Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – 10 – Top Things to Do and See
10-Top Tourist Activities in and near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda
Discover the Things to do and See in the Ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A park proclaimed as“the Most Beautiful Place in the World” by CNN Travel. Most importantly to most, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to the most Mountain Gorillas in Africa. Home to most Habituated Gorilla Families that can be visited. It is, without a doubt, the Premier Mountain Gorilla Destination in Africa.
The only Park in Africa Chimpanzees and gorillas coexist in the same park. Home to other Primates, Forest Elephants, and rare Birds not found elsewhere. Foremost, Bwindi Forest National Park is Gorilla Country with over 400 Gorillas that live there and are thriving because of sound Conservation Practices.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is Gorillas and more. Most Visitors do not discover the more to the Park since they focus on Gorilla Trekking.
They miss the Hikes, Climbs, Biking, Birding, intercultural visits, to name a few. The ancient forest offers many things to do and see – Discover that the Forest is not so impenetrable, but a place of Discovery like no other in East Africa.
CNN picked Bwindi Impenetrable Forest if May 2017 as one of Africa’s 5 Best Parks. Lonely Planet Picked Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as one of the most unusual Honeymoon Spots in the World.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of the most visited parks in Uganda – the reason –over half of the mountain gorillas remaining in the world live here – and the good news is that they are thriving and growing in numbers. According to the last Survey – there are 400 Mountain Gorillas plus in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and here is some practical Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Information – Tips – Advice.
Most visitors who come here, come for Gorilla Trekking, there is however much more to this ancient – primeval rainforest – this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One could spend many days on a Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Safari – this is one of the most fantastic places in all of Africa – not to be found elsewhere – Bwindi Forest is unique and has much more to offer than the magnificent Mountain Gorillas
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the oldest Afro-Montane Forests in East Africa. It survived the earth’s shift that created the Albertine Rift that is all around it – It is thought that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest may have been inhabited 370,000 – 400,000 years ago by the Batwa People, the original people of the Rainforest.
Due to its age, one can see plants and trees here, that are not found elsewhere. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a hidden pearl in Uganda awaiting to be discovered by you, though many come here, the focus is gorilla tracking the magic and wonder of the ancient forest are missed. This 128 square mile park has much to offer – there are many activities that one can partake in, fantastic scenery, plants, wildlife, birds, primates, the list is endless.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the most bio-diverse forests in Africa with one of the best ecosystems on the Continent.
Here you can find 160 species of trees, over 100 species of ferns, over 1000 flowering plants, and Afro-montane vegetation that is simply incredible. It is located in southwestern Uganda and some of it along the border with the Democratic Republic – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the source of many rivers, there are pristine creeks, waterfalls, sights beautiful to behold.
The Bwindi Impenetrable forest is at the edge of the Western Rift Valley in the highest part of what is referred to as the Kigezi Highlands. The altitudes of the park range from 1,190 to 2,067 meters, though Bwindi has a tropical climate which can range from 7 degrees Celsius at night to 27 degrees Celsius during the day.
In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest you can find over 120 species of mammals including Forest Elephants (hairier, smaller, smaller tusks, one extra toe on each foot), small antelopes such as Duikers, Bush pigs, Giant Forest Hogs, several small species of Cats.
Primates in abundance beyond Gorillas including Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, De Brazza Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees are found here but are rarely seen. It is estimated that there 300 to 400 of them. They have not been habituated and are seldom seen. They are not tracked here for conservation measures since following them would put more activity into the park aside from Gorilla Trekking.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a Birder’s Paradise with 348 species of birds including the African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimson-wing. Other birds include the Francolin, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Green Tinkerbird, Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Mountain Masked and Chestnut –throated Apalises, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Ruwenzori Batis and White-tailed fly-catcher among others. ,
220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos – there is simply a lot to Discover awaiting you in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Here are the 10 Top Things to Do and See in-near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is broken down into four regional areas. The best known was also the first Area for Gorilla Trekking – Buhoma is in the northern region of the Park, 45-minutes away is Ruhija. In Southern Bwindi Forest there are two areas, Nkuringo and Rushaga. The southern regions are easily accessed from Rwanda and a scenic 4-hour plus drive from Kigali, Rwanda.
1. Gorilla Tracking – the number 1 activity in the Park:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is best known for Gorilla Tracking, that is the reason that most visitors come to this park.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest provides an incredible backdrop for this once in a lifetime adventure. There are four trailheads from which one tracks one of the gorilla families for which we have obtained permits for you.
More Gorilla Families have been habituated for visitors. That means that there are over 100 daily gorilla permits available in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Be sure to wear the right clothing for the trek and bring the things needed.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the best Safe, Secure Park in Africa for Gorilla Trekking – plus the added benefit of lower permit prices.
