Top 7 Things To Do In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Activities

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the most popular national park though not the most visited national park in Uganda. This is as a result of the cap on the number of people allowed to visit the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park on a given day.

The park has mainly been known for being a natural habitat for almost half of the remaining mountain gorilla population in the whole world. This has made it one of the most popular gorilla trekking destinations on the African continent.

In order to enjoy the best of Bwindi impenetrable national park, you might have to consider the following activities in and around Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park boasts of a total of 19 habituated gorilla families. Its gorilla population goes beyond 450 mountain gorillas making it one of the must-visit gorilla national parks on the African continent for anyone interested in encountering the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park offers around 152 gorilla trekking slots every day. This also implies that there are about 152 gorilla trekking permits for every single day in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park alone.

Gorilla trekking is the main adventure activity that Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has to offer. It is a great trip that can take between 2-8 hours with a highlight of one hour with the mountain gorillas. The only thing you have to put into consideration is the transfer period from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which is about 9 hours drive nonstop.

Check out our gorilla trekking packing list for proper tips on what to pack and what to leave out. Also, check out the packing list for travelers with disabilities.

Bird Watching In Bwindi

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park though commonly known for gorilla trekking is one of the topmost recommended birding destinations in Uganda.  It has three major birding sites; the Buhoma waterfall trail, the Bamboo zone, and the Mubwindi swamp trail of the famous Ruhija hiking trail.

There are a number of reasons you should pick up interest in birding. It is a good way of making friends since you will obviously do it in a group. But above all, it will help you connect with nature at a deeper level.

It is the birds that create most of the common forest rhymes and rhythms. Without the bird sounds in the air, the wilderness will altogether be a very quiet place for the most part of the day.

Some of the common birds in Bwindi impenetrable forest national parks including but not limited to crowned hornbill, cinnamon chested bee-eater, African green pigeon, African harrier hawk, Giant kingfisher among several other popular forest bird species.

Hikes In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

It is very common for people to simply portray gorilla trekking as the only adventure activity that can be carried out in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park but Bwindi is one of the most beautiful and leading hiking destinations not only in Uganda but also around the world.

It has about nine hiking trails ranging from shorts trails that can take between 3-4 hours. These include but not limited to the Muzabajiro loop trail, Habinyanja trail among several other short trails.

To have the best of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, it might take you a minimum of 4 days. This is hiking only without considering the package of gorilla trekking. Some trails can be down in pairs. However, in the case of the Ivy river trail, you will have to take a full day on simply one trail.

Other hiking trails to consider in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include;

  • Bamboo trail
  • Kashasha river trail
  • Mubwindi swamp trail
  • Rushura hill trail
  • Munyanga waterfall trail
  • Rusizi river trail

Besides the challenging terrains, these hiking trails offer opportunities for spotting most of the non-habituated wildlife species in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park including but not limited to; African forest elephants, forest buffaloes, vervet monkeys, Black and white colobus monkey, Bush pigs, over 220 butterfly species, geckos frogs, chameleons among several other wildlife species.

Community Outreaches

The Buhoma sector is the most popular of all Bwindi sectors. It offers a number of community outreaches ranging from community hospital outreaches, craft making ladies’ groups, river Muyaga where women often wash clothes from among several other places.

The tour will only be rewarding in case you have a very resourceful tour guide to share with you some of the backgrounds of certain places and activities. The tour guide will also introduce to the traditional healer as well as places where the local brew is made.

Batwa Cultural Encounters

The Batwa people were the former inhabitants of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park before it was gazetted by the government as a wildlife conservation area.  Their way of life rotated hunting, bee harvesting among several wilderness survival activities.

Unfortunately, they no longer live within the forest but their heritage was preserved since they are still allowed to access the forest. A tour to the Batwa community will introduce to their previous wilderness way of life, and how they are also trying to cope up with the changes in their habitation.

Visit The Batwa People (Pygmies) in their communities

The Batwa cultural encounter is one of the special tours that are highly recommended in the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park area. We have never heard anyone that goes for the Batwa community encounter come out with negative reviews of the activity. It is a must-do activity for anyone considering Bwindi impenetrable forest national park as their next destination.

Gorilla Habituation

Gorilla habituation can easily be mistaken for gorilla trekking. However, unlike gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation only attracts a few people because of its high-end permit. The permit goes for US$1500 per permit.

The main difference between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation lies in three main aspects. The time you spend with the mountain gorillas, the tour group size, and the type of mountain gorillas you will encounter.

During gorilla habituation, you join the team of scientists who are trying to familiarize the mountain gorillas with the aspect of human beings as part of their environment. Short of this activity, there is no hope for gorilla trekking. Therefore, when you go for gorilla habituation, you encounter wilder mountain gorillas than those you encounter during gorilla trekking.

However, this poses a serious challenge; the mountain gorillas will often run away when human beings step into their presence. For this reason, it might not be much of a thrilling experience like gorilla trekking though worth every penny for conservation purposes and also for the sake of the future of gorilla trekking.

Gorilla habituation is also carried out by a maximum of four people contrary to 8 people for gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation also takes a full day contrary to merely the one hour spent with the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is one of the best ways to explore the Bwindi community. These kinds of safaris are organized by the Buhoma community rest camp under the ride 4 woman group. All proceedings go to empowering the women in the community of the Buhoma sector.

Biking safaris were not the most popular in Uganda until the nation-wide lockdown that saw bike riding as the basic transport means that were available during that time. It gave several people an opportunity to challenge themselves on long riding trips. Though till now no one has attempted Kampala to Bwindi, we hope in the future, it will be one of the challenges that the riders will take on

Jinja, Mabira forest, Ssezibwa falls community biking are among the few places near Kampala to consider for your community biking experience.  We recommend our clients to attempt the Buhoma biking experience which takes about 5 hours a day after their gorilla trekking experience in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

The trip will not only benefit physically but also enrich you in terms of exposure. There is a special exposure that you can only get in a biking safari around Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.