Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda Gorilla trekking safaris Tours in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, when to visit, where to stay, attractions & Safari activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Uganda, when to visit, accommodation and history / background of the park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park dubbed the safe haven for mountain gorillas in Uganda is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa.
The park is part of the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift.
Spanning on a 331 square kilometers of jungle forests ,Bwindi Impenetrable National Park derived its name from a local kikyiga word “Omubwindi and as the world suggests, the forest is almost impassable and the oldest, un spoilt tropical forest dating back 25,000 years ago.
The Impenetrable Forest, as it’s also known, is one of Africa’s most ancient habitats, since it thrived right through the last Ice Age (12,000 to 18,000 years ago) when most of Africa’s other forests disappeared.
In conjunction with the altitude span (1160m to 2607m) this antiquity has produced in an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, even by normal rainforest standards. And we do mean rainforest; up to 2.5m of rain falls here annually.
Historically, in 1932, what are now the northern and southern sectors of the Bwindi forest were gazetted as Kasatora and Kayonza Crown Forest Reserves respectively, covering a total area of 20,700ha.
Later, in 1948, the two reserves were combined and extended into the Impenetrable Central Crown Forest Reserve covering 29,800ha.
Two local forest reserves were then incorporated into the central reserve in 1961, increasing the gazetted area to 32,080ha.
In the same year, the entire reserve was gazetted as an animal sanctuary in an effort to grant additional protection for the mountain gorillas. Bwindi was finally upgraded to a national park in 1991, along with the creation of two other mountain national parks in Uganda: Rwenzori Mountains and Mgahinga Gorilla.
Straddling in the Kigezi Highlands of south-west Uganda, adjacent to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is characterized by steep hills and narrow valleys with a general incline from the north and west to the south-western corner.
The park constitutes an important water catchment area serving the surrounding densely populated agricultural land and is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane vegetation communities meet.
Three major tributaries of the lshasha River drain into Lake Edward to the north, and the Ndego, Kanyamwabo and Shongi rivers flow southwards towards Lake Mutanda.
Due to its diverse habitats ranging from 1,160 to 2,706 m in altitude, location at the intersection of the Albertine, Congo Basin and Eastern Africa ecological zones, and probable role as a Pleistocene refugium, Bwindi is the most important area in Uganda for species due to an exceptional diversity that includes many Albertine Rift endemics.
This forest is believed to be a mere remnant of a very large forest which once covered much of western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The property has the highest diversity of tree species -over 200 species including 10 endemics and ferns -some 104 species in East Africa, and maybe the most important forest in Africa for montane forest butterflies with 202 species including eight Albertine endemics.
The forest is very significant as a home to almost half of the population about 400 of the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
With over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region are found in the forest, and 22 of the 36 endemics.
Overall, Bwindi hosts numerous globally threatened species including high-profile mammals such as mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, l’Hoest’s monkey and African elephant; birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher and Shelley’s crimson-wing; and butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail.
According to the latest mountain gorilla census, it was established that half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas live in Bwindi.
The number mountain gorillas has been estimated to be 820 individuals and out of this, 400 hundred are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains the only park in the whole world where mountain gorillas co-exist with wild chimpanzees although there is no trekking chimps since no community has been habituated.
Bwindi lies in one of the country’s most densely populated rural areas in different locations around the forest.
Approximately 10,000 families belonging to the Bachiga, Bafumbira and Barwanda (all Bantu) peoples cultivate the land immediately surrounding the park.
The Park boundary is clearly delineated with planted trees and concrete pillars as markers along areas where rivers do not form the boundary.
This clear boundary line has mostly stopped encroachment by the local communities, although with increasing population, agricultural encroachment will remain a potential threat.
However, community participation programmes have enabled the neighbouring communities to derive various benefits from ecotourism and regulated plant resource use which significantly contributes to improving their livelihoods.
There are no commercial activities inside the property other than ecotourism. Bwindi shares a common border with the small (c. 900 ha) protected Sarambwe forest in DRC, into which the gorillas and other species enter at times.
Tourist Attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain Gorillas As a Tourist Attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Mountain Gorillas are the main tourist’s attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is inhabited by an estimated population of about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), which makes up almost half of all the remaining mountain gorillas in the world living in the wild.
The other half of the mountain gorilla population is housed in the nearby Virunga Mountains covering three national parks of Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo.
A 2011 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006 to 400 in 2011.
Research shows that Mountain gorillas in Bwindi mainly feed on fruit than that of the Virunga population, and also Bwindi gorillas including the Silverback tend to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees.
It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel further per day than Virunga gorillas and hence this makes mountain gorilla activities in Bwindi hectic but highly rewarding.
In addition, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in alchornea floribunda, a small understory tree.
In Bwindi national park, mountain gorillas are habituated in four main regions within the park and these regions include Buhoma region which is the first region where gorillas were first habituated and opened into tourists by the year 1993, Nkuringo region, Rushaga and Ruhija regions.
All of Bwindi’s habituated gorillas are known individually by the rangers and have been given names in order to identify them.
The males can weigh more than 500lb and some silverbacks exceed 6ft.
Currently Bwindi has 11 habituated gorilla families and one group that is only available for research.
These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye and the research group Kyaguriro.
Before embarking on your Gorilla Safari to Bwindi, we kindly encourage you to learn more about these incredible creatures and read interesting facts about the various gorilla families.
However, keep in mind that the mountain gorillas are wild animals and details such as the group size, location in the forest and leading silverback might change without notice.
Birds As A Tourist Attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest bird watching in Africa, and is an un missable destination for any birder visiting Uganda.
There are an estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemic to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
Globally threatened species such as African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimsonwing are also found here. Other birds include the Handsome Francolin; Black-billed Turaco; African Broadbill; Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters; Western Green Tinkerbird; Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds; Short-tailed and Black-faced Rufous Warblers; Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis; Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls; and Many-colored Bush-Shrike, among others.
Cultural Encounter As A Tourist Attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
This is mainly done by visitors in the evenings; you can participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups, village walks, blacksmith visits, and craft shops.
Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park. The activity allows you to explore the unique cultures of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities who are the traditional inhabitants of the areas covered famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park.
The highly educative, memorable cultural tours in Bwindi can take you through various community groups such as;
Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association-The association is which is strategically located opposite the stunning hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with mist swirling over the summits, is a truly dramatic setting for your cultural tour.
The three-hour village walk begins with a visit to the handcraft shop which sells handmade artifacts such as fabrics, beeswax candles and wood carvings, all produced by talented local craftsmen and women.
The tour allows you to enjoy the wonderful performances in form of songs; dance presented by the neighboring Batwa community.
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. Note that Proceeds from the tour will be used to support community development projects such as a secondary school, maize mill and microfinance circle, and the Batwa receive all proceeds from their performances.
Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)-This is set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with dramatic views towards Congo.
Nkuringo is a wonderful place to visit for those who want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery.
A visit to Nicholas the blacksmith rewinds time to the Stone Age with the sound of sheepskin bellows spewing air into a charcoal-fired furnace, from which Nicholas hooks out red hot metal and hammers it into tools; from knives to machetes.
