihihi-Kambuga road
Lake Mburo national park – Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the distance is 272.3 kilometers via Mbarara – Kabale road
Murchison falls national park – Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the distance is 574.5 Kyenjojo-Hoima road
Mgahinga gorilla national park – Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park the distance is 95.4 kilometers via Kabale – Kisoro road
The distance will change depending on your location and the trekking sector where you are going to do mountain gorilla trekking from. For example, Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector are slightly far comparing to Ruhija sector and Buhoma sector so this will make your driving time slightly change from what has been provided.
Getting to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park by air transport means
There are daily domestic scheduled charter flights from Entebbe international airport and Kajjansi airstrip to different parts of the country including Bwindi impenetrable forest national park operated by Aerolink and Kajjansi Executive Aviation.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is well served by 2 airfields include; Kihihi airstrip found in the northern region of the park and mostly used by visitors who going to Buhoma and Ruhija trekking sectors and Nyakabande airstrip located at Kisoro in the southern region of the park which is used by people going to Rushaga and Nkuringo trekking sectors. When planning to go to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park using air transport means, it always very important to book in advance before your travel date to secure a seat.
Getting to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park from Kigali (Rwanda)
It is very easy and time saving to start your safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park for mountain gorilla trekking from Kigali (Rwanda) by using both private and public means. When planning to use public means, we recommend Virunga express bus service which operates daily from Kigali city to Kabale at 3:00 pm (Rwanda time). Or you can get matatu taxi from Kigali city to Chanika-Rwanda-Uganda boarder and then hire a special car to proceed to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The distance from Kigali airport or city to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is very shorter mostly the southern region of park comparing to the distance from Kampala city or Entebbe international airport. So, this is very important for visitors who want to encounter the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda bur with limited travel time. For only mountain gorilla trekking, 2 days and 1 night is enough to encounter mountain gorillas from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park for those with limited time.
For private mountain gorilla trekking safari from Kigali city or Kigali airport, please send us your travel inquiry and we arrange for you a fully customized gorilla trekking package.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park.
When you mention about Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, most people think of mountain gorilla trekking only which is correctly because it is the main attraction of the park and Uganda at large. However, the park can be visited for other activities such as culture encounter (visit to the Batwa pygmy communities), Bird watching tours, Forest guided walk, and viewing other primates like Chimpanzee. Talking about chimpanzees. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the only national park/protected area in the world where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees can both be found living together however, chimpanzees in Bwindi are not habituated for tourism and research.
Mountain Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the top attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national, Uganda and one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa if not the best one should not miss. Mountain Gorilla trekking is the most unique, exciting and wildlife experience rewarding activity that makes visitors explore and appreciate the hidden happiness inside the huge impenetrable forest of Bwindi. Mountain gorilla trekking can be done throughout the year, however, June to September and December to February are the best seasons to visit Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking at Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas with estimated number of 500 mountain gorillas out of the 1004 worldwide individuals.
The park has over 36 mountain gorilla families with about only 19 families that are well habituated for tourism and research purposes. The other families are still wild and some under habituation process. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most perfect destination to encounter mountain gorillas because of its easy accessibility, affordability and guarantee to see mountain gorillas with 98% clear chances on any day you choose to go for this activity. Mountain Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can only be done after purchasing trekking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) which regulates all wildlife activities and protected areas of Uganda. Only 8 individuals of 15 years and above are permitted to visit each mountain gorilla family per day so, anyone below 15 years is not eligible to meet mountain gorillas and this is done for conservation purposes. Due to the high demand for the mountain gorilla permits and their limited number to sellout on a daily basis, we advise you to book your permit at least 3 months before your intended trekking date to secure your permit and preferred trekking location.
Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park.
The main tourism attraction in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Uganda are mountain gorillas which generates much of the foreign revenue for Uganda. The population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is approximately 400 individuals which makes half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national has more than 100 well habituated mountain gorillas for tourism and research. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park was divided into four main trekking sectors; Buhoma sector where park headquarters are in the northern region of the park, Ruhija sector region in the east of the park, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors in the south of the park. Each region has well habituated mountain gorilla families for visitor trekking and research studies. When planning to do mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park before booking accommodation, you need to mind about a specific sector where you are going do trekking from and then confirm whether there is permit availability for that sector as this will affect the lodge to be booked.
Buhoma trekking sector is the most famous than other sectors of the park and re-known as the pioneer sector for mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Uganda in general. Buhoma sector was the first to have a well habituated mountain gorilla family for tourism called the Mubare gorilla family that was formed in 1993 only two years after Bwindi forest was gazetted into a National Park. Therefore, gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park cannot be mentioned without the Buhoma sector because it is always the top on the list in the minds of visitors and Uganda Tour Operators. Buhoma sector is found in the north-western side of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, in Kanungu district. It is unquestionable that this is where mountain gorilla trekking tourism started in Uganda and then spread to other areas of the park. Buhoma sector currently has five well habituated mountain gorilla families these include Mubare family, the first family to be habituated and opened for tourism (in 1993), Habinyanja family, the second family to be habituated for tourism and it was opened in 1997 for mountain gorilla tourism, Rushegura family that habituated in 2000 and Katwe family which is the newest and emerged in 2018 and some others that are still under habituation process which takes between 2 to 3 years before the family is opened for visitors. This implies that there are only 40 mountain gorilla trekking permits that are sold for this sector per day. The fact that it was the first mountain gorilla trekking sector to be opened for tourism in Uganda, undoubtedly contributes a lot to the popularity of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.
Mountain Gorilla Families in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.
Mubare Mountain Gorilla Family
This was the first mountain gorilla family to be habituated to introduce mountain gorilla trekking tourism in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Uganda. Mubare mountain gorilla family initially, it had over 18 individuals, led by the dominant Silverback Ruhondeza. Unfortunately, over years the family lost many of its members until there were only 5 left by 2012. This was due to some family members to move to other families and others members lost life during fights with other families.
In March 2012, Mubare family was attacked by a wild gorilla family which sparked off a terrible fight that led to the broke of Ruhondeza’s leadership and took away some members mostly females. The Old Ruhondeza took an asylum in the neighboring community forest but continued to be monitored by researchers, until he died on 27 June 2012. In the meantime, Ruhondeza’s successor Kanyonyi managed to enlarge the family and gained some new members to make a total of eight members.
Habinyanja Mountain Gorilla family.
