12 Jul Why Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a must when you visit Uganda
Veiled in an atmospheric mist, covering steep peaks and valleys, you will find the ancient rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
As one of only two national parks in Uganda where you can track gorillas, it’s no wonder gorilla tracking is such a popular activity at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. See the huge silverback gorilla emerge from the undergrowth, and listen to the insects and chirping birds, amidst the booming chest beats of the gorillas. A trip through this tropical rainforest is a treat for all your senses, as you experience these enchanting creatures in their natural home while supporting the communities that live alongside the gorillas.
Tourism in this community is really important as it helps to protect the gorillas. By visiting the local lodges, buying crafts, hiring porters and attending cultural experiences, you support both the communities and the gorillas.
But primates are not Bwindi’s only inhabitants, as there are 120 mammals also living here, such as forest elephants and antelope, not to mention the abundance of birds that make this park one of Uganda’s top birding locations.
We highly recommend spending a few days in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, immersing yourself in this jungle, admiring the flora and fauna and learning about the culture.
What To Do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If you’ve set your sights on observing gorillas then you’ve come to the right place. Spending an hour close to these gentle giants is a highlight of the park, if not the whole safari!
Hike through the lush forest as you search for these endangered creatures and spend a magical hour observing them in their natural habitat. This tracking experience is extremely well-organised and can cater for most abilities.
Mountain gorilla tracking has only been made possible thanks to the habituation process, which involves gorillas being gently and carefully introduced to humans for essential research, veterinary treatment and conservation.
The habituation experience is the perfect opportunity for guests to accompany rangers and conservationists as they spend more time with the gorillas and gain a better understanding of their lives.
Support Conservation and Enhance Gorilla Experience
Become further acquainted with the mountain gorillas, by hiring Gorilla Doctors (vets) who can accompany you through the forest. Gorilla Doctors provide emergency care for injured or poorly gorillas and can share their experience and knowledge about their conservation efforts as you track gorillas together. This comes at an extra cost, but your payment supports their work to care for these primates.
For those interested in forest birding, Bwindi is one of Uganda’s best locations. The park is home to over 350 bird species including 23 Albertine Rift endemics and time spent here will be highly productive as well as a great pleasure. Expert bird guides will accompany you and share their knowledge of the local birds.
Hiking Trails and Nature Walks
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park boasts beautiful vistas, just waiting to be explored. There are plenty of hiking trails and nature walks, where you will be accompanied by local guides, who can offer knowledge about the surrounding flora and fauna as you hike through the rainforest.
Some of the most popular trails include Kashasha River Trail (4-5 hours), Muzabajiro Loop Trail (3-4 hours), Bamboo Trail (7 hours), and The Ruizi River Trail (full day) and is one of the best trails for birders. The Munyanga Waterfall Trail is a shorter route.
Cultural Visits with the Batwa Tribe
The Batwa Tribe were the first people to live in the rainforest over 500,000 years ago. Known as the forest keepers, they lived in harmony with the forest and gorillas. But in 1990, they, sadly, had to leave when the forest became a protected area.
As the Batwa adjust to a new way of living, tourism is helping to boost incomes and keep Batwa traditions and culture alive. Visitors can walk the Batwa Trail through the forest for a cultural experience, where they will learn from the Batwa how they lived in the forest: building shelters, hunting, collecting water, starting fires and about the medicinal plants.
We highly recommend checking out other local activities when you stay in Bwindi.
You can visit local organisations and get involved with community-based tourism activities, including conservation projects, local cooking, craft making or visit places like the community hospital which is funded by tourism. Head to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to track golden monkeys or walk through the region known as the Gorilla Highlands to experience authentic community life and admire the gorgeous scenery.
Take a trip to the local lakes such as Lake Mutanda where you can canoe and enjoy a relaxing walk, or go zip lining at Lake Bunyonyi.
There are plenty of places to stay when you visit Bwindi, and we’ll be happy to recommend somewhere that suits your needs and budget. Here are a couple of our favourites:
This wonderful mid-range property is situated on top of the Munyanga River and is surrounded by stunning views of the forest. The comfortable and contemporary interior makes it the perfect place to unwind after a day spent trekking through the rainforest.
Mahogany Springs also has a focus on responsible travel, using local-sourced foods, offering tree-planting or visiting neighbouring community projects like Ride4aWoman, a charity empowering local widows.
Mt Gahinga Lodge
Mt Gahinga Lodge is a luxury property, boasting magnificent views of the Virunga Volcanoes. Recently refurbished, this stunning property offers beautiful private cottages, cosy dining and lounge facilities and mature gardens for relaxing.
It strives to minimise its environmental footprint wherever possible, for example, through solar power, harvesting rainwater, and recycling wastewater, while avoiding single-use plastics.
Book Your Stay Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
From sensational gorilla tracking experiences and spectacular birding safaris to simply immersing yourself in the nature and culture of this wonderful region, Venture Uganda recommends Bwindi Impenetrable national park as a must-see part of your holiday of a lifetime.
Whether you’re travelling with friends and family or as a solo explorer, we can show you the highlights of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for an unforgettable adventure. Get in touch with us to find out more and include this incredible national park in your itinerary.
If you have any further questions, contact us here:
+256 784 824 902 (whatsapp) email@example.com
Download the free Bwindi Impenetrable National Park guide
Plan your trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with our guide to the national park and subscribe to our newsletter for lots of helpful advice on visiting Uganda