Sesilia welcomes you into her home – a series of traditional huts housing a millet-grinding stone, cooking pots and apparatus for distilling local waragi banana gin. Pena is the village´s traditional healer who uses native plants to make tea, ointments and herbal powders that cure a range of ailments.
NCCDF supports local artisans and the local Batwa community through its crafts shop. They train orphans who perform at a nearby lodge, and can make arrangements for visitors to sponsor them.
Buniga Forest Nature Walk-The walk gives you the opportunity to discover the gorgeous hidden treasures of Buniga Forest and among the treasures include the diverse flora and fauna on the forest trail.
The activity is done under the guidance of expert regional guides who afford you excellent understanding of nature’s system at the forest and surrounding areas.
Buniga Forest Reserve is one of the three remaining pocket forests adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Due to the increased encroachment on the forest and associated loss of biodiversity and other forest resources, the trail was created by Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) to protect the forest and manage it for ecotourism activities.
As well as protecting this precious forest, proceeds from the tour also benefit surrounding communities, and encourage them to actively participate in its conservation.
Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)-Cultural encounter with this prominent cultural association gives you the opportunity to learn a new skill during your trip to Uganda.
After participating in long day activities such as tracking gorillas or bird watching, you can visit the Nkuringo Cultural Centre to enjoy one of fascinating cultural evening workshops.
While at the site, you have the choice to choose which activity to learn. The range of activities include African cooking, traditional weaving, or – for those who are feeling a little more energetic- dancing and drumming workshops are available.
You can also decide to take one of highly interesting village walks during the day to meet the residents, learn about life in Rubuguri and participate in a crafts demonstration.
You will then visit the primary school to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake so don’t miss the experience.
What is important to know is that, NCC creates employment opportunities for local residents and a percentage of profits are used for community projects such as IT classes and a stage and costumes for local dance groups. Therefore, you visit to the cultural Centre will allow the locals to earn living.
Nyundo Community Eco-Trails-Nyundo’s residents were firsthand witnesses to climate change. They cultivated crops on the hillsides bordering Bwindi Impenetrable forest, but noticed erosion, changing rain patterns and the disappearance of the characteristic mist. Ultimately, their crops began to fail.
The community decided to protect the land and allow the forest to grow back, and now the trees, the rains and the mist have all returned.
Nyundo Community Eco Trails were developed by community members as a sustainable alternative to agriculture, poaching and logging; providing both an income and an incentive to conserve the forest.
On King Bakyara’s Waterfall Trail, enjoy spectacular scenery surrounding a waterfall where only kings may bathe! Visit a blacksmith, a local banana beer distillery, a beekeeper, a cattle farm and a banana plantation.
During the Traditional Skills Trail, learn about millet-bread preparation, yoghurt making and craft making. Visit a traditional birth attendant and traditional homesteads, and meet the friendly villagers.
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)-Conservation through Public Health is a grassroots organization that has improved the health of wildlife, livestock and some of the poorest people in Africa.
In Buhoma, visitors can take a tour of the Gorilla Health Centre to learn about their health and how diseases are transmitted between wild animals and livestock, as well as other conservation issues addressed by CTPH.
Tour the Village Aquaponics project where you will learn about sustainable methods of farming fish, which is then sold to local lodges.
If booked in advance, CTPH staff can also offer presentations on conservation issues in Bwindi and guided tours of local communities to demonstrate how improving the health and livelihoods of people and their livestock supports the conservation of gorillas.
Lodging is available at the Gorilla Conservation Camp; all fees support the work of CTPH. There are also volunteer opportunities and working holidays which contribute directly to all these activities.
Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)-This can be reached by rustic roads clinging to steep hillsides, this small community makes up for its isolation with the warm welcome of its inhabitants.
The Village Walk takes you past a swamp to a small homestead, where you will have the chance to meet the residents and learn about life in Rubuguri, as well as participate in a crafts demonstration.
You will then visit the lively St Peter´s Primary school to meet the pupils and teachers, and to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance.
The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake – and as the barefooted students leap several feet into the air to the rhythm of joyful songs you will be able to decide for yourself if they achieve their goal.
Other Forest Species
There are least 120 mammal species living in the forest, making Bwindi second only in mammal numbers to the vast Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The eleven primate species found here include black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons and chimps. There are also forest elephants and several species of antelopes. Of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species, 42 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
Tourist Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Birding As A Tourist Activity in Bwindi Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest is dubbed Bird watchers safe haven in Uganda. The park holds 350 bird species and houses 90% of all Albertine rift Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in single day especially in the bird endowed areas of Ruhija and Buhoma.
Birding activities mainly done early morning in the park take place along the main trail, such as the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija region.
Mountain Biking As a Tourist Activity in Bwindi Forest National Park
Mountain biking in Bwindi follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River.
Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
The six-seven hour round trip departs in the morning, and is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp under the “Ride for a Woman “community development initiative.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
The Mountain Gorillas are the star attraction in Bwindi and these have been habituated since April 1993.Spaning in an area of 321kms of forested land, Bwindi is divided into four gorilla tracking sectors including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors.
In each of these gorillas trekking sectors, gorilla trekking starts as early as 7:30 when the trekkers report to the head Quarters for early morning briefing by the UWA rangers about the etiquette to follow while trekking the mountain gorillas in the stunning Impenetrable forest.
Buhoma sector. This famous sector in Bwindi is positioned on the northwest part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the district of Kanungu.
Buhoma region is well known by tourists because it was the first region where mountain gorillas in Uganda where first habituated and opened to be visited by tourists in the year 1993 .
The region has three gorilla groups that can be trekked by the tourist and among these includes the oldest gorilla group that was first habituated in this region i.e. Mubare gorilla group Mubare Group- which received its first tourists in the year 1993.
This first gorilla troop in Bwindi had at first 18 members, however the group has lost its members reducing it to only 5 individual gorilla members which can be trekked by visitors on Uganda gorilla safaris.
The second gorilla group in this region is the Habinyanja Group that was habituated in the year 1997 and managed to receive its first time visitors in the year 1999 .
The group has total number 17 individual members and these include the two silver backs that lead the group.
Rushegura Group is the third habituated gorilla group in Buhoma. This particular group was habituated in the year 2000 and received its first tourists in the year 2002.
Currently it’s the biggest group with 19 individual members including one silver back within the Buhoma trekking region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park.
Besides gorilla trekking , Buhome sector is also prominent sector where other highly rewarding hiking and nature walks have been developed including; the Munyanga River Trails in the valley of Buhoma- which is a short walk for viewing birds and primates along the forest edge.
The waterfall trail which passes beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns as well as orchids to visit three dazzling waterfalls.
The Rushura Hill Trail, Muzabajiro Loop Trail and the River Ivi Trail, of which the latter follows an old road through the forest, emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the impenetrable forest.
The Buhoma community walk and cultural performances which takes up to three hours visiting a typical homestead, the traditional healer and a banana beer brewery is organized by the local community.
Within Buhoma one can also enjoy the Batwa cultural experience that has been developed of recent to enable tourists explore the interesting lift style of the Batwa community.
Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National park has various lodges and these involve luxury, mid -range and Budget accommodations for instance Luxury lodges are Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp and Mahogany Springs.
Mid-range properties such as Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge and budget accommodation such as Buhoma Community rest camp and Bwindi View Lodge.
