Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

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Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

When you travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, it is more than just another safari, it’s an adventure that connects you with the heart of Africa. Situated in the southwestern corner of Uganda, this untouched wilderness is celebrated for its biodiversity and as a sanctuary for the endangered mountain gorillas. The area spans over 331 square kilometres of jungle forests and hosts over half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. The actual forest is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals, including many kinds of birds, butterflies, and other creatures.

The main attraction of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is undoubtedly the opportunity to trek through the forest and come face-to-face with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Through this encounter, you can get up close views of these amazing animals and understand their intricate social systems and behaviour. JENMAN African Safaris have put together this guide for travelling to this extraordinary African destination to have an intimate encounter with these stunning great apes.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Mountain Gorillas
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Mountain Gorillas

Best Time to Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The best times to travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are during the dry seasons, from June to August and December to February. During these months, the trails are more passable and the visibility is better.

The Park has 4 trekking sectors:
  • Buhoma Sector: It was the first sector to open its paths to those eager to tracking the mountain gorillas. With many accommodation options, Buhoma is perfect for those who wish to wake up to the sounds of the forest. Take part in the guided nature walks, engage with the local Batwa community, and of course, come face-to-face with the mountain gorillas.
  • Ruhija Sector: This sector is known for its cooler temperatures and the opportunity to meet some of the forest’s rare species, such as the African Green Broadbill. Ruhija is an incredible area for those who seek tranquility and an intimate connection with the untouched world.
  • Rushaga Sector: Situated in the south, Rushaga is has steep slopes and deep valleys. But don’t let its rugged terrain deter you; it’s in these landscapes that some of the most magical encounters occur. Rushaga is famed for its gorilla habituation experience, a unique opportunity designed for those who wish to spend more time with these fascinating beings in their natural habitat.
  • Nkuringo Sector: Nkuringo, on the southeastern edge of the Bwindi, offers a quiet, off-the-beaten-path experience. It’s has more demanding treks and is ideal for the adventurous at heart, offering a closer look at the harmonious existence of humans and wildlife.

Each sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a world of its own, rich in stories and alive with the stories of mother nature. Each offering different experiences and gorilla families to visit. The treks can last anywhere from a few hours to the whole day, depending on the location of the gorilla family. Once you find them, you will have limited time to observe them. This encounter, while brief, is often described as a profoundly moving experience, offering unique insights into the lives of these incredible primates.

Black bee-eater
Black bee-eater

Birdwatching in Bwindi

Bwindi isn’t just about gorillas. It’s a haven for birders, with over 350 species recorded, including several Albertine Rift endemics. Guided nature walks through different trails provide opportunities to spot exotic birds, butterflies and the rich variety of plant life.

  • African Green Broadbill: This small, vivid bird, clothed in varying shades of green, is a rare gem found only in the misty montane forests of Bwindi. Watching it flit amongst the foliage is akin to discovering a hidden emerald.
  • Handsome Francolin: As its name suggests, this bird carries an air of elegance. With its striking plumage and distinguished call, the Handsome Francolin is a sight to behold along the forest paths.
  • Shelley’s Crimsonwing: One of the most sought-after finches for birdwatchers visiting Bwindi. The males boast a vibrant red under their wings, a stark contrast to the green backdrop of their home.
  • African Green Broadbill: Exclusive to the Albertine Rift, its vibrant green plumage camouflages it against the leaves, making it a delightful challenge for birdwatchers to spot.
  • Regal Sunbird: This shimmering beauty, adorned in an iridescent cloak, feeds on the nectar of the highland flowers. Watching a Regal Sunbird is like watching sunlight dance.
  • Rwenzori Turaco: A true jewel of the forest, this bird is easily recognizable by its striking blue and green plumage, red beak, and the distinctive crest upon its head. Its call reverberates through the air, enchanting all who hear it.
  • Grauer’s Rush Warbler: A master of hide and seek, this elusive bird prefers the dense undergrowth. Its melodious song is a delight, guiding you through its secret hideouts.
  • Black Bee-eater: With their glossy black bodies and bright red throats, these birds are a stunning sight as they dart through the air, catching insects with remarkable precision.
  • Purple-breasted Sunbird: This radiant bird, with its deep purple chest and metallic green head, is a testament to the vibrant life force that pulses through Bwindi.
  • Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher: This charming bird, with its distinct yellow eyes, offers a contrast to the deeper hues of the forest. It’s a testament to the variety that flourishes in the heart of Uganda.
Regal Sunbird
Regal Sunbird

Getting There

Reaching Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda is an adventure in itself. The journey typically begins from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, taking about 8-10 hours by road. Alternatively, for those short on time, domestic flights are available from Entebbe to Kisoro or Kihihi, followed by a short drive to the park.

Where to Stay

Accommodations in and around Bwindi cater to a range of preferences and budgets. Options vary from eco-friendly lodges and luxury camps to more modest guesthouses. Many of these establishments offer stunning views of the forest canopy and prioritise sustainability, allowing guests to stay comfortably while minimising their environmental footprint.

Mahogany Springs Lodge is the perfect base for your gorilla trekking adventure, offering privacy and optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. It consists of 12 Luxury Suites, surrounded by beautiful gardens and panoramic views of the verdant valley.

Mahogany Springs Lodge - Bwindi - Uganda
Mahogany Springs Lodge – Bwindi – Uganda

Health and Safety

Visitors to Bwindi are advised to take precautions against malaria and other tropical diseases. Consultation with a travel health specialist before departure is advisable. Additionally, obtaining travel insurance that covers medical evacuation is recommended due to the remote location of the forest. A permit is required for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. The number of permits is limited to minimize the impact on the gorillas and their habitat. It’s crucial to book your permit well in advance.Gear and Preparation Wear comfortable hiking boots and long pants to protect against stinging nettles. It’s also advisable to carry a waterproof jacket, as the weather in Bwindi can be unpredictable.

We are a leading safari tour operator that provides world-class guided group tours and tailor-made packages throughout Southern Africa, East Africa, and Madagascar, ensuring unique wildlife experiences.

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