Location: Buhoma (ranging from Kahororo to Rubona)
Group size: 17 individuals including 2 silverbacks
This family was the second to be habituated in Buhoma and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in 1997 and first visited by visitors in 1999. The name “Habinyanja” originated from the Rukiga word “Nyanja” that means “a place with water”. The family was given this name because was first sighted near a swamp in the park.
This family during the period of its habituation, it was led by the dominant Silverback called Mugurisi, which means “Old man”. Later because of age he passed on and he was succeeded by his two brothers that is Rwansigazi and Mwirima who shared power but they were so different which led the family to split and this happened without any fight. Rwansigazi was so adventurous and liked travelling while Mwirima preferred to stay at a small range this made it inevitable for the family to separate in 2002. The members who stayed with Rwansigazi remained with the name Habinyanja and the other members who stayed with Mwirima got a new name and came to be known as the Rushegura family. Later, Rwansigazi gave up leadership to Makara who is still the dominant silverback of the family. Sometimes, both groups still come across each other but co-exist peacefully.
Sadly, in June 2011 a tragedy happened when one the blackbacks who was called Mizano was found dead with an evidence of spear wounds around the shoulders and neck. So, this was believed to be a group of poachers. Since 1995 this was the first incident of poaching to happen within the park.
Rushegura Mountain Gorilla Family
Rushegura family is also among the first mountain gorilla families to be fully habituated and opened for tourism and research studies in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park Buhoma sector. This family has over 19 members including 1 silverback, the family’ name Rushegura is the name of the area where the separation of this family from the mother family Habinyanja took place in February 2002. The breakaway of this family from Habinyanja family was led by Mwirima who took with him seven members. The Mwirima’s determination to form a large and stable family, he worked so hard and by April 2010, the members of the family had increased to 19 members from the original 8 members. Since 2002, this family has been available for tourism when its members were habituated under the original Habinyanja family.
Mwirima at an estimate of 25 years without any question was the most dominant silverback in his family and does not back away from showing his strength during fights to protect his family from wild gorillas. This family had crossed to Democratic Republic of Congo but later it came back to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. It is well known to be one of the calmest families and usually stay in the locality of Buhoma Villages and sometimes it wandering around the lodge gardens or visit the gift shop of Gorilla Forest Camp and they very curious mostly the youngsters.
This family is one of the newly introduced mountain gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park at Buhoma sector. This family has 1 dominant silverback, 4 adult females, 3 blackbacks, and two infants. The real number of the members in this family is still not clear and it is speculated that there are some members who keeps moving in and out of the family. This family was habituated with the Christmas family in the Nkuringo sector. It was opened for tourism in 2018, and its habituation took three years. The increase in the number of habituated mountain gorilla families helps to increase the number of mountain gorilla trekking permits, hence increasing the number of Visitor.
Muyambi Mountain Gorilla Family.
Muyambi family the newest mountain gorilla family that was opened up for tourism in 2019 with six family members. Muyambi was an adult family member of the Mubare family, and spilt away from the family to form a new family called Muyambi family now.
Where to stay in Buhoma trekking sector of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
The Buhoma trekking sector being the pioneer of mountain gorilla trekking tourism in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Uganda at large, it has a number of accommodation facilities in terms of safari lodges made in real African style ranging from Camping grounds, Budget / Standard, Midrange/Moderate, Luxury / Upmarket. Therefore, depending on your budget and availability of space, there is always good lodges with private rooms with private toilet and bathroom, access to power, Wi-Fi and other standard services as per the gorilla tour package booked with us.
How to go to Buhoma trekking Sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Buhoma trekking sector of Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park can be accessed from Kampala city / Entebbe international airport by road using Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale route which is over 450 km approximately 7-8 hours’ drive. You can as well access Buhoma from Kigali city / town and it is the shortest route for people who do not like long hour drive or those with limited time but wish to do mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Buhoma trekking sector is the closest sector from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale forest national park, Murchison falls national park, Semuliki national park and Rwenzori mountains national park. You can combined mountain gorilla trekking at Buhoma sector with Queen Elizabeth national park.
Buhoma trekking sector, can be accessed by air using Kihihi Airstrip from either Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airstrip. You can fly with Aerolink or Kampala Executive Aviation. There are daily scheduled flights from Entebbe airport and Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi airstrip and when you arrive at Kihihi Airstrip, you get a car and drive to any of your lodge in Buhoma trekking sector and it is possible to fly from Kihihi airstrip to Masai Mara and it saves for those who want to combine their safari in Kenya with Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda. If you want to air means to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you have to book in advance to be able to secure your seat.
Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector.
Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector is found in the eastern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the southwestern Uganda. Ruhija sector is one of the coldest regions of the park as it stands at a high altitude of 2,350 meters above sea level. It is situated between Buhoma sector in the north in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Kabale town in the south. Ruhija sector is home to three well habituated mountain gorilla families that are available for tourism and research studies. These include; Bitukura family, Kyaguriro family and Oruzogo family. Ruhija sector has 24 mountain gorilla trekking permits that are sold out on the daily basis to visitors. Unlike other mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, Ruhija trekking sector offers the most ecotourism mountain gorilla experience because it is less congested due to having few mountain gorilla families.
Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector is the most easily accessible mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national and can be accessed from different directions. If you are coming from Kampala city or Entebbe international airport, it is better to use Kampala Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale route and then breakoff from Kabale town to proceed to Ruhija sector and this is the most common route that is used by visitors. This route is about 450 kilometers that’s 7-8 hours’ drive depending on your booked accommodation place or you may use the shortcut route which breaks off from on Mbarara – Kabale highway from Ntungamo, it is Mbarara- Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Butogota and then to Ruhija trekking sector but it needs a strong safari vehicle mostly during rainy seasons because of the bad road conditions so, we recommend the use of 4WD safari vehicle. It can be reached when you connect from Queen Elizabeth National Park with about 218 kilometers, so using this route, you will have an opportunity to visit Queen Elizabeth national park for boat cruise trip on the Kazinga channel, game drive for wildlife sighting and visit the Ishasha sector to see the tree climbing lions. For visitors who do like long hours’ drive, they can use scheduled or private charter plains from either Entebbe international airport with Aero link or Kajjansi airstrip with Kampala Executive Aviation (KEA) to Kihihi air strip and then get a car to drive you to Ruhija sector which is about 2 hours’ drive.