Nkuringo sector – It is one of the popular gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi and it’s franked on the southwest side of the Bwindi forest.
This exceptional sector lies near Buhoma region at an estimated distance of about10km from Buhoma through the ancient Impenetrable forest .
Visit to the sector roughly takes visitors 4 hours walk. Due to the hilly nature of the land scape in Bwindi, connecting by car from Buhoma to Nkuringo takes about 7 to 8 hours’ drive.
The habituated Gorilla Group that can be trekked here includes the Nkuringo Gorilla group has 19 mountain gorillas.
Trekking this particular gorilla in Bwindi offers tourists an exciting but challenging experience because the activity takes you through steep hilly forest side of Bwindi.
Besides gorilla trekking, there are other opportunities for you to discover the Bakiga culture through village walks, and here visitors can have cultural encounter filed with vibrant dance performances and cultural workshops organized by community groups at Nkuringo Cultural Centre.
Ruhija sector –Dubbed safe haven for birders in Bwindi because of its abundant birdlife, Ruhija sector is one of the best gorilla trekking regions in Bwindi.
Spanning on the most remote areas in Bwindi, The region is positioned on the eastern side of the park but sitting on top of the hill at an estimated height of 2,345m.
Ruhija region is habitant to almost three Gorilla groups’ such as the Bitukura gorilla group, Kyaguriro and Oruzoojo Gorilla groups.
The region is Uganda’s trekking trail located at highest altitude and it’s one of the only two regions in the park where elephants reside.
The six-hour bamboo trail in this region takes visitors to Rwamunyoni Peak (2,607m,) which is the highest point in the whole of the Bwindi Impenetrable National park and its recommendable region for bird watching activities.
The other interesting bit to bird lovers is the three-hour trail which descends to Mubwindi swamp where the rare endemic African Broadbill species can be easily seen.
Rushaga Sector .It is situated in the southeast of the Bwindi and it was opened for gorilla tourism in the year 2009 and positioned in Kisoro district.
There are three Gorilla groups which can trekked in this area i.e. Nshongi Gorilla group, Mishaya and Busingye, Kahungye.
The trail in this area takes you into the Centre of the ancient Impenetrable forest straight to the south part of the park.
It lies between Kabale and Nkuringo for those coming from either Ruhija or Kampala. Rushaga regions as well as the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are located at highest point in terms of altitude.
The region is mainly occupied by high hills and this has resulted to subdivisions and separations of different habituated mountain gorillas in this area because the different groups have ended up occupying separate hills found in the region.
Due to the presence of many hills in the region, gorilla trekking is bit hectic because it involves hiking hills when searching for mountain gorillas.
However tourists who participate in gorilla trekking in this region are highly rewarded with great scenic views and sights of the Virunga Massifs both in Uganda and Rwanda.
In addition to memorable gorilla trekking in this sector, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy views of Lake Mutanda Uganda’s only lava damned lake franked in southwestern parts of the country.
How To Get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi can be accessed either by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip or by road from Kampala.
From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi.
Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.
By Road, There Are Alternatives That Include;
Kampala- Kabale – Kanungu- Buhoma park headquarters. This route is about 534km or 11hour drive. It should be noted that from Kampala- Kabale 414km, the road is fully tarmacked and it’s in a good condition, but from Kabale to Buhoma the road is 108km or 4-5-hour drive on murram.
When accessing Buhoma, from Kabale town, you have to drive for 17 km on Kabale Kisoro road then make a right turn in the trading centre and this will lead to a floating pontoon where you have to pay 1000ugshs to the Kabale council.
Now you will further continue to Kanungu and when you arrive at a round-about here, you turn left following the Bwindi impenetrable national park signage, this now takes you to Kanyantogoro where you still take a left turn at a traffic round about in this area, you will need to pass by Ntungamo tea factory then arrive at Butogota village and make a right turn as you follow the sign posts of Bwindi impenetrable national park, after this turn in Butogota, you will drive further for 17 km and then finally you will be at the Buhoma park offices.
The other alternative you can use to get to Bwindi is using the ntugamo- rukungiri road, while using this route, you will need to turn right 1km after passing Ntungamo town, on the Rukungiri sign post.
When you arrive in Rukungiri, look out for the Kanungu sign post and follow it, this will deliver you to kabale- buhoma road which will finally take you to the park offices in Buhoma. This is the fastest route to the park since the completion of tarmacking of the Ntungamo- Rukungiri section.
One can access Bwindi impenetrable park using public transport means, this involves booking a bus ticket to Kabale or Buhoma from Kisenyi bus terminal, the bus fare from Kampala to Buhoma is 35000ugshs. the bus will depart from Kampala at 0600hrs and arrive in Butogota at 1800hrs. when you arrive at Butogota you will need to hire a private car to drive to Buhoma which is 17 km away.
It’s also worth noting that the park can also be easily accessed from Rwanda with many daily commuter buses from Kigali to Kabale or Kisoro via Cyanika or Katuna border posts. From Kigali to Cyanika border is 205 km and from Cyanika to Kabale is 80 km
Flights can be chartered from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kabale airstrip in Kabale town or even these flights can land at other airstrips such as Kayonza, Kihihi and Nyakabande. Some of the flight operator companies to Bwindi Impenetrable park include:
Aerolink. Aerolink has 2 daily flights from Entebbe international airport. The morning flight departs Entebbe at 07:00hrs and lands at Kihihi airstrip at 08:45hrs while the afternoon flights leaves Entebbe at 12:45hrs and lands at Kihihi airstrip at 13:55hrs. Aerolink club uses the Caravan aircraft equipment that has a carrying capacity of 11 passengers and 2 flight crew members. Aerolink charges 236$ for a one way to Kihihi.
Fly Uganda. Fly Uganda also has daily flights to Kihihi, these flights depart from Kajjansi airstrip at 08:00hrs at a cost of 290$ one way and a minimum number of 2 passengers.
Other private aircraft carriers to Bwindi national park include- Air Serv- Limited, The Mission Aviation Africa(MAF).
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Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable Park
Nkuringo Bwindi sub sector is part of the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This part is the habitat to Nkuringo gorilla family.
Close to it is Rushaga subsector which is also close to this Nkuringo family. In its vicinity are gorilla families like Nshongi Gorilla group, Kahungye gorilla family, Mishaya gorilla group, Busingye group and Bweza gorilla family.
This sector can be accessed when you drive from Kampala- Mbarara-Kabale-Lake Bunyonyi-Kisoro-Rubuguri- NKuringo.
For Fly in Gorilla safari holidays, this sector can be accessed from Entebbe to Kisoro Air strip
Clouds lodge is a super luxury lodge in the southern sector of Bwindi National Park. The lodge overlooks the prehistoric Bwindi Forest and it has eight spacious en suite natural stone rooms including a two room family unit.
Its lounge has very comfortable chairs that provide you with absolute comfort to relax after gorilla trekking.
The lodge has a large reception area, gift shop and bar and six fireplaces located throughout the building to keep guests warm on chilly nights.
The lodge’s garden area is a wonderful and comfortable place for guests to relax after a strenuous day of gorilla tracking.
Guests at Clouds stay in their own cottage. Built out of local volcanic stones, every cottage has a large sitting room with fireplace, vast overstuffed armchairs, and hand-woven carpets.
