Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular of Uganda’s national parks. It lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. The park is most famous for gorilla trekking, an adventure that is undertaken daily within the impenetrable forest of Bwindi.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops and village walks.
BINP is located in south-western Uganda (0 53’ – 1 08’N; 29 35’ – 29 50’E), and covers parts of Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. On the west, the park is bordered by Parc Nationale des Virunga of Congo (DRC).
The popular Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest is true African Jungle. It is so called because the dense undergrowth, vines and other vegetation make it almost ‘impenetrable’. It’s mysterious and awesome. The lowland rainforest and montane forest vegetation constantly struggles to reach heights that will allow it to receive more light. Huge trees are festooned with creepers and parasitic plants such as mistletoe and orchids. Giant thickets of bamboo thrive in the humid atmosphere and, where sunlight breaks though, the elegant heliconia, or lobster claw, spreads its colourful petals.
Amongst the dense vegetation the Colobus Monkey jumps from branch to branch, chattering its warning to its fellows hidden by the foliage. Chimpanzees, in families of 20 or 30, make the rounds, searching for fruit and edible plants.
It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary, constitute an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.
As you walk among the shadows of the leafy canopy, this rainforest reveals the smells and sounds of Africa, just as it has been for centuries.
Without doubt, your first impression of the dense jungle will be its almost audible silence. Jungle creatures are very, very shy, but, as you pick your way along the trail, through the dense undergrowth, you’ll realise that the jungle is alive. Its thousands of living organisms are discreetly watching and waiting whilst you pass through their protective home and, from time to time, the complete tranquillity will be shattered by a darting forest bird or group of chattering monkeys leaping through the stands of ancient trees, disturbing the secretive residents and setting up a chain reaction. Now, the ever-wary jungle comes to colourful and noisy life for a moment, until silence reigns again.
Here, in Bwindi Impenetrable, your guide will take you along river trails with delightful waterfalls, up steep slopes and into forest clearings in search of an enormous array of reserved, exquisite and exciting jungle creatures who live in this deep forest. A forest : which in itself is a complex and remarkable living organism.
From Kampala, (the Ugandan capital city), Buhoma (the park headquarters) can be accessed through Rukungiri (478kms) or usually, Kabale (526 kms). The Kabale route which takes about 6 hours from Kampala is paved. From Kabale the journey to Buhoma (112kms) via Kanungu and Kanyatoorogo takes 3-4 hours through scenic areas. Or, pass along the eastern edge of the park to Ruhija. This option affords some very magnificent views. Four-wheel drive vehicles are advised especially during the rainy season.
Altitude: 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level.
Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994.
The Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one for research.
Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
Where to Stay
Camping facilities, and a deluxe tented camp is available at Buhoma. Those with camping equipment may camp in the Park .
Abercrombie & Kent has a luxury 4-star tented camp.In the Montana Luxury Tented Camp you will enjoy accommodation in fully furnished Selous tents with verandah, bedroom, dressing room and ensuite shower.
The White Horse Inn is situated in the terraced hills of Kabale, known as the “Switzerland of Africa. Many rooms have private facilities.
African Pearl Safaris; offers comfortable medium range accommodation. The low budget traveller can stay in equally clean Bandas run by the local community.
Visitors to this Park can also be accommodated in Kabale at
In Kabale Town, known as “Switzerland of Africa”, several accommodation facilities are available. These include: 3-star White Horse Inn and Highland Hotel, the Victoria Inn, and the Visitor’s Rest Hotel.. Other medium range facilities include: Visitours, and many others.
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Tel: +256 312 100060
Mobile: +256 772 384965
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Mob: +256 772 753619, +256 777 912448
Tel (UK): +44 (0)20 7190 7728
Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp
Tel +256 312 277304
Mobile: +256 782 399235 / +256 775 887258
Tel: + 256 414 321479
Mobile: + 256 772 502155, +256 772 721479
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp
Tel: +256 414 531 389
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Tel: +256 312 260260/1, +256 414 255992
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Web: www.silverbacklodge.com , www.marasa.net
Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge
Tel: +256 414 346 464/5, +256 312 263823
Tel: +256 414 321552
Mob:+256 701 563437
Mobile: +256 785 790690, +256 772 419238
Mahogany springs camp
Mobile: +256 792 740300/9
Bwindi Guest House
Mobile: +256 785 999112
Bwindi View Bandas
Mobile: +256 738 78437, +256 772 399224
Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort
In Kitahurira, close to Buhoma and Ruhija. Suitable for those tracking the Oruzogo and Habinyanja gorilla families
Mobile: +256 792 345000
Gorilla Friends Lodge
Mobile: +256 782 822043, +256 774 836371
Jungle View Lodge
Mobile: +256 772 549088
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Tel: +256 414 501866
Mobile: +256 772 657700
Nkuringo Gorilla Camp
Tel: +256 774 805580, +256 792 805580
Mobile: +256 774 231913
Nyundo Valley Hill Bandas
Contact via Pearls of Uganda:
Mobile: +256 772 930304, +256 772 657700
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge
Tel: +256 414 503065
Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp
Mob: +256 772 563577, +256 774 959477, +256 754 315151
Trekkers Tavern cottages
Mob: +256 772 455423
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Gift of Nature Lodge
Mobile: +256 756 731767
Ruhija Gorilla Resort
Mobile: +256 756 000598, +256 712 187411, +256 776 000598
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort & Campsite
Tel: +256 772 480885, +256 382 275160, +256 772 874803
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ruhija Community Rest Camp
Mobile: +256 771 846635, +256 772 635142, +256 777 472967
Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp
Tel: +256 392 969222, +256 414 590408
Mobile: +256 755 208775 +256 772 220252
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Gorilla Safari Lodge
Tel: +256 414 345742, +256 392 912673
Mobile: 772 470260, 0712 470260