Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Safari suitability: 8/10Write a review
Excellent for viewing the mountain gorilla. Due to the physical demands of a gorilla trekking safari, Bwindi is recommended for those who are physically capable of trekking in rough conditions.
What YAS members think
- Mountain gorillas
- Best months to visit are June through August
- Home to several other species of primate
About Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Situated in southwest Uganda and established in 1991, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is roughly 330 km² (128 mi²) and is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Like Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi’s main attraction is the mountain gorilla. It is estimated that around 300 mountain gorillas live in the lush hills within the park. Bwindi is also home to several other species of primate, including the following: Blue Monkey, Black and White Colobus Monkey, baboon, chimpanzee and the Red-tailed Monkey. The park is also a birdwatchers’ paradise, with several hundred species of birds found here and over 200 species of butterfly.
The trek to see the gorillas can take several hours and consists of hiking uphill through dense rain forest foliage such as bamboo and wild celery. Due to the high levels of precipitation, the ground is often wet and slippery and sturdy hiking boots and full-length trousers are strongly recommended.
Due to the primates' susceptibility to human viruses, such as the common cold, gorilla tours are strictly regulated. Guests are permitted only one hour of viewing and are required to remain within a certain distance of them. Visitors who are ill or who are recovering from an illness must not go on safari and, in most cases, will be refunded 100% of their fees when they properly notify their tour operators.
When to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi's seasons are similar to those of Volcanoes, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The months of March, April and November bring heavy rains to the park, which make trekking in the steep hills of Bwindi more difficult, and are the low seasons. Lower-priced trekking permits were once available during these three months only but, in 2019, the discount pricing was discontinued. The drier months of June through August are also the cooler months, which make the trekking slightly less strenuous and the humid climate more tolerable.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a number of plant and tree species with a thick under growth of forest fans and mimlopsis common food for the resident ape mountain gorilla it hosts half population of the worlds mountain gorillas that live in groups of up to 20 members led by a silver back. The brown-eyed furred animals do not live in captivity but rather enjoy the forest. Other animals are present like elephants and mountain duikers, although they are rarely seen.
In August 2019, I had to opportunity to hike into the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Our goal was to find mountain gorillas, however, it wasn't all that we saw. From insects to birds and monkeys to elephants, this forest is full of life. We drove from the rangers head quarters for about 20 mins before we set off on foot. From where we started walking to the forest was about 15 mins, down hill. You can see as your surroundings change around you from dirt and tea plantations to thick dense bush. We walked across a rickety bridge and into the forest. Trackers went out a few hours before us to track the gorillas and about 45 mins into our walk, up very steep mountains, we had a radio call to say that they had found the gorillas and they were staying with them. At this stage, the gorillas were another hour away from where we were. The hike is hard and you definitely require a medium fitness level at least; however, it is worth it when you come down the other side of the mountain and a female gorilla is sitting in the shrubs eating and grooming. This female gorilla then followed us as we walked past and headed down to the others who were a short walk away. The rangers ensure you give the gorillas a good distance so that they do not feel surrounded. I recommend anyone with a passion for wildlife and hiking heads to Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, to see these beautiful animals. It is definitely one of the worlds last truly wild places. With only 800 left in the wild mountain gorillas are a must-see.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is home to the famous mountain gorillas of Uganda. Trekking and finding these amazing and critically endangered great apes is an experience of a lifetime and should be on everyones bucket list. The experience was one of most thrilling, and rewarding activities I have ever done. No one can fully describe the feeling and wonderful moment of first setting your eyes on a wild mountain gorilla. The trekking and walking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest gives you an amazing experience that you can never forget from the moment you enter the forest to the time you encounter the mountain gorillas. The dense cover of the vegetation gives it surprisingly cold temperatures that keep the forest misty. The scenery that the forest offers gives you a breathtaking feeling of the fresh air and makes you feel you are on another planet. Trekking takes place early in the morning and you will be joined by a trekker, porters if need be and a guard from the military. Only 8 people will be in the group and you will trek a certain gorilla family. Trekking can be short (my last trek in August 2018 took 45 minutes), but in the past I have trekked for over 4 hours to see the amazing apes. During the walk you will encounter other primates and, if you're lucky, even chimpanzees! The bird life in the forest is exceptional so take your binoculars! For serious birders, I suggest doing some local birding in the area on a guided trip as the area is home to some very special forest birds of Uganda.
Visit Bwindi National Park. The steep valleys and high ridges of Africa's oldest rain forest have much more than just mountain gorillas. Visit nkuringo, Buhoma, Rushaga, and enjoy the great view of the great giants. I really enjoyed this park a number of times for gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best for the mountain gorilla experience. Encountering these gentle giants is extremely overwhelming as they play and feed.
