Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
The dense rain forest of Bwindi in southwestern Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population, including multiple groups that are habituated to humans. This is the most popular place to go gorilla trekking in Uganda (also available in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park). Buhoma, on the northern side of Bwindi is one of the most popular places to stay. There are a wide range of accommodation options and the small town is within easy distance of the park headquarters where you depart for the gorilla trekking. You can also walk right into Buhoma village to visit a local craft shop or school. Nkuringo, on the southern side of Bwindi, offers the most luxurious accommodation option (Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge) and different gorilla families to track. You can even hike through the forest between the two areas, if you’re looking for a truly active adventure and want to track gorillas in different locations.
We recommend staying for 2 or 3 nights in Bwindi and doing 2 gorilla treks. The success rate is high on your first trek, but the weather may not be ideal or you may want to put your camera down on your second trek and truly soak up your time with these gentle creatures. Gorilla permits need to be secured in advance (currently $700 per person per trek – subject to change) and can quickly sell out during peak months between June and September. When you arrive to park headquarters, you will be assigned a gorilla family and although you can express preferences based on your fitness abilities, re-assignments cannot be guaranteed. You will then head out in small groups with armed rangers and the help of a hired porter. Trekking can take anywhere from one hour to most of the day, but your time with the gorillas (one hour from the time you find them) is a once in a life-time experience and worth it for active, healthy travelers.
In addition to gorilla trekking, you can enjoy various forest walks ranging from 30 minutes to 8 hours in duration, guided community/cultural walks and a visit to a Batwa educational village.
Bwindi is accessible by road, but it is an 8 to 10 hour drive from Entebbe, so we recommend breaking up that drive with a stop at Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and/or Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you’re on a time crunch, then it is also possible to take a small bush flight from Entebbe to a local airstrip and then about a one hour road transfer to Bwindi, depending on where you’re staying. Flights from the Maasai Mara to Buhoma and Nkuringo are offered daily to combine the two destinations.
Our favorite accommodations in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Recommended itineraries featuring Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Nile Cruises, Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking
Primates and White-Water Rafting on the Nile