At Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to over half of the only remaining world’s mountain gorillas, whose encounter and consequent eye contact is the most exciting and poignant wildlife experience in the whole of Africa.
This impenetrable forest is the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. It lies at the edge of the rift valley in southwestern Uganda providing natural habitat to 400 plant species, 120 mammal species, 346 bird species, 202 species of butterflies, 163 tree species, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, among many endangered species.
The park is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Gorilla tracking is the major tourist attraction, with 4 gorilla tracking trailheads and 9 groups of mountain gorilla families.
Only 8 tourists are allowed to track a specific Gorilla group per day. Forest trails in the park lead to various attractions including rivers, waterfalls, swamps and a high level of wildlife concentration.
Registration and briefing at Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga visitor’s receptions commence at 7:30 am with a general briefing conducted at 8 am. And gorilla tracking starts at 8:30 am, lasting from 3 to 8 hours or even a whole day depending on where the gorillas were the left previous day.
Birding is another attraction that provides great opportunities to see several Albertine rift endemics such as the short-tailed warbler. A 6-hour bamboo trail leads to rwamunyonyi peak at 2,607m above sea level, a notable spot for birding. A 3-hour descent to mubwindi swamp could lead a visitor to the endemic and localized African green broadbill.
Other rewarding activities include biking and nature walks.
The Muyanga river trail in the valley below Buhoma provides an ideal short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge.
Waterfall trail leads through one of Uganda’s most pristine tracts of the rainforest passing beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns, and orchids to visit three sparkling waterfalls.
Rushura hill trail provides expansive views across the plains of the western rift valley to the west and Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north.
Muzabajiro loop trail climbs to the summit of Rukubira hill for breathtaking views of Bwindi forest, the western rift valley, and the Virunga volcanoes.
River Ivi trail follows an old road through the beautiful forest emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the forest. It’s highly recommended for bird watchers.
Approximately 600km from Kampala, the park can be reached by road through several directions which include:
- Kampala- Ntungamo- Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma
- Kampala-Kabale- Ruhija- Buhoma.
Visitors can fly from Entebbe to airstrips in Kisoro, Kayonza and Kihihi airstrip.