What You Need To Know Before You Self Drive To Bwindi

There might not be many reasons someone might have considered a self drive to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park other than gorilla trekking. But besides gorilla trekking, the following things are also important to note about Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Bwindi is Highly Recommended

In 2019, CNN travel ranked Bwindi impenetrable forest national park among the top 25 most beautiful places not only on the African continent but in the whole world.

In 2017; CNN travel named the 5 best national parks on the African continent; 4 of these were East African national parks where Bwindi impenetrable forest national park also featured. Again in April 2019; CNN travel ranked Bwindi impenetrable forest national park as the most beautiful and the most recommended hiking destination in the whole world.

Though gorilla trekking is a combination of hiking and spotting the mountain gorillas; anyone that goes to Bwindi specifically for hiking tends to have a more spectacular hiking experience far more than those who only hike for the sake for seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

It should be noted, CNN travel has never ranked Bwindi impenetrable forest national park as the leading gorilla trekking destination, rather recommends it highly for people who wish to have a wholesome experience of the park that is not only limited to gorilla trekking.

Full Day Journey

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is not one of those places you can visit in simply one day. If you are coming from Kampala or Entebbe; it will take you around 9 hours to transfer to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This means that anyone planning a short trip to Bwindi needs a minimum of 3 days at their disposal.

However; that raises a serious question; “what about the 2 days gorilla safari?” To answer this very important and valid question; we need to set some ground rules. You cannot travel to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in just two days unless you are not going to do any activity. Therefore; for someone consider any kind of visit to Bwindi but only has two days at their disposal will have to consider connecting through Kigali Rwanda instead of Kampala.

That raises another important question. It is possible to visit Uganda and Rwanda? The answer is a “yes” if you are simply flying into both these countries. But if you are considering a self drive safari, then you will have to wait until Uganda-Rwanda land borders open. For now; the day of opening is still uncertain. But all that a side; assuming Uganda-Rwanda Land borders are open!

With Uganda-Rwanda borders open; you can use Kigali international airport for your arrival. Then drive to a lodge near or in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park; trek with the gorillas the following day. Important to note; you will be transferring back to Kigali on the very day you finish your gorilla trek. But all this is not possible for now because Uganda-Rwanda border is still closed.

Therefore you will have to stick with a full transfer to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. But if you have enough time at your disposal, you can make a few stops instead of driving straight to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Recommended Stops

There are a few places that are recommended to include or consider for your Bwindi itinerary. Many people have considered igongo cultural center in Mbarara, Lake Mburo National park, as well as a stop at the Equator.

Instead of driving straight to Bwindi, you can have a break at the Equator before proceeding for your overnight at Lake Mburo national park. Then it recommended you explore part of lake Mburo national park in a day or two before proceeding to Igongo cultural center and then continuing to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Recommended Car

In case you are driving straight to Bwindi, any off-road car can suffice.  Whether it is as small as a 3 door Rav4, or a 5 door Rav4; if all you need is visiting Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, even the small off-roaders can handle the terrain.

Toptent Toyota Prado

Top tent Toyota Prado

However for the sake of an exceptional camping experience, the Land cruisers are recommended because of the rooftop tent camping experience in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. There are a number of lodges and campsites with the national park to help you pull off this special camping experience.

Best Gorilla Trekking Season

The best gorilla trekking season is July to August but it is also the busiest gorilla trekking season. In case you wish to go gorilla trekking in season that is not as busy as July and August, you might have to consider the months of December, January and February.

Securing Gorilla Trekking Permits

In the low seasons such as November and April; it is possible to organize your gorilla trekking permits on ground. However, it is recommended you book your gorilla trekking permits a few months before the gorilla trekking date.