Each individual cottage features the work of one of Uganda’s most respected artists (we call them the ‘Clouds 9’) Their work has been so highly regarded by guests that they have commissioned their own pieces and now the work of these artists graces the walls of homes and offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and London.
The main lodge feels like someplace else – soaring ceilings, massive exposed wooden beams, big picture windows with endless views of treetops, volcanoes and mountains.
It feels like a ski chalet in the Alps. Or a stone palace in the Rocky Mountains. But with the gentle and warm welcome, the quiet dedication of the personal butlers and the smiles on the faces of virtually all the staff, this can only be in Uganda.
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Kisoro Tourist Hotel -Luxury
Kisoro Tourist Hotel in Kisoro south western Uganda is the best option for anyone visiting the southwest of Uganda, on the way to Rwanda, Congo and Bwind.
The hotel boasts a strategic location which is at the foothills of Mount Muhavura, and guests can enjoy a good panoramic view of the nearby mountains and volcanoes along the borders with Rwanda and the Congo.
Kisoro Tourist Hotel is one of the most pleasant and comfortable hotels at a budget tariff price and offers best accommodation facilities in their self-contained rooms.
Enjoy the warm atmosphere of the lounge provided by a true fireplace. When visitors get done with their daily activities in the nearby area, they can relax with a romantic massage done by well trained workers and also steam bath.
The hotel has one of the best restaurants recognized in country for the high-standard food preparation in both traditional and international dishes.
The hotel provides the following amenities on-site are; On-site restaurant, Tour/Travel desk, Conference Facilities, Internet Access, Gift shop, On-site Bar, Fitness Room/Gym, Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Library/Reading Area.
The hotel rooms also have TV-Cable/Satellite were visitors can watch international and local updates, The TV can get Local Stations clearly, Fans, Hot water, Private Bathroom are also provided to ensure that visitor get better stay.
Due to the need to protect the environment and giving back to the local communities, the hotel organizes different responsible tourism activities such as;
The women´s dance group performances are organized by the hotel in order to have massages that raise awareness about how the environment can be protected and also through the drama performances, the young people in the community are encouraged to stop illegal activities such as poaching wild animals in the park.
The profits earned by the women dance’s groups are used to purchase a piece of land, which they planing to build more accommodations for the guests.
The hotel also provides assistance to AIDs awareness campaigns in local schools and focus on stopping young people from involving in the acts that may lead them to contract AIDS.
The hotel also has a craft shop at the hotel Centre and host cultural dances where community members can perform. These offerings help raise money for the surrounding communities.
The table shows the prices charged by Hotel for both Bed and Breakfast and Full Board.
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Kisoro Travelers’ Rest Hotel –Mid-Range
Travellers Rest Hotel is a colonial-style hotel located just 14km from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park outside Kisoro Town, in the extreme southwestern part of Uganda, providing a perfect point for trips into Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
When the visitor is just entering, he or she is welcomed by the ibis typical sound. The wonderful-green surrounding garden is a natural home of various birds species.
When the guest is just seated on the terrace he or she is paid by nice smell of the sweet perfume from the honeysuckle.
In the cool evenings, one can experience a warm atmosphere which is provided by the fireplace in the lounge, surrounded by unusual African artifacts and a huge collection of Congolese masks.
The surrounding landscape, dominated by the peaks of the Massifs of Virunga Volcanoes Have got very interesting beauty which is eye catching to each and every traveller. The volcanoes offer spectacular views of the Rift Valley and the emerald-green Lake Mutanda in the distance.
The Lodge Amenities in this precious hotel are; Restaurant,, Travel desk, Bikes to rent, Lounge area with fireplace, bar and large meeting table Internet access, Massages, Laundry service, Gift Shop, Enclosed garden, Huge selection of Congolese masks
All the Spotless private rooms lead out onto the pleasant garden and have private bathrooms with hot water. Available rooms include single, twin, double, triple and a suite.
The activities organized by the hotel are, Paying visits to the a local primary school where the deaf children study from and here willing guests are welcomed to make donations, also the hotel organizes traditional performances done by the local orphan group and some of the activities also include having cycle ride to lake Mutanda, visiting the local market mainly on market days, Batwa Forest Trail through the National Park among others.
Most of food prepared by the rest Hotel is sourced from Kisoro market, which is supplied by the local Bafumbira and Bakiga communities. The hotel staffs are mostly from Kisoro. Staff training and career development of the staff members is of great importance to the Hotel management.
|Room Type||Room Only||Half Board||Full Board|
Nkuringo Gorilla Camp
Nkuringo gorilla camp is placed on the Nteko ridge in the southern sector of Bwindi National park. It is in the Nkuringo sub sector of Bwindi National park.
The camp enjoys a magnificent view of Mountain Gahinga, Muhabura and Sabyinyo in Rwanda. It is strategically placed closer to the starting point of tracking Nkuringo Gorilla Family.
The lodge has 2 cottages with en suite facilities and 6 terrace rooms each with a window overlooking the mighty Bwindi Forest. The Camp also has a camping area with shared facilities. Its compound is also a haven for other primates like black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey checked mangabey, L’hoest, baboons and several others. Several bird species also roam around the lodge premises.
While Uganda is lovely, Nkuringo is “an oasis paradise” – especially the site of the Camp. The Gorilla trekking is phenomenal.
People who stay here simply rave about the location. There is a hike here to the top of the world and look into the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The great campsite which offers all commodities to be very comfortable at literally 5 minutes walking distance from the Nkuringo gorilla park entrance.
The campsite offers all the comfort you are willing to pay for. It has great food, comfortable and very clean rooms. The staff is extremely helpful. The campsite is on the edge of the Nkuringo community which you will want to visit and interact with its people.
You can also be able to visit the school and speak to some community children. You can play football with the boys from the local village (very authentic experience) and then enjoy the songs of the local children all looking over gorgeous valleys and mountains. In the evenings, the staff is excellent and jolly hosts and the conversations around the campfire are memorable.
The most interesting part bit of the lodge is that, its budget, except for two handcrafted cottages that are a recent addition.
The cottages also have a stunning view and you can sit on your porch and take in the peaceful quiet of the area only to be broken by the sounds of birds or the wind gently caressing the trees.
Buhoma sector is part of the Northern Bwindi forest block where mountain gorillas reside. Families that are found in Buhoma include Rushegura gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla group and Mubare gorilla family.
Each of these families can easily be accessed when you spend a night or more at the various lodges that are located in this sector.
It is advisable for visitors to know the gorilla group they intend to trek so as to determine where to spend the night to avoid long hour drives early in the morning to the briefing point.
Buhoma sector of Bwindi can be accessed from Kampala/ Entebbe-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Butogota-Buhoma
For Fly in Gorilla safari holidays, this sector can be accessed from Entebbe to Kihihi Air strip or Kayonza Air strip
Mahogany Springs Bwindi- Luxury.
Mahogany Springs lodge is located close to Munyanga River overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The lodge provides privacy as well as serenity mixed with optimal comfort in an exclusive setting.
The lodge is one of the most luxurious accommodations places in the whole of East Africa and visitors staying in this lodge make them gain un comparable experience.
