Bwindi Forest National Park


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home to a thick Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where half of the remaining 1063 mountain gorilla population all live. The presence of these unique apes makes Bwindi Forest National Park Africa’s most sought for mountain gorilla trekking safari destination.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- BINP lies at the rim of the Albertine Rift Valley, Southwestern Uganda. It is located on the hillside of the country consisting of the dense and misty covered Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the very few ancient and biodiverse tropical forests in Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest dates back to over 25000 years and shelters different species of plants of scientific importance.


Bwindi was officially founded as one of Uganda National Parks in 1991 and in 1994, it was declared as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The park extends over a series of steep ridges, valleys covering land area of 321sq.kms with its first gorilla group officially opened for gorilla trekking in 1993.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse park, inhabiting over 120 mammal species including over 459 mountain gorillas. Other special wildlife species in Bwindi include blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, African civets, giant forest pigs, l’hoest monkeys, clawless otters, potters, DeBrazza’s monkeys, buffaloes, baboons, bushbucks, chimpanzees, forest elephants, spectacled and Demidoff’s Galagos, golden cats and more.

Flora: over 160 tree species, 105 flowering plants all make Bwindi a special destination attracting nature lovers and researchers. Abundant floral species in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest make it an important water catchment zone in the area and a major source of water for rivers such as Munyaga, Ivi, Ishasha, Ihihizo, Ntengyere and several streams.


Bwindi Forest National Park supports over 360 bird species. These include several Albertine rift endemic species and resident species. The park’s avifaunal species to identify on birding safari include white tailed fly catcher, white bellied robin chat, white tailed blue monarch, yellow eyed black flycatchers, western bronze napped pigeon, Shelley’s crimson wings, short tailed warblers, western green tinker bird;

Rwenzori batis, yellow whiskered greenbuls, bar headed sunbird, fine banded woodpeckers, bar tailed trogon, black bee-eaters, African green broadbill, black billed turacos, dusky crimson wing, Elliot’s woodpeckers, grauer’s broadbill, handsome francolin, mountain and yellow streaked greenbul, brown necked parrot, Frazer’s eagle owl, archer’s robin chat, Chapin’s flycatchers and more.

Bwindi Forest Safari Activities

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is with no doubt the main reason for most visits to Bwindi. Every year, Bwindi attracts a significant tourist population who come to track to see mountain gorillas in the wild. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi starts early morning and each day, only single gorilla treks are conducted each gorilla group assigned to only 8 tourists.

Gorilla treks in Bwindi begin from any of the 4 main regions that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga. These shelter 20 groups of mountain gorillas already habituated and open for gorilla tourism. 4 gorilla groups reside in Buhoma sector including Katwe, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Mubare gorilla families; Ruhija region has groups such as Kyaguriro, Bitukura, Mukiza and Oruzongo.

Rushaga holds many habituated gorilla groups such as Bweza, Mishaya, Busingye, Mucunguzi, Nshongi, Kutu, Rwigi, Bikingi and Kahungye. Nkuringo consists of only 3 groups of habituated mountain gorillas – Bushaho, Nkuringo and Christmas.

Gorilla permits for Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija all cost USD700 per person (Foreign non-residents). Foreign residents on gorilla tour to Bwindi need USD600 to book a gorilla permit in Uganda and East African citizens shs. 250,000.

Gorilla habituation

Gorilla habituation is a unique experience in Bwindi and it is the only place where it is conducted. Participating in gorilla habituation guarantees you 4 hours of observing the massive mountain gorillas and gorilla habituation permits cost USD1500 per person.

Nature walks

A guided nature walk in Bwindi introduces you to different habitats with expectations to see diversity of birds, primates, butterflies etc. The park has a list of nature/hiking trails including Mubwindi swamp 4-5 hours- an interesting trail that introduces you to a spot with chimpanzees, forest elephants, bush pigs, bushbucks etc; Kashasha river trail, Munyanga fall, Rushura trail, Rusizi river trail an ideal trail with numerous birds, The Buhoma village walk.


Birding in Bwindi allows you to identify a significant number of birds including the Kivu ground thrush, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, bar tailed trogon, African green broadbill, black bee-eater, streaked greenbuls, black billed turacos, visit eagle owl, chestnut throated apalis, mountain masked apalis, rusty faced woodland warblers, bronze napped pigeon, grauer’s broadbill, red faced woodland warblers, red throated alethe, Rwenzori batis, archer’s robin chat, green tinker bird, handsome francolin, purple breasted to mention but a few.

Batwa cultural walk

At Bwindi, visitors enjoy more than mountain gorilla encounters. Gorilla trekking can be combined with cultural visit/experience in the Batwa pygmy community. The Batwa spent thousands of years living harmoniously with wildlife. They are popularly referred to as original forest inhabitants and they lived as hunters and gatherers.

The cultural experience at Batwa community exposes you to unique cultures, traditions, practices, lifestyles of the Batwa pygmies and then later, get the best of their dances, music performances etc.

Biking or cycling

Cycling tours at Batwa is done in the Batwa region in the Northern side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is local community initiative run by Ride 4 a Woman in Buhoma and proceeds are used to enhance the lives of the local residents especially women.

When is the best time of the year to travel to Bwindi?

The dry season is the best time if you plan to visit Bwindi N/Park that is from June to September or December till February. Favorable weather conditions are experienced during these 2 drier phases unlike the wet or rainy season- March to May/October to November that often records heavy rains.


Luxury accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, The Gorilla Resort, Buhoma Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Mahogany Spring Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Silverback Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, etc.

Mid-range accommodation options include Engagi Lodge, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort. Budget lodges include Bakiga Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp.

Getting there

By road: Bwindi is perched right in the far Southwest of Uganda, 9-10 hours’ drive from Kampala. From Kigali, it is possible to access Bwindi for gorilla trekking or any other Uganda safari activity and you will spend about 4-5 hours to drive to the park and it involves border crossing either via Katuna or Chanika.

From Queen Elizabeth National Park, visitors can proceed to Bwindi within 4-5 hours’ drive. From Kibale National Park to Bwindi, it takes about 6 hours to drive. By air: Flights to Bwindi take 2 hours setting off from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip.