Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is situated in Southwestern Uganda about 530 kilometers from Kampala city centre. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is popular for mountain gorilla encounters as well as other abundant wildlife that are all confined with it.

The park covers an area of about 331 square kilometers and consists of montane and lowland forest. A trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to track the world’s rarest apes in the wild is such a golden opportunity in life. Over 400 individuals of mountain gorillas and this represents about half of all the individuals that still exist in the world.

About 14 gorilla groups have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and they are tracked by visitors each day. There are four main tracking trails where treks start everyday and they include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors.

Each of the tracking areas feature habituated gorilla families and each group comes with unique experiences. They include They include Buhoma sector which features Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura; Ruhija sector features Oruzogo, Bitukura, and Kyaguriro; the Rushaga area comes with gorilla groups like Nshongi, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza, while Nkuringo region comes with only Nkuringo and Mishaya gorilla groups. Tracking these unique creatures involves hiking through a long distance via the thick vegetation, slippery terrains and this requires you to be physically and mentally well.

Gorilla permits

When it comes to gorilla trekking, visitors are required to travel with their trekking permits. Uganda gorilla permits are obtainable at $600 per person for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East Africans. Tracking permits for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park can be booked through tour operators or Uganda Wildlife Authority. One permit gives you a chance to track only habituated group in a group of eight visitors. Only one hour is allowed for visitors to spend with these Great apes on a face to face encounter while exploring their general behavior.

Like any gorilla destination, there are dos and don’ts to be followed while tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You will be briefed about these rules and regulations by the park official at the park headquarters. They include maintaining silence while in forest with the apes, maintaining a distance of about 7 meters away from the gorillas at all times, visitors have only an hour of magical encounter with the apes, do not go for tracking when you are sick, only persons above 15 years are permitted to track these primates and many more.

Best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

A range of Uganda safari packages offered throughout the year. However, most tourists always love traveling around the dry season which begins from June to September and December to February. This season good for gorilla trekking as the habitat remains dry  making it easier for hikers to track through the steep slopes and thick forest of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You can also visit the park during the wet season which falls in the months of March, April, May and November. This season, comes with slippery terrains which makes hiking very difficult for trekkers.

For visitor stays in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park,  the notable lodging facilities to spend a night include Buhoma community rest camp, Buhoma Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp, chameleon hill Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite, Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Rushaga gorilla Camp, Bwindi Travelers Motel and many others

Packing list

When it comes to gorilla trekking, you need to pack appropriately starting with the key items. Do not pack for this adventure like you are traveling for a picnic tour. The notable items to pack include waterproof hiking boots, rain jackets, gardening gloves, walking stick but this can be got at the park headquarters, a bottle of water, snacks, long sleeved shirts, socks, camera, first aid kit, hat, insect repellent, toiletries and many more. If you have heavy load, it is advisable that you hire a porter at the park headquarter to assist you with your day pack and camera gear so that you enjoy your hike.

Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

By road

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in south western Uganda about 530 kilometers from Kampala. You can take the Queen Elizabeth National Park (Mweya)-Kihihi-Buhoma sector route. This route rewards visitors with spectacular views of the rare tree climbing lions. You can also take Kampala-Kibale-Kanungu-Buhoma about 7 to 8 hours or Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo (7-9hours). There is also Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma;-a 6 hour journey

By air

There are scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport by Aero Link Uganda and chatter flights from Kajjansi airfield and then land in Kayonza and Kihihi-Northern tracking region and Nyakabande in Kisoro for trekkers who would like to track gorilla families in southern area of Bwindi National Park.