Bwindi forest national park
The Bwindi forest national park was gazetted in 1991 as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. It is one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa due to its antiquity (it dates to before the Pleistocene ice age, making it over 25,000 years old). Bwindi forest national park is a true rainforest.
In April 1993, the Mubare gorilla group was the first for tourism in Uganda.
The Bwindi forest national park is in the southwest of Uganda on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bwindi forest was gazetted as a reserve in 1932; today, it is a world heritage site by UNESCO for Mountain Gorilla trekking.
This forest range is at an altitude of 1,200m and 2,700m above sea level. The forest covers a series of steep ridges and valleys that form the eastern point of the Albertine rift valley. With annual rainfall on average at 1600mm, that flows in five rivers that flow into Lake Edward as a source since it is a catchment area.
The Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi forest
More than half the world’s wild mountain gorilla population is residents of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Though the focus is mountain gorillas, there are 93 mammal species in this forest, more than any other national park in Uganda except Queen Elizabeth national park.
Although the list of mammals consists of mainly small ones such as rodents and bats, you will find chimpanzees and varieties of monkeys with common viewings of the blue monkey and black-and-white colobus. Occasionally forest elephants appear; there are six species of antelopes, the bushbuck and five types of forest duiker.
For the bird lover, 23 particular species characteristic to the Albertine Rift, with 14 species found nowhere else but the Bwindi forest, among them the African green broadbill, white-tailed blue flycatcher, brown-necked parrot, white-bellied robin chat and Fraser’s eagle owl.
There are also roughly 300 butterfly species.
The gorilla families
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda and is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. There are currently 36 gorilla families in the Bwindi forest, each with its own unique characteristics and history. Some of the most well-known gorilla families include the Mubare, Habinyanja, and Rushegura groups.
In terms of accommodation, there are various options available for visitors to Bwindi forest. These include lodges, camps, and guesthouses located both inside and outside the park. Some popular options include Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, and Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.
It is recommended to book accommodation well in advance, particularly during peak season (June to September and December to February), as availability can be limited. Visitors should also be prepared for the rugged terrain and unpredictable weather conditions in the Bwindi forest, which can make getting around challenging.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi forest national park is in four main sectors, namely Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga, and Nkuringo.
Gorilla tracking in Buhoma will bring you to either one of the gorilla families, Rushegura, Mubare, Katwe, or Habinyanja.
The Ruhija sector is located east, and it has the families Ruhija, Bitukura, and Kyaguriro.
While Rushaga is south of Kahungye, Busingye, Nshongi, Bweeza, Bikingi, and Mishaya.
Nkuringo is in the southwest of Bwindi forest with two families, the Nkuringo and Christmas gorilla families.
When to go
All year round, you can visit the park, although the heavy rains are seen in the months of April, May, June, October, and November.
Private tour operators, public transport and self-drive, are options available.
Where to stay
There is a span of accommodation standards and campsites.
How to get a gorilla permit
Visiting the Gorillas of Uganda requires that you get a tracking permit from the UWA. Send us an email for more details.