Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, 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.
Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
These reserves had a combined area of 207 square kilometres (80 sq mi). In the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha, and Ntengyere rivers, which flow into Lake Edward. Other rivers flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi.
It is a humbling experience to stand just meters from man’s distant cousins as they eat, rest, play and bond with their young. Follow the mountain gorillas as they range freely in the impenetrable forest, and discover their gorgeous natural habitat and the many species they share it with.
This is so amazing and so interesting you will enjoy seeing the giant apes.Tours are limited to a maximum of eight people and visitors spend a maximum of one hour in the company of the gorillas in order to minimize behavioral disturbance and risk of disease transmission.
The endangered impressive Mountain Gorillas in Uganda don’t live in any zoo across the planet since they cannot survive in detention and thus there aren’t any known mountain gorillas surviving within zoos. These can only be found and seen in Africa, in just three countries including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. There are approximately 786 Mountain Gorillas remaining in the world with approximately half of them staying in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest within Uganda found in East Africa.
Gorilla tracking is an experience you do not wish to miss. Usually the Males are two times the size of the females, they may grow to 6 ft tall and even weigh 350 -500 pounds. These are strong, with long arms and muscular. The males are referred to as the silverback because as they mature the hair on their back turns somewhat silver, hence the name Silverbacks. The strength of the males is ten times stronger compared to the strongest boxer, even taking steroids. The arms of silverbacks can stretch to 7 feet.
There are six main nature trails in Buhoma for those who wish to explore the impenetrable forest
Muyanga Waterfall Walk departs from Buhoma along the River Ivi-Nkuringo trail and culminates in the sensational sight of the falls plummeting 33 meters.
Rushura Hill Walk passes through one forest shared by two countries. On a clear day you can view Lakes Edward and George and the Rwenzori Mountains as well as the conical peaks of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Muzubijiro Loop is a 6km walk around a hill, where you will encounter primates and birds and enjoy a view of the Virungas.
The Ivi River Walk is 14km and takes around seven hours. The trail passes a place known as Mukempunu – meaning “a place of pigs” – where wild pigs can often be found.
The Buhoma-Nkuringo Trail takes three to four hours, and crosses right through the park, connecting the two villages and offering impressive views of the misty hillsides as you ascend the hills towards Nkuringo. You can leave our luggage with your driver, who will meet you at the other side. This trail can also be completed as part of the Ivi River Walk.
The Habinyanja (Railegh) Trail takes 4-6hrs. After crossing the Munyaga River, it takes in a fairly steep ascent of the Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridge overlooking Buhoma River. Found along this trail is the legendry “African Corner” named after a rock piece depicting a map of Africa. Following the steep ascent, keen hikers can enkoy a more relaxed gentle slope to the mighty Habinyanja swamp. Birders on this trail should watch out for the Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Black Duck and Black Bee Eaters, among others.
Mountain Biking /Cycling
This is very interesting riding bikes along the way while sighting wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The six-seven hour round trip departs in the morning.
With mist swirling over the summits, Buhoma is a truly dramatic setting for your cultural tour! The three-hour village walk begins with a visit to the handcraft shop – selling handmade artefacts such as fabrics, beeswax candles and wood carvings, all produced by talented local craftsmen and women. The neighboring Batwa community performs songs and dances about their former life in the forest, introducing you to another unique local culture. You will also meet the traditional healer who treats the sick with medicinal plants, and the teachers and pupils of the local primary school. Finally, you can learn how bananas are used to make juice, beer and gin – and taste the results!
Birding takes place along the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija.
The forest has avariaty of birdswith 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as the African Emerald Cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill.
Having known the gorilla group or family, we then advise the following lodges which are categorized depending on whether you prefer upmarket, midrange or economy accommodation.
Gorilla Lodges in Buhoma
Buhoma is the most preferred region as there many lodges and camps for selection. If you are to track Mubare, Rushegura and even Habinyanja, Bitukura and Oruzogo (The last three need to drive for one or two hours to reach the starting point), then choose from the lodges below
Gorilla Safari Lodge, Volcano Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs lodge, Gorilla Resort, Kitandara Tented Camp, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp.
Gorilla Lodges in Nkuringo and Rushaga
If you are to track in Nkuringo, and or Rushaga where we have Nkuringo, kahungye, Nshongi and Mishaya among others. All these gorilla families are located in Kisoro side. You will need to consider the below lodges:
Clouds Lodge, Chameleon Hill lodge overlooking Lake Mutanda, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Kisoro Travellers Rest Inn, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Nsongi gorilla resort, Wagtail Eco Camp and Mishaya Camp among others. All lodges in the park are easy to access to anyone including tourists on self drive tours in Uganda to see gorillas.