There are several accommodation properties where you can stay in Ruhija sector depending on your accommodation budget and these include Rushija Safari Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Broadbill forest camp, Agandi Uganda eco Lodge and Ruhija community rest camp. However, you can stay in Buhoma sector and then do mountain gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector and it is about 2 hours’ drive but the road is bumpy and dirty. Well as you can stay in Kabale town or Bunyonyi and do mountain gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector. Besides mountain gorilla trekking, Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector is very popular for bird watching and nature walks through the forest as you will enjoy to see the various primates mostly the white and black colobus monkeys as they play all over the tree branches in the forest.
For visitors who wish to start their mountain gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park from Rwanda (Kigali city/airport) Ruhija Sector is the best and nearest trekking sector using both Chanika and Katuna Boarders compared to Buhoma sector. Therefore, for those visitors who want to do mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi impenetrable forest national and then continue with their itineraries to Rwanda are better to book gorilla permits for Ruhija sector or the southern sectors of Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Mountain gorilla families in Ruhija sector
Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park has three well habituated mountain gorilla families for tourism. These include Bitukura gorilla family, Oruzogo Gorilla family and Kyaguriro gorilla family which used to be for research. Therefore, there are 24 mountain gorilla permits that are available to sell out on a daily basis.
Bitukura Gorilla Family
The Bitukura family is found in the Ruhija sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park with over 14 family members and it was named after a river that bears the same name where it was first sighted. Its habituation process started in July 2007 and it was fully opened for tourism in October 2008. Bitukura family took only 15 months for habituation process which is unbelievable because normally the habituation process lasts for at least 2 years but since this family used to stay with Kyaguriro family which was already habituated for tourism and visitors used to visit it that made Bitukura family to regularly see people and made its habituation process so easy.
The Bitukura family had 24 members and later they reduced to only 14 individuals. However, this happened peacefully, where the second youngest silverback called Ndahura is the leader after succeeding Silverback called Karamuzi who stayed over 40 years and is now retired.
Oruzogo Gorilla Family
The Oruzogo family is the second family to be habituated in the Ruhija trekking sector. The family is consist of 23 members and led by Silverback called Tibirikwata. This family was opened for tourism mid-2011 and since then, it has experienced a growth due to members giving births to new members. Ntamurungi the female adult of the family gave birth to a baby in June 2011 and also Musi gave birth in October 2011. Later they received twins in March 2012 that were produced by Kakoba. Other individuals in this family include; Kaganga (“the giant one”) Busungu (which means “short tempered”), and Bwoba (“the coward”).
Kyaguliro Gorilla Family
Kyaguliro family is the third family with 20 members to be habituated. The habituation process of Kyaguliro started as early as 1995 but no gorilla permit for this family was ever officially sold out for tourism because the family was set apart strictly for research studies by the German Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. Kyaguliro family was for long led by Silverback called Rukina who on the fateful date of 7th /April/ 2015 lost his life due to lightning that struck him dead which left his family under the control of Mukiza who was so an un experienced young fellow but his leadership short lived when the Rukara a fully grown Silverback from the Bitukura family invaded the family and take over the leadership. Later Kyaguliro family split into 2 families that is Kyaguliro A – led by Rukara, and Kyaguliro B – led by Mukiza this in May 2016. Kyaguliro A which is led by silverback called Rukara is made up of 10 members, these include 01 silverback, 03 adult females, 02 black backs, 02 infant gorillas and 02 juveniles. Then, Kyaguliro B which was led by Mukiza also has about 10 family members with 01 silverback, 04 adult females, 01 black back, and 04 infant gorillas.
Nkuringo mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
Nkuringo trekking sector is one of the four sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. It is has one mountain gorilla family called Nkuringo gorilla family, which gives an outstanding mountain gorilla trekking experience to its visitors. It is found in the southern part, deep thick and high part of Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park. The Nkuringo mountain gorilla family that is found in Nkuringo mountain gorilla trekking sector was named after the ‘rolling hills’ where the Family was first seen.
The Nkuringo gorilla family has a number of 19 members, this family before its habituation for tourism used to move around the villages of Nkuringo and its members used to destroy people’s crops, so the park management decided to habituate for tourism such that the local people of Nkurungo can benefit from the mountain Gorillas. This family firstly was led by the silverback called Nkuringo who later died in 2008 and later was succeeded by Safari and Rufiki the silverbacks. Fortunately the same year, this family received a set of twins from Kwitonda the adult female in the family and they were named Muhozii and Katungi which made the family to expand more however one twin called Katungi died before turning 2 years.
Besides mountain gorilla trekking, Nkuringo sector is the best place for nature walk since it is surrounded by local communities, these people have the first hand information about the forest and the mountain gorillas since they leave with them and near the forest. Also you can decied to go for a guided forest walk with the best trail from Buhoma side to the Nkuringo which is rewarding and will offer you an opportunity to discover more wildlife species such as bird species and primates that are living in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. While in Nkuringo sector, it is very easy to walk to Lake Mutanda which is one of the best Lake in the region for canoeing and breathtaking views of the park, Rwanda and Tanzania. It is very easy to connect from Nkuringo sector to Mgahinga national park for golden monkey tracking, Batwa cultural trail, Mount Sabinyo hiking or you can decide to do double mountain gorilla trekking.
The other most important thing about Nkuringo gorilla sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national, it can be trekked by people from Rwanda and Uganda. It is strategically close to Rwanda and Kigali city more than Uganda if driving from Kampala city or Entebbe international airport. When driving from Kigali city or Airport, it takes approximately 5-6 hours while driving from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala city it takes over 8-10 hours on the road.
Mountain gorilla families at Nkuringo sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Nkuringo trekking sector has one mountain gorilla family called Nkuringo family with over 19 members and led by 2 silverbacks. The habituation process of this family was completed in 2004 and it was opened it for tourism. The word Nkuringo means “round hill” in the Rukiga language, talk about to the hill where the family was first spotted. Before it was habituated, it used to be a very big problem to the local communities where it used to move around out the park because they used destroy crops and banana plantations of the communities and habituating it was a way making locals benefiting directly benefit from tourism and protected gorillas from invading their gardens at the same time to stop human wildlife conflict.
