Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the western Rift Valley. It comprises 331 square kilometers of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest and is accessible only on foot. This is regarded to be one of the most biologically forest in Africa, largely due to its antiquity and an altitude range of between 1,160 and 2,607m above sea level. Bwindi is a true rain forest, spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys that form the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley. The National park has an average rain fall of 1,500mm, and it is a vital catchments area, the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Albert. Tourism to Bwindi focuses on Gorilla tracking at two locations, Buhoma and recently established location at Nkuringo. More than half of the World’s mountain Gorilla population is resident in Bwindi. An estimated 320 individuals living in 15 troops.
Bwindi National Park harbors at least 120 mammal species more than any national park in Uganda. The list consists mainly of small mammals such as Rodents and Bats, to over 11 types of primates including the healthy chimpanzee population , Red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus monkeys and Olive baboon. A total of 350 bird species have been recorded in Bwindi. Of particular interest to birders are 23 species endemic to the Albertine Rift, and at least 14 species recorded nowhere else in Uganda, among them the African green broadbill, white-tailed blue flycatcher, brown necked parrot and frazers eagle owl. In addition to its extensive bird checklist, Bwindi is also a home to at least 200 butterfly species, including eight Albertine Rift Endemics.
Natural Walks in Bwindi National Park
Bwindi is widely thought to support the greatest diversity of any East African forest, and the Buhoma area has more to offer than Gorilla tracking. Five different trails, ranging from 30 minutes to eight hours lead from Buhoma offering the opportunity to enjoy the humility of the forest and several different monkey species. For birders, over 190 bird species have been recorded in the Buhoma area.
The Munyanga River trail; This lies outside the national park and so no guide is needed. It is an ideal short walk for visitors with little time. Here you can see birds and primates of the forest edge. The waterfall trail; this provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, epithytic ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colorful array of butterflies. This trail which leads to 3 delight crystal waterfalls typifies your impression of a tropical rainforest. Muzubijiro Loop Trail; This trail offers breath taking views of Bwindi Forest, Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way you witness hundreds of pre historic tree ferns. The top of this trail is a great place for picnic lunch. The Rushura Trail; this trail take about 3 hours and offers good views across the western rift valley floor. To the west, Congo’s Parc Nationale des Virungas provides spectacular backdrop and on clear days like Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Bwindi forest can be accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the northern just 2 to 3 hours drive, from Kampala through Mbarara about 6 to 8 hours drive or from Kabale town to the southern just 1 to 2 hours. These roads then converge at Butogota, just 17 kilometers from the Buhoma entrance-gate. A 4×4 vehicle is needed through the rainy months. A daily bus service leaves Kampala for Butogota via Rukungiri and Kihiihi.
Travelers can choose to fly from Entebbe or from Kampala at Kajansi airfield to the up to date tarmac airstrip found at Kisoro. Additionally Planes may as well be chartered to the Savannah or the grass Kayonza airstrips.
Bwindi is actually well served by 3 airfields at Kihiihi plus Kayonza for the northern area in addition to Nyakabande found in Kisoro for people going to track mountain gorillas within the southern area (Mishaya, Nshongi plus Nkuringo).
Bwindi is located in the south-western part of Uganda with approximately 7 h 35 min (463.7 Km) via Masaka Road. from Kampala .The easiest means of transport to Bwindi is by road.
The following is accommodation available within or near the park:
- Mantana is a high end camping site located on periphery of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest approximately 4kms from the National Park.
- Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp is new camp consists of self contained standing tents on plot situated immediately outside the park entrance.
- Buhoma Community Bandas and Campsite is an attractive complex set in wooded grounds in a slope facing a forest gallery immediately inside the park entrance gate.
- Gorilla Resort- Bwindi is a high end safari camp with a breath taking view of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest located at Buhoma Bwindi Impenetrable Gorilla National Park on a Mountain side.
- Mantana Luxury Tented Camps: they are about 1 km outside the park boundary, faces a steep forested hill rustling with bird life.
- Bwindi Travellers Motel Butogota: Located in the middle of Bugotota trading center 15 kms for bwindi Park HQS.
- Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite: located in a beautiful swath of the world renowned Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
- Bird Nest Bunyonyi Resort, Kabale is 14.0 miles from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.