All the rooms in the accommodation facility are suites and most of the rooms are superior suites and there is only one presidential suite which contains two ensuite bedrooms, hence making it a very ideal place for people traveling with their families.
The superior suites of the lodge are all spacious and big enough, built with large glass doors which take one onto a balcony that offers relaxing and beautiful views of the surrounding.
All the room used for sleeping have mosquito nets around their beds and the big spacious ensuite bathroom containing shower is present. The main lodge building on its upper sides contains a thatched roof as well as a large terrace where visitors are served with breakfast, and a dining room with fireplaces.
There is also a gift shop located within the lodge area and the lounge area equipped with a library of books which can be read by visitors on their free time, The other interesting things include a portable DVD players as well as a DVD library plus board games which can be utilized or watched by guest in order to enhance their experience.
The lodge serves clients with menu containing a la carte and during afternoon times tea with freshly baked cakes and pastries is served to visitors especially after one getting involved in hectic activity of trekking the gorillas.
Despite of the fact that the lodge offers lodging facilities and amenities, it also organizes excursion for visitors to visit local communities and also do chimpanzee trekking. The various tours organized in the lodge include nature walks, guided bird walks as well as visits to the lodge’s vegetable garden.
Buhoma Lodge –Luxury.
The lodge is located in Buhoma sector, at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The lodge is the main unique and world class accommodation facility in the Buhoma sector and its proudly standing above the forest canopy, the Lodge’s cabins offers spectacular as well as uninterrupted views and sights of the of beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, habitat of the world’s endangered species of the mountain gorilla.
Buhoma Lodge’s raised lounge area containing bar and dining facilities, provide visitors with a comfortable surroundings to share the day’s activities and experiences with each other around the fireplaces, which is set to add warmth to the cool evenings.
Meals are freshly prepared with many local ingredients, offering a balance of international as well as locally flavored cuisine with meals being of several courses. The Lodge bar has a selection of all local as well as imported beverages.
The wonderful service which is memorable is offered by the friendly local staffs who attend to visitors in professional manner.
Hot beverages are also served to visitor direct on their respective cottages with an early morning wake up calls as required, this is done to allow visitor to wake early to gently enjoy the nice morning sounds of the impenetrable forest.
Buhoma Lodge offers number of amenities in the elevated lounge room with fireplace and these include Restaurant and bar, Recharging facilities for cameras, phones, Massage room, and Safe deposit boxes.
The lodge facility boasts of eight comfortable cottages that are carefully well built, each with its own separate verandah which allows visitor to enjoy beautiful views of the Impenetrable forest canopy of the National Park.
Inside the lodge cottages visitors will find comfortable beds and a well-appointed en suite bathroom with flushing toilet and a hot shower and some rooms have bathtubs.
The lodge organizes various activities or tourist and among these activities includes Buhoma Village Walk where visitors are taken to nearby community areas to enjoy the wonderful traditional performance performed by the Batwa .
One can also pay visit to local primary school as well as visiting a traditional healer and the village walks usually take 3 hours.
Beside village walks the lodge also makes arrangements for visitors to enjoy the Nyundo Community Eco Trails which leads them to a waterfall found within the area and also other travellers join locals to learn traditional skills. This usually take an estimate of two 2 hours,
In terms of responsible Travel, the lodge was built using local sustainable as well as natural materials where possible. This has tried to help the local communities because building materials were supplies by the locals.
The Staff working in the accommodation facility are generally got from the local community and the trained on site to see that they meet the standards of world class staffs working in the hotel industry.
|Room Type||Rates in USD|
|Children||50% of adult rates between ages 5-12 years|
|Under 5 years, sharing with adults||Free of charge|
Engagi Lodge: Mid-Range
The lodge is located in a vast tract of land which is adjecent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and runs from the main Buhoma road down to the Munyaga River.
The structure of the lodge is built using mainly local materials which are sourced from the local areas. The main lodge building is partitioned into three parts i.e. Rock bar, the restaurants as well as a large wooden verandah with unique platform which can be used by visitors for viewing the beautiful surrounding.
The lodge is composed of just 8 en-suite cottages which are evenly spaced out and hidden in the foliage. Each cottage is provided with double or twin beds and they are complete with hot water bottles, a bathroom with flushing toilets, cold and hot running water.
All the cottages have private verandas where one can comfortably enjoy their morning tea or coffee as they marvel out over the forest canopy.
The lodge’s structure is big enough to cater for large number travels and those in need of banqueting tables. It also allows smaller member groups to spread out in the different areas for privacy.
The Engagi lodge is open ended at the front, offering panoramic views of the wonderful Bwindi National Park.
The kitchen in the lodge has been constructed some few meters away from the lodge in order to offer guest with good convenient atmosphere which is private.
The kitchen prepares a variety of three course meals and also other requirements like vegetarians and Vegans are prepared by the lodge chefs.
Solar power is the main source of Electricity and also there is a backup generator. Hot water in the lodge is supplied by wood burning boilers.
Guests sleeping in this lodge can also enjoy various private walking trails which are developed around the lodge and down to the river. They also have chances to enjoy visiting a number of operating tea farms located inside the site and maintained by local’s people.
Silverback Lodge –Mid-Range
Silverback Lodge is positioned on high area overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The view offered by the lodge is absolutely attractive and it’s the best lodge for any visitor wishing to enjoy Apès-trekking cocktails.
Silverback Lodge is just located at an estimated workable distance of 5 minutes from the national park with extensive views of the valley as well as the forests surrounding the lodge.
The lodge offers opportunities for visitors to enjoy Bird watching as well as primate viewing especially on the front door of visitor’s rooms in the lodge.
The lodge which is managed by Marasa Africa Accommodations in Uganda has 12 rooms and these provide visitors an eco-style living especially when under taking gorilla safari holiday in Uganda.
The beautiful lodge is located in the famous Buhoma sector which is just few meters away from the Park Headquarters for Mountain Gorilla trekking.
The Lodge is decorated with beautiful architectural design which is depicting an image of all Geo-Lodges in Uganda which are now famous in the country.
The lodge rooms are built next to each other and well designed using the local materials like the forest vines as well as sisal rope plus purple slate stone. Each room in the lodge facility has an ensuite bathroom full of hot water showers and each and very private veranda of the lodge rooms offer best options where clients can enjoy views of the forest and clouds that drift by in the valley.
There is also a large garden area full of green vegetation where visitors can relax and refresh especially during the evening hours. It is a well-planned lodge where visitors can enjoy both their respective rooms and the stunning surroundings.
Above all there is a friendly and very helpful staff that is trained to offer world class services to visitors. The interesting staff ensures that the visitors stay at the lodge is the best and he or she receives a wonderful experience on his Uganda gorilla safari.
The restaurant in the lodge has unique and very creative menus that are prepared by the experienced Chef for suit the visitors taste. Dishes served in the lodge are both local and international menus,
The snack bar is well stocked and in a comfortable setting which is perfect for sharing the day’s adventures of gorilla-trekking, primate watching and bird viewing.
Silverback Lodge, Bwindi -2015 Nightly Rates
|Peak Season Rates||Single||Double|
|Bed & Breakfast USD||224||300|
|Full Board USD||248||348|
|Low Season Rates||Single||Double|
|Bed & Breakfast USD||187||237|
|Full Board USD||211||285|
Buhoma Community Rest Camp – Budget
Buhoma Community Rest Camp (BCRC) was built in the year 1993 by Buhoma Community Development Association and it’s the main source of funding to the Association activities since its inception in 1993.
