Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Uganda’s most popular gorilla trekking destination.
The majority of visitors to Uganda come to see mountain gorillas, and Bwindi is the most open location to do so.
There are numerous gorilla trekking tours available in Bwindi.
There are 11 habituated gorilla groups in the park, as well as some semi-habituated gorilla groups.
Four different trailheads serve as different tourist centers from which gorillas can be monitored in the vast and pristine rainforest.
Nature walks and birdwatching are among the other activities available.
There is also the choice of visiting a Batwa group.
The Batwa people were the original inhabitants of the forest, and when it was gazetted as a national park, they were evicted from their homes.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, part of the vast green swath of rainforest that envelops the Rift Valley mountains shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is one of Africa’s most biologically diverse forests.
And, thankfully, it’s not as difficult to get to as its name implies.
Bwindi is Uganda’s best gorilla trekking destination, as it is home to roughly half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
Professional guides will lead you deep into this teeming environment in search of habituated gorilla families, where you will spend an unforgettable hour with the greatest of the great apes.
The regular success rate of finding Bwindi gorillas is about 95%, demonstrating the positive effect of these conservation efforts.
A Bwindi safari isn’t all about gorillas: there are 11 other primate species and a slew of mammals, from shy forest elephants to massive forest hogs.
The bird watching is fantastic – keep an eye out for any of the 23 endemics among the 350 bird species reported – and even the most experienced of nature lovers will be awestruck by the 200 butterfly species found in Bwindi.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a common stop on most Ugandan safari itineraries, and it’s easy to combine with the country’s savannah reserves like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Bwindi National Park is accessible by road or air. When planning a Bwindi Gorilla trek by land, a 4×4 safari car is recommended to help you navigate the hills.
Driving from Kampala to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park will take approximately 8 to 10 hours.
You can travel from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park in the north for 2 to 3 hours, from Kabale to the south for one to two hours, or from Kampala to Mbarara for one to two hours.
You’ll stop at Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the unusual tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector or at the Equator for some unforgettable photo opportunities.
The Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma sector is one of the easiest and most convenient routes for connecting from Kampala to Rukungiri on a tarmac road and then to Buhoma on a murram road.
There are numerous other options.
You can also take advantage of public transportation, especially the daily buses that run from Kampala to Butogota.
However, you will need to hire a car or a Boda Boda to assist you in getting to the park.
You can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip and then land.
Visitors who choose to visit the Buhoma sector can board charter planes and arrive in Kayonza.
Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Cost
If you are planning to visit Bwindi for gorilla tracking, transport cost is important to consider.
For starters, a Bwindi gorilla permit costs $700, which is significantly less than Rwanda’s $1500 fee.
A portion of the funds from the sale of gorilla licenses is used to fund gorilla conservation and local projects aimed at enhancing the living conditions of park visitors.
Through paying for the permits, you are assisting in the protection of gorillas in Bwindi and giving back to groups such as the Batwa that have been impacted by government gorilla conservation activities and actions.
Bwindi Gorilla permits are in high demand and must be reserved months in advance to ensure availability, particularly if traveling during peak season.
You must also decide which sector you would like to visit.
You’ll need to budget for transportation, lodging, and VISA fees in addition to the gorilla permit.
The overall cost of a gorilla safari in Bwindi is about 1000USD for a budget gorilla safari and between 1400 USD and 1900USD for a luxury gorilla safari.
Gorilla permits are available at the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s offices in Kampala and at the park’s entrance.
It is possible to plan your own gorilla safari and drive to Bwindi in your own vehicle.
However, based on our own experience, we suggest hiring a good tour company to plan your travel, such as Mission Africa Safaris.
Lodging options in Bwindi
In order to go on a gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, you must first choose the right lodging.
There are a variety of high-end and low-cost lodging options available.
The final decision is completely up to you, your preferences, and your budget.
Luxury lodges can cost up to $900, while budget lodges can cost as little as $80.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most well-known hotels and lodges:
Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort and Campsite has rooms for all budgets, including a budget, midrange, and luxury.
Standard quarters, tents, and campsites are available.
Bwindi Lodge: Located near the park’s entrance, this lodge offers comfortable beds and massages.
Walking takes just ten minutes to enter the park’s entrance.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge: This is a budget-friendly lodge with birdwatching opportunities in the immediate vicinity. The lodge is among the few ones that give you the best Bwindi gorilla trekking experience.
Buhoma Community Campsite: With spacious self-contained quarters, it’s ideal for budget travelers.
Buhoma Lodge is situated within the Bwindi Forest Park and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Silverback Lodge is a self-contained luxury and midrange lodge located in Bwindi’s Buhoma field.
The lodge organizes outdoor events for interested tourists the day before or after monitoring the gorillas, such as nature walks in local communities.
Mountain of Clouds: The gorilla lodge is situated in the park’s southern region and features eight self-contained stone bedrooms with local objects and a fireplace.
Gorilla Forest Camp is ideally situated near the park’s entrance. Over 7 tents with individual bathrooms are elevated and supported by wooden platforms at the Campsite.
Mahogany Springs: As the name implies, the resort is made of mahogany and provides luxurious accommodations.
Other activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park
Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees can only be seen in Bwindi forest, which is the only place in the world where they can both be seen.
Visitors to Bwindi can see chimps and baboons while on gorilla tours.
Bushbabies, Blue Monkeys, Red-Tailed Monkeys, L’ Hoests Monkeys, Ververt monkeys, and Colobus Monkeys are among the smaller primates that can be seen on a primate safari in Bwindi.
Wildlife viewing: While gorilla tracking is the main attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, other wild animals such as forest elephants, leopards, bats, jackals, forest duikers, and giant forest hogs can also be seen.
Birdwatching: Besides seeing Bwindi Gorillas, you can opt for a remarkable Birding tour because Bwindi forest is one of the best birdwatching destinations in Uganda.