2. Gorilla Habituation Experience in Rushaga- More Time with Gorillas:
It is only in Uganda that you can be with a Mountain Gorilla Family for 4 hours on a Gorilla Habituation Experience along with researchers in Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest – this fantastic experience – to be with a Mountain Gorilla Family as it is being habituated is a one of a kind experience in Africa.
There are presently two family groups being habituated, meaning that they were becoming used to human contact and will not run away from visitors trekking them.
You can fly into Kigali Rwanda and 4 hours later be in the Rushaga Region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. You have the choice of budget, moderate and upmarket lodging and can stay either in Rushaga or scenic Nkuringo area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Gorilla Habituation – fewer Participants, more time with the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
3. Other Primates you see in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest:
Most often while Gorilla Trekking in the park you will see other primates. Chimpanzees are here, their shrieks might be heard on occasion, but they are rarely seen around Cuckooland Lodge in the Ruhija area of the park. You will most likely see Black and White Colobus Monkeys while trekking Gorillas o hiking in the Forest.
There are no nocturnal Walks in Bwindi Forest at present meaning that you will miss the Nocturnal primates such as the Potto and the various Galago Species unless you see them near your lodge.
You might see L’Hoest’s Monkeys, De Brazza Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys as you trek through the forest. All such sightings enhance your time with the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
The Batwa People – are pygmies and were the first inhabitants of years, they were hunter-gatherers and lived in the forests of Southwest Uganda and beyond. They left a small ecological footprint on the forest and lived in harmony with nature. Conservationists insisted that they were evicted from their traditional home, the Forest. In those days they had no voice, no representation – the existed as squatters, beggars, accused of being drunkards, marijuana smoking, lazy people.
Today various organizations have given them a voice, defended their rights as first people, improved their living conditions, medical care, education, and more.
The Batwa Experience in the Buhoma area and the Buniga Forest Walk, near Southern Bwindi, give you a glimpse into the lives and traditions of the Batwa Pygmies. It also restores a bit of their dignity and keeps their cultural practices alive to be passed on to future generations.
The Hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be one day or the long hike from the north of Bwindi to the South – called Nkuringo- there one can stay overnight and continue the next day down to scenic Lake Mutanda where you paddle across in a wooden dugout and proceed to the town of Kisoro.
This is the most popular hike along two trails of Bwindi – there are however other trails and nature walk, most from easy to moderate in and near the forest that can be explored on foot and require from an hour to all day long.
Hiking through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is always with a guide. The through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Hikes have become more popular over the last few years, especially with those who choose to trek gorillas twice, once in Buhoma and once in the South of the Park.
This Hike incurs daily Park Fees and Guide Fees per person
Not only can you hike through the forest, but there are also many hikes and nature walks in and outside of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that matches various fitness levels.
Trails can be found in Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. Some of the are birding hikes, while others focus on the scenery of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The Hikes and Nature Walks can be added on to your Gorilla Trek or gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Let us know at the time when you plan your safari with us about your hiking plans.
Note: Hiking within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest incurs a daily Park Entrance Fee plus Ranger Guide Fee per person. Hiking Trails outside of the Park have only Guide Fees for the day.
7. Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest:
Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It is one of the prime birding destinations in Africa. There are over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region are found in the forest, and 22 of the 36 endemic species in the area.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has been picked as Africa’s Number One Birding Site where you find many species endemic to the forest.
Now visitors come from far and wide to spot some of Africa’s rarest birds, and at the same time, they can track the Mountain Gorillas, and they enjoy other nearby prime birding spots.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – a top Birding Destination in Africa
Ride 4 a Woman which is a community support group offers mountain bike rentals and guided bike in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the Buhoma area of the park.
You can even do the Village Walk on a bike with a guide. There are Birding Bike Rides, or simply a ride into the Forest such as the Ivy River Trail. The average Bike Ride is 3 hours or longer with much to see along the trail or road.
The guides are all well-trained, some specialize in birding, others in culture but all know Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which they all love and want to conserve.
Please Note: The Buhoma area provides the best Biking Experience. Unfortunately there no organized biking experiences in the other areas of the park. A few lodges have added biking as available activity in the different regions of the park.
Here you have a 3-hour cultural walk through the village – you learn the ways and culture of the people that live in the Buhoma area on the edge of Bwindi Forest. The Village Walk is with a local guide who is friendly and knowledgeable about local culture and customs.
