Do you love nature? Is hiking one of your treasured adventures? Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers you with yet another tremendous adventure that will help you extend your stay during a gorilla safari in the misty hills of South-Western Uganda. Besides tracking the rare mountain gorillas, you can also engage in hiking experiences in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park.
Bwindi’s Hiking trails are one of the most famous areas of interest for most of the hikers, birders and nature lovers. Bwindi offers you a great opportunity to discover its jungles through various trail-heads, the choice is yours but you can take one or two and you will be able to penetrable into Uganda’s prominent and ancient tropical rain forest. It was once a home to the Batwa pygmies but today, it is one of the diverse protected areas in terms of wildlife. Despite spending centuries in this jungle, the Batwa pygmies didn’t leave any harm on the forest’s ecology; some thing that is certainly described as incredible!
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park extends to over 331 square kilometers and it is UNESCO heritage site. Bwindi’s biodiversity is undoubtedly the most sought after in Uganda-East Africa, popularly inhabiting the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas; forest birds, plant species, reptiles, butterflies, mammals and numerous primates that can you think about. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is proud of being a home to Eastern chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoests Guenon, Baboons, Vervet monkeys, Red tailed Guenon, nocturnal prosimians, Forest elephants with hairy bodies, smaller in size, smaller tusks with one additional toe on their foot; small antelopes like Duikers, bush pigs, giant forest hogs as well as countless cats.
Bwindi’s bird species count almost 350, some of which include the African green broadbill and Shelley’s crimson wing, Francolins, Cinnamon chested bee eaters, green tinker bird, mountain and yellow streaked green buls, Mountain masked and Chestnut throated Apalises, Red faced Woodland warbler, White browed Crombec, White tailed fly catcher and Ruwenzori Batis. The park is also composed of 220 butterfly species, 27 forest frogs’ species, Chameleons, Geckos. Hiking through Bwindi, means exploring beyond gorilla trek specifically on wild primates, wildlife, birds and butterflies. Discover what is inside the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest within a day or even beyond from North to South (Nkuringo trailhead) where you will retire for a night and then catch up in the next morning to view the stunning scenic beauty of Lake Mutanda. Below is a list of hiking trailheads to reward you with fantastic nature experiences in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Munyaga River Trail:
Your guided trail in Munyaga will take you through the stunning scenic Bizenga Creek which will connect you up to Munyaga River. It all begins from Buhoma and ends in Munyaga River. This trail is one of the tremendous and rewarding places for birders as it takes you through the rare and endemic bird species in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Visitors spend 1 to 2 hours from hard to simpler levels. Munyaga River Trail is one of the straightforward hikes and it comes with several encounters in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Never miss to hike through the stunning scenic Munyaga River.
Waterfall Trail: The hike starts from Buhoma along River Ivi Nkuringo Trail and ends with a 33 meter plunging waterfalls. Besides, there are several plants, trees, birds, monkeys, scenic beauty of Bwindi and butterflies it is really remarkable experience exploring this trail. Explore in and around Bwindi and have memories. Hiking through this trail takes about 3 hours and more right from hard, moderate levels as you get yourself to Buhoma sector. This is the most famous hikes in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that gives you an opportunity to encounter the local community residents.
Buhoma Nkuringo Trail: This trail takes about 3-4 hours and it crosses the park and links two villages. Buhoma-Nkuringo Trail offers the most stunning view of the fogy hillsides as a tourist climbs towards Nkuringo. You can still leave the luggage in the tour van and then meet the driver at the ending point. Hiking through this trail can also be completed as part of the Ivi River Walk.
The Ivi River Walk: This is a 14 (fourteen) kilometer trail and visitors can spend about 7 hours. The walk will take you passed Mukempunu. The word Mukempunu denotes a “Place of pigs” specifically a place where you can sight numerous wild pigs. It is also the most exceptional route in terms of scenic view for monkeys, butterflies and birds. Your starting point will be Buhoma where you will hike through Nkuringo and spend a night then the next day go for your gorilla trek or continue to Lake Mutanda and Kisoro town.
Rushura Hill Walk:
Rushura Hill is the highest mountain in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The beginning point of the walk is just adjacent the Buhoma park office where you will link to some of the terraced fields and forest. The hill has one of the rarest scenic view points especially across the Western Rift Valley, the Virunga Volcanoes and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The hill stands in an elevation of 1915 meters which requires you to have at least a bottle of water to finish the 3-4 hour walk.
Muzabajiro Loop Trail: This is a 6 kilometer hike through the Rukubira hill which will get you incredible encounter on rare primates and birds as well as enjoy the clear view of the Virunga. The trail takes about 3-4 hours and it is best viewed in wet season. Visitors can as well take up mountain bike.
The Habinyanja also known as Railegh Trail: The hike takes 4-6 hours and takes visitors across the Munyanga River but it has slightly fair steep slopes around Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridge overlooking Buhoma River. There is a lot to enjoy along this trail including the Habinyanja swamp, birds like pel’s fishing owl, African black duck and black bee eaters
Kashasha River Trail:
The trail is 5-6 hours walk through the jungles of Bwindi rainforest which also involves some steeper slopes in the Buhoma and Nkuringo area. Kashasha trail route is 600 meters and visitors enjoy numerous wildlife and birds, plants, flowers, ferns and trees.
The hike forms one of the most incredible view and some times visitors spend 7 hours through Buhoma-Nkuringo route.
As the name suggests, hiking through this trail offers visitors with incredible plants and vegetation range which make about 14 distinct zones in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, till you get into afro montane vegetation. You will also enjoy grass and forest bird species especially at Rwamunyonyi hill which stands at 2607 meters. Also you won’t miss to view the beautiful Lakes like Lake Bunyonyi one of the magical lakes below Mafuga Forest Reserve, Virunga volcanoes, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Tourists spend about 7 hours hiking through this trail.
Mubwindi Swamp Trail:
The trail takes tourists through the majestic tropical rainforest with outstanding scenic viewpoints along the way especially the greenish valleys of Bwindi and then view the Virunga volcano chain. Other likely wildlife to sight include the forest elephants, chimpanzees, bushbucks, monkeys, bush pigs and where possible mountain gorillas. However, hiking through the Mubwindi Swamp should be permitted by Uganda Wildlife Authority staff in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The trail is good for bird watching no wonder many birders flock in the trail.
Hiking through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest require you to be well prepared and properly dressed on recommended clothes, boots or walking shoes to help you hike through the forest. You can as well combine gorilla trekking and hiking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
In conclusion, hiking through the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a special way of exploring the undiscovered biodiversity in the park. Enjoy the unique primates, wildlife, birds, butterflies that are in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.