Rushaga Mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
Rushaga gorilla sector is also found in southern the part of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the park that is known in the history of mountain gorilla trekking tourism for protecting the biggest number of the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa. Mountain gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo in the entire world. Rushaga sector is one of the sectors with the biggest number of well habituated mountain gorilla families for tourism. Rushaga sector was established for gorilla tourism in 2009 and it is very known to have the largest number of habituated gorilla families. Rushaga sector has five mountain gorilla families. These include Nshongi family, Kahungye family, Mishaya family, Bweza family, Busingye family and two other families are still under habituation process which take about 2 years for the gorillas to be opened for tourism and other research studies.
Mishaya mountain gorilla family
The Mishaya family is found in the Mishaya region park, it is made of 12 members led by 1 Silverback called Mishaya. Initially this family was part of Nshongi family but later it seceded a way with seven members but it kept on expanding up to currently 12 members. The silverback of this family “Mishaya” is a great fighter and managed to lead the family through many battles and he acquire more members from other families.
Nshongi mountain gorilla family
This family was once a united family with Bweza family but because of the disputes in the family, they split up and made their independent family under the leadership of Silverback called Kakono and he went away with 12 members and then Nshongi remained with 6 members. The Nshongi family was named after Nshongi River where it was first seen. This family has 1 Silverback, 3 adult females, 1 juvenile, 1 sub-adult, and 1 infant. This family was formally opened up for mountain gorilla trekking tourism in 2010.
Bweza mountain gorilla family
Bweza family seceded from the Nshongi family with 12 members under the leadership of Silverback called Kakono after challenging the leadership of Bweza Silverback in Nshongi group and at the end of 2012 he had formed a new family. This family is made of 2 Silverbacks, 3 adult females, 4 blackbacks, 1 sub-adult and two infants.
Kahungye family got its name from the name of the place where it lives, a hill that is found in the southern part of the park. In the past, this family was made of 27 members but later it split and remained with 13 members lead by silverback called Gwigi. Kahungye family was opened up for tourism in 2011.
Busingye gorilla family
The Businye family was once part of Kahungye and later broke away in 2012 under the leadership of the silverback called Busingye and it is still the dominant silverback. Busingye went away with 7 members but later they increased to 9 because of his latest conquests from another family.
Kutu gorilla family
Kutu gorilla family is also found in the Rushaga gorilla trekking Sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. It presently has 8 members dominated by 1 silverback. This family was formerly available for mountain gorilla habituation experience which is only done in the Rushaga sector. It was finally opened for gorilla trekking tourism.
Mucugunzi gorilla family
Mucunguzi gorilla family is found in Rushaga trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park with 8 members and it derived its name from its silverback called Mucunguzi. Mucunguzi is a word in a local tribe around the park which means “Savior”. Mucunguzi the silverback was the youngest silverback and third in the hierarchy of Bweza family but because of his leadership ambitions, he sparked off a serious in fight with a dominant silverback in Bweza family but was badly defeated and even chased out of the family that made it to start living a solitary life. Later Mucunguzi attacked Bikingi family where he managed to take away some of the members mostly female and formed a new family which is now called Mucunguzi gorilla family. Mucunguzi gorilla family is currently made of 8 members and dominated by female members.
Bikingi Gorilla Family
Bikingi family is not yet open for tourism still under habituation process which takes between two to three years where the family is only met by researchers every day as they observe the behaviors of the individual family member. During habituation process, it is when the family and family members are given names and get used to the presence of humans. Bikingi family is expected to have 16 individuals which is quite a good number and fourteen members were seen on the day. It is led by a silverback called Bikingi, at first Bikingi was not friendly with the presence of humans but with continued visits, there is a strong hope that he will get used to them. Then other members stayed calm which showed the signs of friendship.
Why one is advised to trek mountain gorillas in Rushaga trekking sector?
When you choose to do mountain gorilla trekking in Rushaga trekking sector, you have an opportunity to view several volcanic mountains at a far distance but with the best views such as Mount Virunga, Muhavura and Gahinga.
While driving to Rushaga sector, you will be excited with an amazing experience of the topography of the area which is made up of the hills, valleys and forests, besides you will get to enjoy the beauty of Kisoro region that is well known as the Switzerland of Uganda.
Rushaga sector has different lodges that are fully owned by the local community members around the park unlike other regions where most of the lodges are owned by foreign investors. When you do mountain gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector, we would recommend you to stay at Rushaga Gorilla camp, Gorilla safari lodge, Rushaga gorilla havens lodge, Nshongi Gorilla camp among others. This will give you a chance to be directly contributing to the development of the local communities around the lodge.
Bird watching in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is on the list of the Uganda’s top birding spots and should not miss on every birder’s itinerary in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park was nominated as Africa’s leading birding spot by Africa Bird Club. The park provides some of the best montane-forest (mountain-forest) bird watching in Africa and it is the best national park to visit for birding when you have limited time in Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to over 350 bird species that include 14 species which are not recorded nowhere else in Uganda, 23 species which are 90% Albertine Rift endemics including Blue-headed sunbird and Neumann’s warbler and some species which are migratory and mostly in April and November. Bird watching in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be done all year-round however, March and September is the best timing.
Where to go for Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.
Bird watching at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is mainly done in the Mubwindi Swamp in Ruhija sector. This is the Neck stretch of forest that joins Ruhija sector to the Buhoma sector and the Buhoma area especially on the waterfall trail. The main birding trails are the Mubwindi Swamp, the Bamboo Zone trails in Ruhija sector and the Waterfall trail in Buhoma sector. Many of the rare Albertine endemics in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are found in Ruhija section.
The list of bird species in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include;
Pink-footed Puff back, Waller’s Starling, Jameson’s Antpecker, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Crested Guinea fowl, White-headed Saw-wing, Grey Crowned Crane African Olive-pigeon, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Ruwenzori Batis, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Snowy-crowned Robin-chat, White-throated Greenbul, Cape Wagtail, African Paradise flycatcher, Yellow-fronted Canary, Mountain Wagtail, Dusky Twin spot, Archer’s Robin-chat, Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Lühder’s Bush-shrike, Tambourine dove, Blue Spotted wood dove, Helmeted guinea fowl, Handsome francolin, Sooty Falcon, African Goshawk, African Wood-owl, Great Blue Turaco, Double-toothed Barbet, African Pygmy-kingfisher, Yellow-whiskered, Elliot’s Woodpecker, African Dusky Flycatcher, African Flycatcher-chat, Black Bee-eater, Ross’s Turaco Angolan Swallow, African Broadbill, Grey-cheeked Hornbill, African Hill-babbler, White-eyed Slaty-flycatcher, African Citril and Doherty’s Bush-shrike etc.