The accommodation facility spanning at the extremity of Bwindi Impenetrable national park was built with aim of offering quality lodging services and facilities to travellers on their gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi.
The accommodation facilities are offered to visitors by the six Well-built bandas that are decorated with an African traditional and Architectural local Design .The Bandas are also built by use of the local Materials and each room is well furnished. The bandas range from 4 – 6 bed basing on the Banda’s Size and visitor’s need.
The campsite also has well organized and open ground where visitors can enjoy Camping activities near the Edge of the beautiful Impenetrable Forests. In addition, the campsite has Mini Bar with all local and some international drinks & Restaurant which serves both African traditional cuisines mainly Ugandan and Western Cuisines.
The lodging facility also has a local craft and Arts Center were locally made crafts are sold and therefore visitors can buy these locally made products which range from the hand woven bags to more interesting sculptures as well as baskets made from local materials.
The community campsite also organizes or makes arrangement for tourists to have cultural encounter with the local community through Local cultural Dance & Drama groups which the lodge tends to invite to entertain the visitors.
The facility also enables its visitors to have Cultural walk to tour the Batwa communities (Pygmies) who are the traditional inhabitants of the Bwindi impenetrable forests.
Buhoma Community Rest Camp Rates
|Accommodation||Full Board Single||Full Board Double||BB per person|
|BB per person||US$80||US$40||US$60|
Eco-marvels Gorilla Resort- Budget
The Resort is located in Kitahurira which is close to Buhoma and Ruhija and this makes it to be the best Suitable accommodation place for those trekking the Oruzogo as well as Habinyanja gorilla families
Ec marvels Gorilla Resort Bwindi has self-contained executive bandas as well as camping facilities. The resort has been carefully designed to integrate the natural environment which provides luxury hospitality to all guests.
The Resort accommodation is well equipped with comfortable beds and furniture. All beds are designed purposely to ensure that visitors get the maximum comfort. It has 24 hours solar power running. No detail has been overlooked in the refurbishment of this magnificent place.
Meals of choice are provided on advance indication of visitor’s choice of cuisine.
Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park is placed in the North Eastern part of Bwindi. From Buhoma Headquarters, this the drive to this part may take 2 hours to the starting point of gorilla trekking.
Ruhija part is home to gorilla families like Bitukura group, Oruzogo gorilla family and Nyakagezi gorilla family which is open for research purpose but when the demand is so high, it may be opened for tourism. This sector can also be accessed when one spends a night in Buhoma sector too.
On the road, this sector can be accessed from Kampala-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Kanungu-Ruhija
some of the accommodations in Ruhija sector include:
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge-Luxury
The safari lodge is positioned in the middle of the jungle Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and it is widely considered as one of the most beautiful, hospitable as well as comfortable lodges one should opted to stay before and when participating in Uganda’s premier Gorilla safaris.
The lodge has carefully designed rooms to blend the natural environment which provides luxury and hospitality.
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge offers superb chalet accommodation, fine dining, an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, a well-stocked bar, Wine Cellar, Free wifi Internet Connection, DSTV, Hair dryer, Gift Shop with the Best Unique Gifts, Tea and Coffee making Facilities, traditional entertainment, a mini library with magazines and books about the beautiful continent of Africa and furthermore, we accept major credit cards.
This lodge is a unique luxury hotel and the finest choice for both upper class and medium class.
Gorilla Mist Camp-Mid-range
Gorilla Mist Camp is privately operated and locally owned located accommodation facility located in Kabale district just 55km of travel from kabale town on a murrum bumpy road the wooden gate “Ndego gate” that opens up to the forest drive.
The unique Luxury Camp is facility for upper class travellers and moment visitor reaches the gate of the Camp, he or she is welcomed with breath taking scenery of the forest were the lodge is located. The camp’s location in the quiet environment makes it home but away from usually home.
The location of the lodge offers an opportunity where one is entertained by different melodies of birds. The surrounding atmosphere is very charming, calm and friendly which favors travellers interested in escaping from the city noise.
Gorilla mist camp is described as place of unfathomable natural beauty that is composed of unique natural formations, culture and colorful history as well as exciting recreation opportunities.
All the buildings of the Campsite are connected with electric lighting and there are various camping grounds for those with their own equipment to camp. Cold beers and sodas are available with local produce used to provide visitors meals.
The Camp has been carefully and well designed to integrate the natural environment which offers luxury hospitality to all guests.
The tents are well equipped with comfortable beds and furniture. All beds are designed purposely to ensure that visitors receive the comfort they deserve.
The bathrooms are fitted with hot as well as cold showers and bath tubs. For visitors searching for luxury accommodation, Gorilla Mist Camp provides the modern rooms all of which are self-contained. Running hot water available on tap in the self-contained units. Visitors can decide to take their meals in the Lodge dining area.
|Accommodation Type||Bed and Breakfast||Full Board|
|Twin/double per room||$180||$260|
Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort Campsite-Budget
The Resort campsite is Located in Ruhija Village just adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and less than 1 km from the gorillas’ natural habitat.
The community members of Katojo Parish, Kabale District created the Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort in July 2008 to support the community’s income by providing tourists with affordable accommodation and access to the region’s incredible gorilla population and other wildlife.
The Lodge Amenities offered to clients include Restaurant which serves both local and some international dishes, Tour desk which provides information about tourists’ attractions and other relevant information needed by the traveller, Laundry, Bar the is full of local and some international wines,.
The lodge has Gift shop where travellers can accesses various gifts thy can take to their home countries as proof that one had his holiday in the pearl of Africa Uganda. Onsite wildlife viewing can also be done by visitors on the lodges viewing verandas.
The entire lodge Rooms have the following amenities Fireplace, Fans as well as Self-catering and Hot water plus Private bathrooms
The activities at the Lodge that visitor can enjoy include Hiking and trekking in dense forests of Bwindi, Bird watching, Village walks mainly to the Batwa communities, Having cultural encounters through Cultural performances Craft and curio markets ,Wildlife viewing
In terms of responsible Travel, the lodge takes measures to separate waste, as well as use of water and electricity at the lodge. The lodge has information displayed at the lodge about the use of water.
The supports local schools and health care facilities, and work to make their activities environmentally sustainable.
The lodge staff are hired from the local community and provided with on-the-job training, and encouraged to pursue further studies.
We purchase locally grown food, artisanal crafts, fabric, lodge decor, and furniture from the local community.
Gorilla Safari Lodge-Luxury
Gorilla Safari Lodge is a luxurious lodge located in Nshongi area tucked away at the boundary line of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is home of the endangered mountain gorilla in the pearl of Africa Uganda.
It is the ideal base from which one can easily trek the Nshongi group of Gorillas, which is the biggest group ever habituated in Bwindi National park.
The lodge offers accommodations in eight en suite cabins with individual verandahs allowing exclusive views towards the pristine tropical rain forest. The restaurant, bar, and comfortable lounge at the main lodge have large windows to allow guests to enjoy most of the views – and a fireplace to take the chill off the misty mountain air.