You will see how people make local crafts such as baskets with the most intricate designs – beer made from Bananas, and a distillery that makes the local Waragi Gin from Bananas, meet a traditional healer and learn of what is gathered in the ancient forest and how it is taken and applied to ailments – you will be amazed –
See how the growth of local produce is done and harvested, food preparation over charcoal or open fire, visit a school, and meet the Batwa Pygmy community as they dance for you to name a few. It is undoubtedly a cultural learning experience, and the cost of the walk supports the local community – so a win-win for everyone. (3 hours in length and difficulty level is easy – Location – Buhoma Area) gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Please Note: Each of the 4 Areas of the park has a Village Walk, the Buhoma one is the oldest. The Nkuringo area is a close second, and you can also do a Village Walk in the Rushaga and Ruhija Areas of the Park.
9. Bwindi Community Hospital – one of Uganda’s Best Rural Hospitals:
The Bwindi Community Hospital is located in the Buhoma Area. One reason that this hospital is on the cutting edge of Medical Care is that it is supported in part by donations that Gorilla Trekkers have made.
The Hospital gives excellent care, including Dental and Sight care. The infant mortality rate in the area has been dramatically reduced, and life expectancy significantly increased. The hospital has a great children ward, offers dental care and sight care to the community. It is mostly supported by present and past Gorilla Trekkers to the Park.
Visitors are welcome to come and see them most anytime – the Hospital gives a glimpse of what healthcare can be like for rural Ugandans.
Helpful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Information – Tips – Advice
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the safest National Parks in all of East Africa. There are 4 Parks where you can track Mountain Gorillas, three of them without incident for the past 20 years. Virunga National Park, the oldest park in Africa is located in Eastern Congo where Rebel Groups such as the Mai-Mai, Criminal Gangs such as the Charcoal Gangs have created havoc.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is safe and secure where you cannot even enter into the Park itself without an armed Ranger Escort. Rangers and the Ugandan Military 24/7 monitor the park and activities in it. You do not go on a Gorilla Trek without armed escort.
Bwindi Impenetrable earns more income for Uganda Wildlife Authority than any other park. That permit and the entrance money is used for conservation of the Gorillas and the forest and local communities providing infrastructure for those near the park. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the Crown-Jewel for Uganda Wildlife Authority, and everything is done to protect the park, the mountain Gorillas and visitors that come here from around the world.
Where to stay while visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and gorilla tracking, hiking, biking, cultural walks, birding in the ancient rainforest.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ranges from budget to exclusive luxury lodging. The range of lodges is extensive, especially in the Buhoma Area of the Park.
In recent years added lodges have sprung up in the other areas of the park giving visitors a range of options and selections.
Lodge Rates tend to be higher around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest than other parks in Uganda, on the positive side, lodge rates are lower than in neighboring Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking.
We use Quality Lodges based o feedback from our Clients and our Observations.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with 480 plus Gorillas remains the best place in East Africa for Gorilla Trekking, besides it has more Habituated Gorilla Groups than anywhere else.
Not only can you trek Gorillas on safari here but Bwindi is the only place where you can go on an all-day Gorilla Habituation Experience – spending 4 hours with a gorilla group being habituated.
There are no longer any Discounted Permits. They were discontinued in November of 2017.
Gorilla Trekking – a once in a lifetime experience.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a 9 hour plus drive from Entebbe International Airport. We break that long drive into smaller drives by incorporating different parks and activities.
Fly into Kigali – Rwanda and Trek Gorillas in Uganda – Kigali International Airport is the gateway to Southwest Uganda. A mere 4-hour drive and you are in Rushaga or Nkuringo in the Southern End of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with some of the best Gorilla Trekking in Uganda.
Fly-In Gorilla Safaris: You can also fly from Entebbe to Kihihi and stay in the Buhoma area of the Forest or fly to Kisoro and stay in the southern region of the Forest.
Most of our clients choose to fly into Kigali Rwanda and trek Gorillas in Nkuringo or Rushaga areas of Bwindi Forest which is a mere 4-hour drive from Kigali.
Best Time to visit Bwindi Forest:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a rainforest, and it can rain at any time of the year. Most rainfall is during the night or early in the morning. The sun does come out on most days.
The best time of the year to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest includes the months of January through March, June through October and the last two weeks of December.
Gorilla Trekking takes place rain or shine. There are never cancellations due to inclement weather in the area.
Bwindi Forest is cooler and not like most imagine it to be.
Current Weather for Bwindi Forest Kisoro Area
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest-our Take:
We know Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We have done the activities listed above. We have stayed at various lodges. We know the communities, including the Batwa. The trails are familiar to us as we have taken them.
We also know all about the gorilla families that live here. We regularly visit various groups to see how the treks are. We keep up with the latest updates about Bwindi Forest and the Gentle Giants that live here.
When we write up a safari that takes in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, we know firsthand what are the best things to do and see in this ancient forest.