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 rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park was gazetted in 1991 and gorilla tracking started in 1993 with one family which have grown to 13 habituated families as of now. Bwindi has the most habituated gorilla families of all the gorilla parks in the Virunga ranges.
Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season.
Bwindi impenetrable National park is visited throughout the year for gorilla safari adventures. Notably the park is divided in three major regions where gorilla trekking activities take place.
The southern sector of Bwindi has the most habituated gorilla families and can permit the most tourists for tracking on any given day- there is a total of six habituated gorilla families with every family accommodating 8 tourists per day. The gorilla families in this region are; Nshongi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza and Nkuringo. There is another family called Bikingye that is under habituation that will make the number even bigger in the southern sector.
Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Travelers rest Kisoro.
The southern Sector of Bwindi is majorly accessed through Kisoro town.
This part of Bwindi has four habituated gorilla families and is second in terms of tourists visiting for gorilla safaris on any day. The families found in Ruhija are; Oruzogo, Bitukura, Rukara and Mukiza. Rukara and Mukiza were originally one family and until they split they were under Kyaguliro family.
Available tourist accommodation includes lodges like Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge and Bakiga Lodge
This part of Bwindi has the family that was first habituated for gorilla trekking. It consists of three gorilla families of Buhoma, Habinyanja and Rushegura. It is the most developed part of the park with much improved infrastructure.
Available tourist accommodation: we have Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Mahogany springs, Silver Back lodge and many other budget options.
The park is in a remote location, and reaching the park involves a long difficult journey. Roads are in a bad condition. But if driving to the southern Bwindi, the Road from Kampala to Kisoro is all paved and first class. The bad section of the road is only about 35 Kms to the forest.
Gorilla Tracking is the park's main tourist attraction. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit to do so. While planning your Uganda safari, you can always contact a tour operator to help you with selection of the gorilla permits based on which section of Bwindi you would be visiting. Otherwise gorilla permits are purchased at Uganda Wildlife Authority. Selected gorillas families have been habituated to human presence and the number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent degradation of the habitat and risks to the gorillas. Gorilla Tracking Safaris generate much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority and neighboring communities which is crucial for gorilla conservation. The gorillas seldom react to tourists. There are strict rules for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases passing from them to the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking is the major activity in this part of the park. There are however other activities that take place in this park that include, cultural experience by visiting the Batwa communities that can be found in Buhoma(Northern region), forest walks, birding and nature walks.