The Lodge Amenities include a Restaurant and bar which serves both local and international dishes, Tour desk which provides travel information to the clients, On-site wildlife viewing, and Gift shop selling local crafts as well as Laundry service, and Camp fire
Reached by walkways along the hillside, these elegantly designed bandas offer comfort, style and privacy. All bandas have en suite bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, private verandahs and fireplaces for the refreshing mountain evenings.
Suites and family cottages have seating areas by the fireplace.
The rooms which are available in the lodge include three double bandas, three suites as well as double bandas with seating area, Two family cottages with two twin rooms and lastly One twin banda are the rooms which be booked by any visitor wishing to stay in this lodge.
The activities at the Lodge include Gorilla Trekking, Community Walks as well as Guided Forest Walks and Bird watching, Waterfall tour in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Volunteer Opportunities is can be explored by the visitors.
For the case of responsible Travel, Many vegetables served in the restaurant are sourced from community gardens and this is done as way of creating market for the local products.
The Lodge started several vegetable gardens and has supplied seedlings – so that even during low season the community has a source of income.
They work with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the local community in workshops.
Local crafts are sold at the Lodge and all profits are returned to the artists who make the local craft products using local materials.
Lodge Rates Are Showed in The Table below.
|Double banda||$300 US per room full board|
|Suite||$350 US per room full board|
|Family cottages||$500 US per cottage full board|
|Twin banda||$300 US per banda full board|
|Single guest||$200 US full board|
The lodge is just a few minutes’ walk to the Ugandan Wildlife Service hut of Rushaga, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the starting point of the Gorilla tracking.
It is the ideal base from which to trek the Nshongi group of Gorillas -the largest group of gorillas in Bwindi and the Nkuringo group which is a few minutes’ drive away.
The camp has only three traditional Bandas and its perfect place for those who desire to be connected to nature
They serve 3 meals course, and a lunch box for your tracking. Hot coffee, tea, and drinks are always available.
While at the lodge, you can also easily visit the Batwa and Bafumbira communities staying in the nearby villages and have an experience with their culture as they perform the gorilla dances for you.
How to Trek the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi
For Potential travellers planning to do a mountain gorilla safari in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest, the following briefing information applies, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority‘s ‘Gorilla Trekking Rules:
Gorilla Permits in Uganda.
You need gorilla permit to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Usually you have to obtain a gorilla permit several months in advance.
We always advise at least 5 months in advance or prior to your visit. While booking a gorilla tour, always pay your gorilla permit fee in advance to enable us acquire it for you.
Gorilla trekking is guaranteed when you acquire a permit. They are very competitive and scarce most especially during peak seasons. Sometimes gorilla tracking permits get sold out four months in advance.
A gorilla permit is a document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to enable you trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi.
A permit allows you to view gorillas for only one hour but the trekking itself can take you between 2-8 hours when searching for the mountain gorillas in the ancient Impenetrable forest.
Gorilla permit costs USD 600 per day per person. You can get the permits in Kampala -the capital City of Uganda at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters.
We do organize and book gorilla permits for our clients at no extra costs provided you book a full safari with us.
You need to mind about the gorilla permit you will be holding as it will determine the Region in which you will trek gorillas and the lodge/accommodation.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park has several sections and thus each section/region has its own gorilla families and accommodation properties.
Please contact us with date/month and year when you want to trek gorillas in Bwindi, we will then check availability of gorilla permits and inform you.
Once you have transferred your funds on to our account, we will pre purchase your permits and send you scanned copies.
To help us do this, you need to send us your passport details which are needed by Uganda Wildlife Authority in order to print and issue your gorilla permits.
Before Departing On Your Gorilla Trekking or Gorilla Tracking Tour
A maximum number of 8 visitors may trek to visit one habituated mountain gorillas group per day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
Always wash your hands before you go gorilla trekking.
On The Way To The Gorillas
Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest on your gorilla safari should be carried back out with you.
You will be taken to where the guides have observed the Mountain Gorillas the day before.
From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail. Look out for the gorillas’ nesting sites along the way!
As you approach the mountain gorillas, the guides will alert you.
When You Are With The Gorillas
A 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas should be observed at all times. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.
Keep your voices down at all times but feel free to ask your ranger guide questions.
Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking will inevitably increase the risk of morsels of food or droplets of drink being left behind. Even the tiniest leftovers could increase the risk of transmission of disease to the gorillas.
Move slowly and carefully. Do not point or wave your arms.
Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
Occasionally the gorillas charge. Don’t panic. Follow your ranger guide’s example: crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes; wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away.
Your subjects are black animals in dim light so use the right camera settings. Flash photography is not permitted under any circumstances.
The maximum time you can spend with these wonderful animals is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide may decide to finish the visit early. This is for your safety and for the safety of the gorillas.
After the visit, you are bound to be excited! But please keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking General Health Rules
Remember that mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following rules are ways to minimize the risk your visit might pose to the mountain gorillas
Respect the limits imposed on the daily number of visitors allowed with the mountain gorillas. These limits minimize the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.
If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate gorilla trekking opportunity will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded the cost of your gorilla permit.
If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.
Do not leave any rubbish (such as food wrappers or drink bottles) in the park; foreign items can harbour diseases or other contaminants.
If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the ranger guide to dig you a hole. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep. Please ensure the hole is filled after you are finished.
What To Bring On Your Gorilla Trekking Safari
Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction, suitable for climbing steep muddy slopes.
Carry a packed lunch and plenty of drinking water.
The weather can be unpredictable so carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion and a hat.
Wear or pack insect repellent.
Bring binoculars – or hire a pair from the Uganda Wildlife Authority office in the park.
Bring spare batteries and an extra memory card for your digital camera.
Using your camera flashlight is prohibited. If you are photographing using film, we recommend using 400-800 ASA film.
When To Trek The Gorillas.
Although tracking mountain gorillas can be conducted all year round in Bwindi, the majority of tourists to Bwindi prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February.
You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price.
Gorilla Families in Rushaga Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This region has 6 gorilla families
This is the largest gorilla family with 25 members, this group was named after river that flows in the area of Rushaga called river Nshongi. Nshongi family comprises of 2 silverbacks and it is led by a silverback named Nshongi and his second in command Kakono.
The group has 7 blackbacks namely Bweza, Matama, Busasa, Bwire, Munnywa, Kutu, and Tinfayo, 5 adult females namely Munini, Shida, Bukojo, Nyampundu and Bwiruka, there are also 5 jujuveniles namely Tindatine, Mahoro, Rurehuka, Mucunguzi and Mureba and finally 6 infants namely Kazani, Katoono, Mukiza, Ninsiima, Bwiruka baby, Rotary.
This family consists of 9 members. It is led by a silver back called Bweza. This family was previously part of the Nshongi family but due to misunderstandings Bweza broke away from the Nshongi family to form his own family which is named after him. This family has one silverback, 2 infants
This family has 17 members. It is led by a silverback called Rumanzi. This family was named after Kahugye hill in Rushaga sector where this family was first discovered.
This family includes 3 silverbacks 3 blackbacks, 3 female aduilts, 3juveniles and 2 infants.
This group is named after a Runyakitara word Busingye which means peace. This family has 9 members led by Busingye.
