ABOUT THE PARK
The Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one group for research.
Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 459 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
Bwindi is a home to atleast 200 butterfly species including the eight albertine rift endemics.Also a home to many reptiles.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls, and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.
HOW TO GET TO THE PARK?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed following several routes. Here are some of the most common routes to take.
Kampala City – Ntungamo Town – Rukungiri Town – Kihihi Town – Buhoma Town
This is perhaps the quickest and most direct route for tourists traveling from Kampala. The route follows a tarmacked jorueny for about 390 kilometers to Rukungiri followed by 82 kilometers on winding murram roads to the park’s headquarters at Buhoma.
Kampala City – Kabale Town – Kanungu Town – Buhoma HQ
The route is tarmacked for about 414 kilometers between Kampala and Kabale for approximately 6 hours after which tourists follow a winding murram road for 120 kilometers through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for another 5 hrs until you reach Buhoma where the park’s headquarters are found. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended.
Queen Elizabeth National Park (Mweya) – Kihihi Town – Buhoma HQ
This route leads through Queen Elizabeth National Park’s southerly called Ishasha, providing the chance of a stopover in search of the iconic tree-climbing lions. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately 160 kilometers from Mweya and about 64 kilometers from Ishasha. The journey is mainly along a dirt road. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended.
Kampala City – Kabale Town – Ruhija Sector – Buhoma HQ
The distance from Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma is about 95 kilometers over a winding murram road; a journey that lasts about 4 hours. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended.
Kampala City – Kabale Town – Nkuringo Sector
The distance from Kabale to Nkuringo is about 105 kilometers; approximately 4 hours in total along a mountainous murram road. The majority of tourists often overnight in Kisoro which is about 80 kilometers from Kabale town before proceeding to Nkuringo or the Rushaga sector the following morning for the gorilla trek. The road from Kisoro is a winding 35-kilometer journey that takes at least one hour or an hour and a half. A 4WD vehicle is recommended for both approaches to Nkuringo.
Bwindi is served by a series of flights including a daily scheduled flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro Airstrip for tourists visiting the park’s southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga. From Kisoro, tourists will need a 4WD vehicle to transfer them along a winding murram road to their lodge in time for the next day’s trek. The park’s northerly frontier is served by a schedule of daily flights from Entebbe to Kihihi airstrip from which tourists will need a 4WD vehicle to transfer them along a winding murram road to their lodge in time for the next day’s trek.
Scheduled and chartered flights last only about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
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