The Batwa cultural experience.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to a variety of fantastic flora and fauna, including the world’s most endangered animal and bird species, some unusual plants and other rare creatures. Besides wildlife species, the forest was also home to the Batwa pygmy people. These native people were the original occupants of the forest and referred themselves as the ‘keepers of the forest’. In 1992, the lives of the Batwa dramatically changed forever, when the Bwindi forest was gazetted as a National park mostly to protect the endangered mountain gorillas which were getting extinct due to intensive deforestation of the forest and poaching. The Batwa people were looked at as Mountain Gorilla poachers and eaters but this was wrong because these people co-existed with the Mountain gorillas and other creatures in the forest very many years before Bwindi forest was gazetted as a national park. When Bwindi forest was gazetted a national park, the Batwa people were evicted from the forest park for the proper management which made them to become refugees in a world that was very unfamiliar to them. Their lifestyle, skills and means of subsistence were not used to the modern environment and this was the beginning for their suffering.
Some anthropologists who made research about the Pygmy tribes said that most of them such as the Batwa/the Twa have lived for more than 60,000 years in the equatorial forests and their culture was described as the oldest in the world. The Batwa lived a lifestyle of collecting fruit and plant, hunting small games and collecting bee honey in the forest using simple tools like bows and arrows, this was purposely for food and medical. Batwa people maintained their harmonious life in the forests by avoiding all categories of activities that would lead to the distraction of their home (The forest) and other forest creatures such as charcoal burning, practicing farming, or deforestation, not even the shelters they had could destroy the environment.
In 2001, the Batwa tribe was on the edge of extinction due to bad standards of living and being isolated but before this happened, American medical missionaries lead by Dr Scott and Carol Kellermanns came to their rescue. They bought land around Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and established programs that were targeted to improve their standards of living these included; the building of good and permanents houses, a school, high standard hospital, clean water, sanitation projects and sensitized about ways that they could generate income and sustain themselves. All these projects are managed and operated under the Batwa Development Program (BDP) which works closely with the Batwa community to try to ensure that their indigenous rights are valued and also benefit from the forest being a national park and tourist attraction.
The Batwa cultural experience project was created by the Batwa pygmies to educate their children and to share their incredible traditions and heritages with the world. Indeed spending a day with the Batwa people gives an unforgettable cultural experience and you will have the opportunity for the Batwa people to take you through their original untouched culture.
The day Batwa cultural experience includes;
It starts with hike in the forest with the Batwa people while elaborating to you how they used to serve happily in the forest before they were evicted. During the forest hike, you will have a Batwa guide who will give you much firsthand information about the forest and its habitants through their eyes.
Take you through how they used live, hunt, gathering food and treating themselves in the traditional manner without the use of any modern technology. You will try out some hunting skills as the Batwa teach you how to shoot with a bow and arrow.
Visiting the traditional Batwa homestead and elaborate to you how women prepare, cook and serve a meal.
Meet the herbal medicine doctors of the community and teach you about the medicinal properties of the forest flora and how to mix them to heal any kind of disease. Hear ancient legends and traditional songs.
They will also show you how they lived in trees, huts made of grass, caves and the use of tree-houses. The community entertainment groups will entertain you with their traditional cultural entertainments and later visit craft shops for souvenir shopping and buying souvenirs from the Batwa craft shops is one way helping to improve their standards of living and economic empowerment.
Mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is the process where the wild mountain gorillas are prepared to get used to the presence of humans. In Uganda, mountain gorilla habituation is only done in Rushaga trekking sector in the southern region of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain gorilla habituation experience was introduced in Bwindi impenetrable on 1st January 2014 and it was introduced mainly to provide an exclusive experience to visitors who wish to spend much time with mountain gorillas than just mountain gorilla trekking where you are only allowed to spend only one hour with mountain gorillas.
For those who intent to spend much time with mountain gorillas, mountain gorilla habituation is the best option compared to mountain gorilla trekking which is restricted to only one hour. The forest walk while looking for the Mountain gorillas can take up-to three quarters of the day however, the real time spent with the mountain gorillas for observation, asking questions and photography is only one hour. But mountain gorilla habituation experience visitors have a maximum of four hours to stay with the mountain gorilla family that is under habituation process with researchers who habituate gorillas. This gives you an opportunity to watch how mountain gorillas are trained to get used to the presence of humans and how they behave when they are still fully wild. The Cost for a Permit for the mountain gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is 1,500 USD, 800 USD more than the trekking permit. Only 4 Visitors are allowed to meet each family under habituation process per day compared to 8 visitors that are allowed for the normal mountain gorilla trekking.
Guided nature walks and Hiking
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the national parks in Africa with great biodiversity which enables the park to provide several tourism activities to the visitors. Bwindi impenetrable gorilla park has several well established nature walk trails which allow visitors to have astonishing forest experience. During your guided forest nature walk at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, there are a variety of wildlife species that you may encounter such as many bird species, butterflies, other primates like Black and White colobus monkeys, Chimpanzees, Vervet monkeys etc, different tree species and other mammals like Bush pigs, Forest Elephants and Bushbucks. Some of the best trail for guided forest nature walk are Buhoma to Nkuringo, Nkuringo to Lake Mutanda and Nkuringo to Kisoro. All these trails go through very amazing sceneries and provides opportunities to associate with the locals.
Mountain biking is one of the more enjoyable activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park which can be arranged through your lodge or local tour operator. Mountain biking is one of the best activities to do before or after mountain gorilla trekking that will let you explore the surrounding areas of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The “Ride 4 a woman” the project hires mountain bikes to the tourists in the Buhoma sector.