The gorilla trekking experience is one of most thrilling, lifetime adventure you should include on your lifetime activities. No one can fully describe the feeling and wonderful moment of first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla. I have tracked all the gorilla groups in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a jungle that gives you an amazing experience that you can never forget from the moment you enter the forest to the time you encounter the mountain gorillas. The dense cover of the vegetation covers giving it cold temperatures that keep the forest misty. The scenery that the forest offers gives you a breathtaking feeling of the fresh air and makes you feel you are in another planet on earth. On the the day of tracking we were a group of 8 eight people and each of us was eager to have an encounter with the gorillas. We trekked not long and there we were at close distance with our close relatives the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. We spent an hour just watching our relatives spend their time in their groups eating and grooming one another with the silver back and the head of the family. This was an adventure of a lifetime.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home for the giant African mountain gorillas. A tourist has an 85% to see these endangered spices. It is a memorable experiences watching these primates eating food and pampering their young ones. There are four sections in this park and each section has a number of families. Trekking starts at 8:00am. Gorilla permits go for USD 600 for non foreign residents as at 2017.
I found the trekking in Bwindi to be steeper and slippery than that of Volcanoes. I did like the groups of people I met in Bwindi, but I preferred the guides and the rangers of Rwanda. They seemed a bit more serious. We were unfortunate to be placed with a large group of young Japanese girls who only took selfies of themselves with the gorillas and would cluelessly step in front of other people's lenses when doing so. Even our guide had to tell them to step back several times.
Going on a gorilla trek in a natural UNESCO Heritage site is what makes Bwindi Impenetrable National park a special experience and standing out. Uganda has 12 habituated gorilla families from which you track gorillas from. This has reduced on pressure from clients who in early days would struggle to secure a permit for the trek. Gorilla trek in Bwindi can be done from any of the four locations: Buhoma (norther side), Ruhija (eastern side), Nhsongi & Nkuringo (southern side), with each starting point giving you different scenic experiences. You can get the best gorilla photo moments during the wet season of April, May & Nov 2013 when gorilla permits are discounted to $450. You save on $150 from the current price of $600. Gorilla tracking is a year-round activity, so you can consider your next Africa safari to include gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.
Bwindi was our second gorilla-trekking experience. We also did Volcanoes, Rwanda, a few days earlier. We were in the Ruhija region of Bwindi, which requires some fancy driving skills and a very good Range Rover! The roads were muddy, steep and very tough to navigate. But, because of that, our area was much less crowded than Buhoma. We went by that region and it was full of backpackers and is also so close to a main road, that I was instantly glad we had such a remote location. We stayed at Gorilla Mist Lodge and used All Gorilla Safaris for our trip. The lodge was good and dinners were tasty. It was cold at night, though, and there is no fireplace anywhere at this lodge, not even in the main dining area, so I slept in nearly every layer of clothing I owned! The next day we went to be placed in our groups. A little tip: you can tell them your fitness level so they can put you in a group that has to walk a long way or just a little way to see the gorillas. I did not know this before, but once I saw how they were dividing up the groups, it became clear to me they were organizing us by fitness level! There are rangers out all night long who know where these animals are and this is how they can determine who gets to trek which group. My experience on this trek wasn't as good as in Volcanoes. We were placed in a group that wanted to do a lot of selfies with the gorillas, which I felt was disrespectful. Several times our guide had to tell them to please back away from the gorillas. Also, our silver back was far smaller than the ones we saw in Rwanda. And, our guide in Rwanda rocked! That said, it is worth trekking both regions. Bwindi, in my experience, is far steeper and I enjoyed the remote location of Ruhija.
The following airlines travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
AeroLink Uganda Limited is a domestic airline offering both scheduled and charter flights into Uganda's national parks. From its base at Entebbe International Airport, AeroLink using its Cessna Grand Caravans, offers daily flights into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips), Queen Elizabeth National Park (Kasese and Mweya airstrips), Murchison Falls (Bugungu, Pakuba and Chobe airstrips), Semuliki National Park (Semliki airstrip) and Kidepo Valley National Park (Apoka airstrip). Effective 1st June 2019, in partnership with its sister company Airkenya Express Limited, Aerolink commenced scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to the famous Maasai Mara in Kenya via Kisumu International Airport for Immigration. AeroLink Uganda is affiliated to Airkenya Express in Kenya and Regional Air Services in Tanzania. Visit website
Also flies to:
Based in Kampala, operates scheduled and charter services across eastern and central Africa. Eagle Air is a Private Ltd Company specialising in the provision of Charter and Schedule Air services both within Uganda and around the East & Central Africa Region. Eagle Air was incorporated as an air operator in June 1994. Visit website
Also flies to:
Precision Air is a publicly-listed Tanzanian airline and a leader in providing scheduled flight services to over 10 destinations within and outside Tanzania from its main hub Dar es Salaam. The company operates on the principle that quick, comfortable and reliable service is the best way to serve its customers. Through its customer-focused approach, many have become part of the Precision Air family. Precision Air started with its headquarters in Arusha - the midpoint between the Cape and Cairo, which is the entry point to many of Tanzania's world-renowned landmarks and national parks. The headquarters of Precision Air are now Dar es Salaam, the business complex of the country, which is home to a vast size of traffic travelling within and outside Tanzania. Visit website
Also flies to: