Bwindi impenetrable national park is Uganda’s principal gorilla trekking destination and frequently visited of all national parks. Due to its uniqueness, diverse nature, seemingly impenetrable forest, Bwindi presents itself as a perfect destination for intrepid travelers, adventure enthusiasts, nature-lovers, leisure travelers and researchers, among others. It is basically a place for everyone.
Bwindi is synonymous with Mountain gorillas, and any trip to the park without a gorilla trek is half – complete. Mountain gorillas form a big story for Bwindi national park, and it has been ranked as the park with the highest concentration of mountain gorillas numbering up to 500 individuals – almost half of the world’s total.
Interestingly, most of these are habituated for trekking activities on a daily basis, and Bwindi is home to 15 habituated gorilla families which are well distributed with in the 4 trekking regions.
With over 15 gorilla groups, Bwindi doubles as a national park with highest number of habituated gorillas. The 4 almost virgin gorilla regions are home to these families and allow eco-friendly trekking experiences all year long. The four regions include Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, and Rushaga in the south–east and Nkuringo in the extreme south of the park.
Location of Bwindi national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in the south western corner of Uganda, bordering D.R. Congo on one side and Mgahinga gorilla national park on the other side. It lies at the tip of Albertine rift which runs from the north to southern Africa.
As a result of this location, Bwindi is made up of smoky hills, blanketed by lush impenetrable forests that are known to shelter one of the world’s most endangered primates. By road, Bwindi is 510km away from Kampala and only 220km from Kigali city.
Accessing Bwindi national park by air
Bwindi national park is well served with numerous airstrips that are within a few distance from particular gorilla regions.
Airstrips that serve Bwindi national park include;
This is located in Kanungu district, north of Bwindi, close to Buhoma park headquarters. It takes only 1 hour drive to reach Buhoma and 2 hours to reach Ruhija sector. It serves the two gorilla regions, Ruhija and Buhoma. Kihihi operates daily flights from Kampala, Entebbe, Pakuba and Mweya, therefore easy to connect from so many destinations. Flight to Kihihi airstrip from Entebbe / Kampala takes only 45 minutes, 30 minutes from Mweya and 45 minutes from Pakuba.
Kisoro / Nyakabande airstrip
This airstrip is located in the outskirts of Kisoro town. It connects travelers easily to the southern sectors of Bwindi, which is Rushaga and Nkuringo. It is also a prime connecting hub for Mgahinga gorilla national park.
This is close to Buhoma sector in northern Bwindi. It is a major get-way to Buhoma gorilla trekking region, and handles mostly private charter flights.
Getting to Bwindi national park by road
Besides air transport, Bwindi can be easily accessed by road, either from Kigali or Kampala cities. Either way the roads are well tarmacked apart from the feeder roads that connect from the main highways to park headquarters, which are also under construction.
Kigali to Bwindi route offers the easiest access to Bwindi national park as a drive will take you between 4-5 hours to reach any region in the park. The route from Kampala on the other hand is long, taking up to 9 hours’ drive but rewards travelers with unmatched scenic views of Uganda’s undulating hills and sprawling vegetation.