Village Walks and Cultural;
Besides the Batwa trail experience, there are other tribes like the Bakiga tribes who offers unique cultural experiences on the edges of the forest. Visitors can visit one of the surrounding tribes around the park to learn about their culture, economic activities and how they do most of their home and economic activities without using modern technology. The visit to local communities around the park such as The Bakiga community will let you explore more of their cultural practices such as; unique cultural dances, ways of doing things, teach you how to weave, seeing their traditional doctors and blacksmiths make local beer and cook local dishes. You could also visit the local schools and community hospitals or arrange to donate some items to the community like sewing machines, scholastic materials to children, water tanks to the community hospital and other essentials. It is very important to move with a local community guide because they are more knowledgeable about the communities and they will help you to interpret for you because some communities are not well familiar with English. You can get local guide from the park office, your lodge or tour company such that you can get the right person. You will have opportunities to purchase beautiful local art pieces.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
There is a variety of accommodation places to stay basing on which sector and mountain gorilla family you are to track. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park has four mountain gorilla trekking sectors that is Buhoma sector in the northern part of the Park, Ruhija sector in the eastern, Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector in the southern part of the park with about 19 well habituated mountain gorilla families for tourism and research studies. According to recent mountain gorilla census in 2012, Bwindi impenetrable forest nation park present half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with about 400 mountain gorilla individuals. However, as of today the number is expected to have increased to 1000 mountain gorilla individuals worldwide and over 500 individuals in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda. Mountain gorillas can be seen in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in the southwestern part of Uganda, Volcanoes national park (Parc National Des Volcans) in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DR Congo.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park being the best destination for mountain gorilla trekking tourism in Africa, it has a number of good accommodation facilities in terms of safari lodges that are well designed in a real African style ranging from Camping grounds, Budget / Standard facilities, Midrange / Moderate facilities and Luxury / Upmarket facilities. Therefore, depending on your budget and availability of space, there is a best lodge with en-suite private toilet and bathroom, access to power, Wi-Fi and other standard services as per the gorilla tour package booked with us. Most of the lodges have great views of the park, comfortable and very calm for your stay. Below are some of the lodges / places where to stay in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park for mountain gorilla trekking tour in Uganda.
Where to Stay in Buhoma sector?
The Buhoma trekking sector in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park being the pioneer of mountain gorilla tourism in Uganda, there is a number of good accommodation facilities ranging from Camping grounds, Budget / Standard, Midrange/Moderate, Luxury / Upmarket. Therefore, depending on your travel budget, there is always the best place where you can stay. Apart from camping grounds / lazy tents, all other accommodation places, have good rooms with private toilet and bathroom, ample in room space, Wi-Fi, power access, good restaurants, well stocked bars, gift shops and other standard services that will enable you to have comfortable stay.
Budget accommodation at Buhoma sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Buhoma Community Rest Camp, this was launched in 2014 under the management of the Buhoma community in their umbrella called Buhoma-Mukono Community Development Association (BMCDA). Buhoma community reset camp provides accommodation serves to visitors who are traveling on a low budget. It is positioned few meters away from the main road close to the park information center. Buhoma community rest camp has both well-constructed cottages designed as twin/double cottages, family cottage and single cottages which were made using simple elegance with local materials, as well as a camping grounds for the visitors who love camping.
There is a well-stocked bar with both alcoholic and soft drinks that are sold at an affordable price.
Restaurant which serves both international and local cuisines.
Art and Craft/souvenir shop that is fully stocked with handmade crafts such as woven bags, baskets and local fabrics.
Full night entertainment with dance and drama buy the local people around the park.
When you choose to stay at Buhoma community rest camp, it is very easy to have time to interact with the community members where you will have an experience of great community’s activities such as local bear making, making herbal medicine, and cultural dances.
CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp
CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp is budget option offering accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park located on the edge of the park. The lodge has a fabulous view of the park. This camp has a Guest House with over four self-contained rooms and two tents built near the dining area. This camp is situated about 2 km from the main entrance of Buhoma sector with Buhoma Village near to the Batwa village
Bwindi Guest House
Bwindi Guest House is positioned very near to the gate of Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park in Buhoma sector, the place is in the supreme position for enjoying the views of all regions of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Bwindi guest house offers a number of budget / standard self-contained rooms and shared accommodations on full board. The set at Bwindi guest house can accommodate solo visitors, couple, a family or a group of friends. There is open Wi-Fi to all visitors, hot water in all their self-contained rooms & free parking.
Bwindi View Lodge and Camp Site
Bwindi View Lodge and Camp Site Bandas is in the category of budget / standard accommodation although and strategically located overseeing the park. It is very next to the main gate of Buhoma sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Bwindi View Lodge and Camp Site provides accommodation ranging from constructed bandas to camping ground with variety of services.
Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort
Eco Marvel’s gorilla lodge is located between Buhoma and Ruhija sector. It is strategically with access to trek a number of mountain gorilla families in Buhoma sector and Ruhija sector such as Mubare family, Rushegura family, Bitukura family, Habinyanja family, Oruzogo family and Kyaguriro family in both Ruhija and Buhoma sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Mid-range Accommodation at Buhoma sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Buhoma Lodge is one of the best quality property with spectacular and uninterrupted views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park home to the most endangered primates in the world “Mountain Gorilla”. It is situated within the Park with a very short walkable distance to the Buhoma sector meeting point for gorilla trekking. It has a well-stocked bar, dining and spa facilities, offers a cozy with a very comfortable and calm environment to relax. Buhoma lodge owns ten comfortable chalets that are designed in African style using locally sourced materials wherever possible. Each chalet owns a private verandas which allows you to have wonderful views of the park.
Silverback Lodge is perched high above the valley facing the beautiful Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. While at the bar of silverback lodge, bird watching and primate viewing is possible as well as right from the front door of your room, so your evening time won’t be boring. Silverback lodge has a total of 12 rooms which makes it one of largest lodge around the area. It is only a 5-minute walk to the park information office in Buhoma sector.
The Gorilla Resort
The Gorilla resort is a semi luxury facility at Buhoma sector in the Impenetrable Bwindi Forest national park. It made of Cottages and well-furnished en-suite African luxury tents with attractive views of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. The Gorilla Resort offers high quality services with a nice restaurant, bar, dining which are overlooking the park, all the cottages and African tents have an ample space which provides a pleasant stay.
Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp
Lake Kitandara Tented Camp is the best a mid-range camp established in the middle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park with over twenty well-furnished tents having twin / double beds. Each tent has a private toilet and bathroom with both hot and cold water. There are solar powered lights in every tent and each tent has a verandah which is facing the park giving nice views of the park and an opportunity to watch various wildlife species and when it is a day lucky, you may see Mountain gorillas moving around the camp.