This group has 12 members led by a silverback called Mishaya. It has 2 adult females namely Bakunzi and Mwiza, 2 juveniles namely Rutaro, Mize, 5 infants but only 3 infants have names Mwiza baby 1, Mwiza baby 2 and Bakunzi. the two remaining infants are unknown.
The Bikiyingi family was discovered in Bikyingi area in the Rushaga sector hence having its name derived from the area where it was discovered.
This family is only open for habituation experience. The Bikiyingi family is led by 1 dominant silver buck called Bikiyingi. Other members in this group include 5 adult females, 2 sub adults, 2 juveniles and 1 infant.
Gorilla Families in Ruhija Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
In this sector, there are 3 gorilla families namely
This family was initially led by Rukina but he was stuck by lightening to death in 2015. This resulted into a junior and inexperienced silver back Mukiza to take leadership of the group, after a short period of time mukiza was attacked by another silver back called Rukara.
This led to the emergency of two families –kyaguliro A&B one led by Mukiza and another led by Rukara. the Mukiza family has 10 members 1 silverback Mukiza, 4 adult females, 4 infants and 1 juvenile.
On the other hand, the Rukara family has 1 silver back Rukara, 2 blackbucks, 3 aduilt females 2 juveniles and 2 infants.
This family is named after a plant commonly called “Oruzogoto” has 17 members. It is led by a silverback called Bakwate his name means “an intelligent being and learns quickly”.
There are 2 silverbacks in this family, the other silver buck is called Busungu which means “hot tempered”, 3 black bucks one of them is called Kaganga another one is called Bwoba which means “coward” and final blackbuck is called Otaka, 5 adult females, one is called Birungi which means “pretty”, Nyakiina is another one and she named after the depression on her nose ridge, Kashudwe which also has a mole on her nose, Kakobe is another adult female who was named after resemblance to the baboon called “Nkobe” in local dialect, the final adult female is Mutesi and her name means “calm or relaxed” , 3 juveniles which include Karimi named after her act of sticking her tongue out when playing Kashura named after her protruding hairless eyebrow and finally Kiromba and 4 infants which include Kanywani, Katoto, and Buchura which means the ‘youngest”.
This is the last family in the Ruhija family, it consists of 13 members. This family is led by a younger silverbuck called Ndahura regardless of his age he is the dominant male in this group.
There are 3 other silverbucks in this family namely Karamuzi, Rukumu, and Rukara, 3 adult females namely Betina, Ruhara, and Kamuga, 2 black bucks namely Obia and Mugisha 2 juveniles namely Twakire and Kabandize- this broke off the Kyaguliro family, 2 infants namely Kadogo and Mubwindi.
Buhoma Gorilla Families
As of august 2018, Buhoma sector has 4 gorilla families with katwe gorilla family being the latest addition here which was officially declared available for tracking on 20th august 2018. The gorilla families here include
This family is named after a local word “Nyanja” which means lake or water. This family consists of 19 members and it is led by Makara as the dominant silver buck. 2 black bucks namely Maraya, and mizano who was killed by a poacher. 6 adult females namely Binyonko, Nyabuche, Nyamuhango, Rukundo, Kisho and Rugyendo. 2 sub adult males namely Kavuyo and Ruyombo, 3 juveniles namely Malaika, Hamusini, Elisa, 5 infants namely Rugyendo baby infant, Binyonko baby infant, Kisho baby infant, Rukundo baby infant, Nyabuche the new born.
The Rushegura family consists of 19 members led by Mwirima a dominant silver buck. This family is named after a tree species called “Ebishegura” that’s abundant in the area where it was discovered. Other members include 1 black buck called Kabukojo, 5 adult females namely Kyirinvi, Kibande, Buzinza, Nyamunwa, Karungyi, Kalembezi a sub adult male, Ruterana a sub adult female, 5 juveniles namely Nyampazi, Kafuruka, Kibande, Karungyi, Kanywanyi, 5 infants namely Kirinvi, Bunzinza, Nyamunwa, Kibande baby infant and Katabazi.
The family was named after Mubare hills in Buhoma where this group was first seen in 1998. This family suffered loss of its first silver buck leader called Ruhondeza and this led to some of its members breaking away from the group leaving it with only 5 members. However, recently the group has grown in numbers to 11 members and it is now under the leadership of a dominant silver buck called Kanyonyi. Other members of this group include 6 adult females, 1 sub adult and 3 teenagers.
This is the most recent gorilla family that has taken shape in the buhoma sector. This family is comprised of 10 members which include 1 dominant silverbuck called katwe, 3 black bucks, 4 adult females and 2 infants. The member composition of this are really still taking shape as some members keep joining and leaving the group.
Gorilla Families in Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
As of 2018, this sector has 3 gorilla families
This family has 19 members and it is named after the sector in which it is found Nkuringo. Nkuringo family is led by a dominant silver buck called Safari.
Other members in this family include 3 other silver bucks namely Rafiki, Bahati, and Kirungi, 4 adult females namely mama Christmas, kwitonda, Samehe and Kasotora, 3 black bucks namely Karibu, Posho and Christmas, 3 juveniles namely Kwesima, Magara, Kuhirwa, 5 infants namely Rwamutwe , Muhozi Tabu, Furaha and Kiiza.
This family has 8 members. This was also named after the area it was first met. The Bushaho family is considered a breakaway group from Nkuringo family.
The family is led by Bahati a dominant silver buck. Other members of the family include 1 black buck, 3 adult females, 1 sub adult, 1 juvenile and 2 infants.
This is the newest family in the park. It is led by a dominant silver buck called Christmas as he was born on Christmas. Christmas family has 9 members and is expected to grow as it lives on.
Currently 6 out of 9 members are usually seen and these include 1 silverback Christmas, 1 black buck, 3 adult females and 1 infant.
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK AT A GLANCE
Name: Bwindi impenetrable national park
Location: continent- Africa, region- eastern Africa, Country-Uganda, district-Kanungu, direction-south western from Kampala city Uganda’s capital.
Geographical co-ordinates of the park: 01o01’S 290 41’E.
Responsible Governing body: Uganda Wildlife Authority
Size: 331sqkm Year of designation:1991
Elevation of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: highest point is Rwamunyonyi hill 2607m while lowest point is 1190m above sea level
Climate of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: experiences a tropical rainforest climate with 60mm or 2.4in of rainfall received every month, average temperature is (18-20)o C
Attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: primate species including over 400 mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, 350 bird species of which 23 species are endemic to the Albertine rift, 220 butterflies species, 27 species of lizards, geckos and chameleon, 163 tree species and 104 species of fern. There are also the Batwa people or commonly referred to as pygmies living in communities adjacent to the park.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: gorilla tracking, gorilla habituation experience, birding, nature walks, community encounters
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Buhoma Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Silver Buck Safari Lodge, Bwindi Forest Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Gift of Nature Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp, Conservation Through Public Health Camp
Access to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: can be accessed by both road and air
Travel distance and time to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: 512km or 11-hour drive away from Kampala city Uganda’s capital.
Best Time To visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
June- August and December- February this is so because these months are in the dry season when all the murram roads are easily navigable in the 4 various sectors of the park. Other people prefer to visit during the wet months.