Location of the Park
The Bwindi forest national park is located in the southwest of Uganda covering three districts of Kabale, Kanungu and Kisoro just along the Congo border neighboring Virunga national park at the edge of the Albertine rift.
This UNESCO world heritage site is estimated to cover 331 square kilometers of jungle montane and lowland forested area comprising of some of Africa’s riches ecosystems comprising of 120 mammal species, 348 birdlife species, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species to mention but a few.
Number of Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi
With reference to the last concluded census in 2013, the number of mountain gorillas in Bwindi national park was estimated to be 400 gorillas making this gorilla forest to have the highest concentration of mountain gorillas as compared to Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga national park.
How to Get there
By Flight; Bwindi impenetrable gorilla forest can be reached by using a charter flight from Kajansi airfield using Aerolink which does daily chattered flights from either Entebbe or Kajansi a Kampala suburb to Kihihi Airstrip for the northern and eastern region of Bwindi forest and to Kisoro airstrip for the southern region of Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Then a drive of about 1 – 2 hours Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro to bwindi forest lodges.
While driving from Kampala to Bwindi NP to the northern region which is Buhoma, it may take up to 9 hours and 10 hours if one is driving to Nkuringo or Rushaga. One can use the Masaka Mbarara, Ntungamo, kihihi, Butogota and then to Buhoma or From Queen Elizabeth national park one can drive through Mbarara to Bushenyi, follow the ishasha road to Kihihi and then Butogota to Buhoma. For those going to the south, they drive through Kabale to Kisoro to Bwindi NP.
Accommodation and Lodges in Bwindi National Park
Buhoma sector the northern part of Bwindi include; Volcanoes Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Resort, Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Buhoma Community Bandas, for budget travels
Ruhija region has Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Trekkers Tarvan and Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Gorilla friends lodge,
Nkuringa the southern sector has the following lodges Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge, Nkuringo gorilla Camp, and chameleon hill camp and lastly
Rushaga has Gorilla Valley lodge but can share accommodations with Ruhija as they are nearby each other.
Wildlife in the Park:
This is one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa. There exists about one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Gorilla tracking began on 1st April, 1993. Other animals including the Black and white colobus monkey, chimpanzee, elephant, bushbuck, duiker, buffallo, golden cat, civet, bushpig, giant forest hog, black-fronted duiker, clawless otter, genet and many species of bats and rondents.
Bird life in Bwindi is prolific. Most certainly one of the best birding locations in E. Africa. Bwindi specials include Black Billed Turaco, Yellow Eyed Black Flycatcher, Black Bee Eater, Kivu Ground Trush, Grauers Wabler, Bar Tailed Trogon and really too many more to mention. The Ruhija area of Bwindi is home to the Green Broadbill a very rare but ever present bird.
This is the richest forest in Uganda, in terms of the number of plant species, as the area is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and mountain communities merge. The valley bottoms contain a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the impenetrable forest.
Walking trails: Munyaga River, Rushura, Muzabajiro loop and The River Ivi trail will occupy a few hours to a whole day.
Buhoma Village Walk: A guided walking trail starting at the Buhoma Community Rest Camp. Bookings through the Rest Camp. The trail takes in visits to a local bee keeping venture, a Batwa traditional dancing group, a primary school, see banana beer brewing, a medicinal healer, a Butterfly pool and ends at a handicraft site.
Access Bwindi Impenetrable Forest:
It is 108km to the Park Headquarters at Buhoma from Kabale which is 414 km from Kampala. Driving the Kabale-Buhoma road requires at times a 4 Wheel drive vehicle.
All junctions on the road from Kabale to Buhoma are well sign posted (Bwindi National Park). The route takes you 17 km from Kabale on the Kisoro road where you must follow the right fork at the junction at the trading centre which takes you down to and across the floating pontoon where a toll of Ush1,000- is payable to Kabale Council at the barrier
The route continues to Kanungu. At the traffic circle turn left direction Kanyantorogo where again turn left at this traffic circle. All directions are sign posted ‘Bwindi’. Pass Ntumgarmo Tea Factory and through the village of Butogota. A right turn some 15 km from Bwindi which is well sign posted signals your nearly there. There are 2 additional routes.
Route 2 Via Kabale.
At the second junction on the Kisoro road sign posted Bwindi you will arrive at Buhoma via Ruhija. This is the most scenic route. 4 wheel drive is recommended especially during the rain season.
Route 3 via Ntumgamo.
1 km after Ntumgarmo town turn right sign posted Rukungiri. This is an all weather tarmac road that will eventually be completed through to the Ishasha border post. This is the fatsed route if travelling directly from the east. At Rukungiri follow signs for Kanungu where you will pick up the Kabale-Buhoma route at the traffic circle. This is the fastest route to Bwindi from Kampala since the completion of the Ntumgamo-Rukungiri tarmac road.
Gorilla Families in Bwindi
In the different regions of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest there are different habituated gorilla families. In the northern region of Buhoma there are the following groups; Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura. Ruhija region has Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro. Nkuringo section the southern part of comprises of Nkuringo gorilla group while Rushaga in the south as well has Mishaya, Nshongi, Busingye, Bweza and Kahungye . In total. there are 11 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi making it 11 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.