Luxury Accommodation at Buhoma sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
Mahogany springs camp
Mahogany Springs offers serenity blended with optimal comfort and a spectacular setting accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. Mahogany Springs is the perfect base from which to begin you mountain gorilla Trekking or Bird watching adventures in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and it is normally visited by a family of Mountain Gorillas. So, your stay at Mahogany springs may give you a chance to see mountain gorillas before others who stayed at the other lodges have seen them.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is found deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park home to the half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwestern Uganda. Sanctuary gorilla forest camp is a perfect home to relax when you have visited Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park for the mountain gorilla trekking tour because of its strategic in the forest. It has a well-stocked bar which features international and locally made drinks, mini spa that offers a wide selection of treatments, Restaurant which serve both international and local cuisines. It has an unequaled view of the park and the closest camp to Kihihi airstrip which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the camp.
Engagi Lodge is one of the modern lodge with a breathtaking setting and stunning views of the park. It has a nice bar the dining room and a large outdoor verandah viewing platform. Engagi Lodge consists of 8 en-suite cottages that are well spaced and hidden in the foliage. Each cottage is either double or twin beds, a bathroom with private flushing toilets and bathrooms with both hot and cold running water.
Where to stay at Ruhija trekking sector
Ruhija trekking sector is found in the eastern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the southwestern Uganda the best national park form mountain gorilla trekking in Africa. Ruhija sector stands at an altitude of 2,350 meters above sea level which makes it one of the coldest sectors of the park. Ruhija trekking sector is home to three well habituated mountain gorilla families that are available for tourism and research studies. These include; Bitukura family, Kyaguriro family and Oruzogo family. Ruhija sector has 24 mountain gorilla trekking permits that are sold out on the daily basis to visitors. Unlike other mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, Ruhija trekking sector offers the most ecotourism mountain gorilla experience because it is less congested due to having few mountain gorilla families.
There are several accommodation properties in Ruhija sector where you can stay depending on your accommodation budget and these include; Rushija Safari Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Broadbill forest camp, Agandi Uganda eco Lodge and Ruhija community rest camp. However, you can stay in Buhoma sector and then do mountain gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector and it is about 2 hours’ drive but the road is bumpy and dirty. Well as you can stay in Kabale town or Bunyonyi and do mountain gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector. Besides mountain gorilla trekking, Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector is very popular for bird watching and nature walks through the forest as you will enjoy to see the various primates mostly the white and black colobus monkeys as they play all over the tree branches in the forest.
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge.
Ruhija Gorilla Lodge welcomes you with its magnificent views of the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which makes a home away from home. In the evening and early morning you will be entertained by stunning melodies of insects, primates and birds plus the surprise visits of monkeys. Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge in Ruhija trekking sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park provides nice self-contained chalet accommodation, well stocked bar, fine dining and a number of indoor and outdoor activities, Free Wi-Fi Internet, Gift Shop with the Best Unique Gifts, DSTV, Tea and Coffee making Facilities, Hair dryer, a mini library with magazines and content about Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and other national parks in Uganda.
Agandi Uganda eco Lodge
Agandi Uganda Eco Lodge is an eco-tourism friendly lodge on the edges of Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. Ruhija trekking sector is one of the four mountain gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in southwestern Uganda. Agandi Uganda Eco Lodge offers typically reinvented Ugandan style accommodation facilities and only made using local materials and arts that will bring you all the relaxation you need.
Mid-range accommodation in Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.
Bakiga Lodge is also an eco-friendly accommodation facility in Ruhija trekking sector which was consulted using only local materials, this was done to limit negative impacts on the environment to Keep Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park beautiful and untouched.
Gorilla Mist Camp
Gorilla Mist Camp is one of the moderate accommodation facilities in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park in Ruhija sector about 15 minutes’ drive from the lodge to the park information center with a number of accommodation cabins with private toilets and bathrooms, Wi-Fi connection, a very nice bar stocked with local and international drinks all facilities to make you feel comfortable are available and accessible by all visitors.
Budget Accommodation at Ruhija mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park
Broadbill Forest Camp
Broadbill Forest Camp was named after the bird called The African Green Broadbill that is found in an Albertine Rift endemic found in Ruhija. Place is best bird watching spot of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park which makes it a paradise to bird lovers. Broadbill Forest camp has four en suite tents that are comfortably furnished, a dining room, a fire place and a bar only 3 km from the park information center which is a walkable distance mostly for people who love morning exercise.
Ruhija Community Rest Camp
The Ruhija Community Rest Camp is located in Ruhija village adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park about 2 km to the park information center. It is the best place to stay when going to trek the Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro families in Ruhija. It is also a home to a variety of bird species which makes it Birders joint with more than seven endemic species of birds along Albertine Rift Valley.
Where to stay at Nkuringo trekking sector
Nkuringo trekking sector is one of the four mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas found in the southern part of the park. It is has one mountain gorilla family called Nkuringo gorilla family, which gives an outstanding mountain gorilla trekking experience to its visitors. There is a number of good accommodation facilities where to stay on Mountain gorilla trekking tour at Nkuringo sector.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge has a beautiful position in the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable gorilla park with eight en-suite cottages each with a spacious bedroom and lounge which are connected by a fireplace to make the rooms warm and cozy in the cool evenings. The main lodge has facilities such as simple library and lounge area, a beautiful botanical garden and a sheltered veranda where you can relax with a cup of tea while having magnificent the views of the park. Meals are prepared using fresh and local produces. It is possible to walk from the lodge to and from the park starting point for the mountain gorilla trekking.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is situated in the South of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with spectacular views over thepark, Virunga Volcanoes and the Great Albertine Rift Valley. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge has 12 hand-crafted cottages that were made in African style using local materials each cottage offering magnificent views of the rainforest.
Gorilla Heights Lodge
Gorilla heights lodge is a luxury / up market facility (5-star hotel) situated in Nkuringo mountain gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. It sits on 12 acres land very next to the trekking trail and crazy views of the park from all angles including the volcanic Mgahinga gorilla national park and Virunga national park of DR Congo, Volcanoes National park of Rwanda and all the seven volcanic mountains of Virunga conservation area. Gorilla heights lodge is made of 15 beautiful cottages, these include 9 standard rooms, 1 family room called silverback and 5 deluxe that was built in modern African style. All rooms are well-fitted with private facilities like; flushing toilets and bathrooms with both hot and cold shower, warmers, Mosquitoes nets, chair, TVs and drier. Each room has sitting areas verandah where you can relax while enjoying the breathtaking view of the Bwindi impenetrable Forest national park, Volcanoes National and Virunga national park.
Where to stay at Rushaga sector?
Rushaga mountain gorilla trekking sector is found in southern part of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the park that is known in the history of mountain gorilla trekking tourism for protecting the biggest number of the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa. Mountain gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo in the entire world. Rushaga trekking sector is one of the sectors with the biggest number of well habituated mountain gorilla families for tourism. Therefore, this attracted many investors to invest their funds in constructing accommodation facilities around Rushaga sector to provide good accommodation services to the increasing number of visitors in Rushaga sector for mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda. Accommodation facilities at Rushaga sector include; Budget / Standard facilities, Mid-range / Moderate facilities, Luxury or up market facilities and some camping grounds.
Nshongi Camp, is strategically located to start your mountain gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park Rushaga trekking sector. The Nshongi Camp is few minutes’ walk to the park information offices of Rushaga trekking sector. Cabins were constructed in African style using Eco-friendly materials and it is locally owned.
Nshongi Camp being surrounded by a forest with a variety of tree species which attracts a lot of bird species where over 315 bird species can be seen around the camp that makes Nshongi camp an ideal home to bird lovers. Besides bird watching, there are higher chances to see monkeys and by chance you may see mountain gorillas before the other visitors who stayed at other facilities.
Icumbi Gorilla Lodge
Ichumbi gorilla lodge is one of the mid-range / Moderate safari lodge which provides nice accommodation services in Rushaga mountain gorilla trekking sector in southern sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The word Icumbi is from the local language called Rufumbira which means a cool comfortable home. Incumbi Gorilla Lodge is located in a walkable distance to the Rushaga sector.
Icumbi gorilla lodge has 9 self-contained cottages and 4 standard / budget rooms with comfortable bedding. All cottages are well-furnished using local beautiful materials from the local community that are handmade. Icumbi Gorilla Lodge cottages and standard rooms varies; from single rooms, double/twin rooms, and triple rooms meaning they are in position to serve all kind of visitors. Each cottage has a balcony with outdoor sitting furniture where a visitor can sit and enjoy the spectacular views of the park. Icumbi gorilla lodge provides excellent services with a restaurant that serves all the type of meals both local and international cuisines, free Wi-Fi, parking space, laundry services and business centers.
Rushaga gorilla Camp
Rushaga Gorilla Camp is found in Bugambira on top of a hill at the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park NP. Rushaga gorilla camp provides affordable standard / budget and midrange accommodation services. It is about 10 minutes’ walk to the information center of Rushaga sector in southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. Its location provides a nice views of the national park. The main building of the Camp sits on top of the hill facing Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and this is where its restaurant and a bar are found so, you have your meals as you are enjoying the breathtaking views of the park. All cottages are well-varnished using locally made materials and in African style with private toilets and bathrooms and with both hot and cold water. Every evening a camp fire is lit at the fire place just in front of the main building.
Bwindi Jungle View Lodge
Bwindi jungle view lodge is located near Lake Muhele about 20kilometres from Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in the south western part of Uganda. It’s an ideal place for visitors who want to either trek mountain gorillas from Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park giving exceptional views from the site. The lodge has cottages that were built with local materials such as timbers and the volcanic stones from the virunga volcanoes
The dining of the lodge is overlooking the lake shores of Lake Mulehe so, you will enjoy the fresh breeze while enjoying your meals and drinks.
Chameleon Hill Lodge
Chameleon Hill Lodge is found southwestern part of Uganda between Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are the only two national parks in Uganda where you can find mountain gorillas. The lodge is situated close to the shores of the superb Lake Mutanda making the best place to stay on your mountain gorilla trekking tour to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Chameleon Hill Lodge has a magnificent views of the virunga volcanoes, Hills and Lake Mutanda.
Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge
Rushaga Gorilla safari Lodge is a luxury facility tucked away at the borderline of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park a home to the biggest population of the world’s most endangered primates “mountain gorilla”. Rushaga gorilla safari lodge has eight en suite spacious and luxurious cottages with separate verandah on each cottage which allows the visitor to have excellent views of the park. If you are coming to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park for mountain gorilla in Rushaga sector, Rushaga gorilla safari lodge is the lodge to stay for luxury / up market visitors.
Mountain gorilla trekking Safety and Precaution
Mountain gorillas are gentle giants and in essence creatures. They are very less aggressive toward each other and their overall atmosphere is enormously peaceful. However, there is always likely to be a threat when you are get so close to the wildlife animals, but these risks can be handled by exercising caution and safety measures and following park rules and regulations.
- Keep a safe distance from primates.
- Do not visit mountain gorillas when you are ill with an infectious disease like TB, flue and cough.
- Human waste must be buried 30cm deep.
- Do not use flash photography in presence of mountain gorillas.
- If the animal try to approach you, back away slowly.
- In the forest, use only trails or paths designated. Never block the animal’s path.
- If a gorilla charges follow the example of the guide – squat down slowly and do not look directly in the eyes of a mountain gorilla.
- Don’t make any quick movements.
What to pack for a mountain gorilla tour in Uganda?
Since porters are affordable, you can pack all the recommended items for your mountain gorilla tour in Uganda minus worrying about how you will carry them.
The list of what we would recommend you to pack for a mountain gorilla trekking tour in Uganda:
- Hiking shoes or boots (These are good because they have better grip and support your ankles on hilly terrain and slippery ground)
- Waterproof trousers and jackets. This is because it is expected to rain at any time of the day and even if it does not rain, the vegetation is normally wet. So, wearing waterproof jackets and trousers means you cannot be inconvenienced by the weather and kneel to get gorilla photos.
- Long-sleeved shirt (to protect you from tree branches, insects and sun)
- Long socks to tuck long trousers into
- Sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen
- Gloves to grip the vegetation
- Camera equipment (Extra battery, chargers and camera covers)
- A walking stick. We highly recommend you taking up the offer of a walking stick. Sometimes the lodge provides them or the guide may get for you one.
- Carry enough water. Your driver will give you enough water to carry
- Tips for your rangers, driver, waiters and waitress and porter
- Carry your mountain gorilla trekking permit and is the most important because without a permit you cannot be allowed to encounter mountain gorillas
- Carry your passport (or anything identifying you).
- A tin of Insect repellent
- Snacks (keep the wrappings in your backpack, but it is not recommended to eat in the presence of mountain gorillas and litter the park)
- Eco-friendly tissue/ toilet paper/wipes
- Packed lunch