Hiking Trails in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Whereas Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is popular for mountain gorilla trekking, visitors on Uganda safaris have a chance to engage in tremendous hiking adventures along its remarkable trails. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Bwindi features a number of unique wildlife that most tourists are attracted to enjoy in Southwestern Uganda. The park extends up to 331 square kilometers and it is situated within the misty valleys of South-western Uganda.

It is one of the oldest and most ecologically rich tropical rainforests that comes with more than 1000 species of flowering plants, 324 tree and shrub species and 104 fern species, and to leave out 310 butterfly species, 27 frog species, chameleons, geckos and the 11 (eleven) primate species that include the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, L’Hoests, Red tailed and Blue monkey, Black and white colobus monkey, Olive baboons and all of which provide hikers with lifetime experiences.

About 480 rare mountain gorillas call Bwindi their home and this represent nearly half of all the mountain gorillas that live on earth today; 350 species of birds with 23 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift and hence making it the best destination for gorilla trekking and birding safaris in Uganda. For bird enthusiasts, the notable birds to sight while on hiking through the trails in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are the short tailed warbler, Bar tailed trogon, Kivu ground thrust, dusky crimson wing, Grauer’s rush warbler Yellow eyed black fly catcher, White tailed blue monarch, Rusty faced woodland warbler and others. While gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most sought after adventures by trekkers, visitors can also extend their staying in Uganda by engaging in hiking tours. There are also about 120 mammal species, for instance, the forest elephants, bush pig, Duikers, giant forest hog, cats and others. Each forest trail comes with at least Rivers, Waterfalls, Swamps and high level of wildlife confinement that any hiker enthusiast shouldn’t miss out in life.

For hiking safaris along Bwindi trails, you need a backpack for you to carry your bottled water, packed lunch; light hiking boots but they should be water proof, long sleeved shirts/T-shirts, hat, sunglasses, Water proof rain jacket, binoculars and cameras with extra batteries. Note that the altitude keeps changing and from Buhoma to Nkuringo sectors, you will encounter steep hikes, challenging but repays with stunning views. You can go for 2 (two) gorilla treks, the one in the Buhoma and Nkuringo /Rushaga region. As well, there is Gorilla Habituation Experience for you to participate in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park which allows you to enjoy 4 hours on a face to face encounter with gorillas.

Hiking trails in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park largely provides a chance to tourists to catch a glimpse at the birds, butterflies, apes and trees via the Munyanga waterfall, River Ivi, Rushura, Mubwindi Swamp nature walks and Bamboo as well as cultural encounters at Buhoma Village where you will have a chance to see traditional homestead, the healer, the banana brewing exercise, traditional handcraft and cultural performances.

The Munyanga River trail

The trail features as one of the most remarkable hiking trails in Bwindi and it is ideal for short hikes. It comes with birds and apes as well as stunning waterfall that also feature a number of tree ferns, epithetic, orchids and Bwindi Forest’s colorful array of butterflies. The trail gives the true reflection of tropical rain forest.

The Rusizi River trail

For visitors who want to hike for longer distances, this is ideal trail for you and it is best for bird watchers. However, you need 4×4 car, to help you cross the rugged centre of the park through Ruhija. Hiking this trail rewards visitors with spectacular views of the duikers, apes and all forest and grassland birds. In Ruhija sector, tourists spend 3 hour scenery packed hike to the Mubwindi swamp.

Rushura trail

This comes with stunning views of the Western Rift Valley floor. To the west, the Virunga National Park (Congo’s Parc Nationale des Virungas) provides the amazing scenery of clear Lake Edward, Lake George and the Rwenzori Mountains.

Muzabajiro trail

The trail comes with exceptional scenery of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. It also features a number of pre historic tree ferns for you to view along the way. At the top of this trail, the trail comes with the most an incredible site for you to have your picnic lunch. This trail extends up to six kilometers and it features apes, birds and remarkable views of the Virunga Mountain ranges.

Bamboo trail

This is probably where the hugest numbers of attractions are centered in Bwindi impenetrable forest and refuges about 14 unique vegetation types. It allows visitors to catch views of Lake Bunyonyi and the dense Mafuga forest. It takes about six hours as you head towards Rwamunyonyi peak an incredible site for birders and descend takes you about three hours to Mubwindi swamp where mostly endemic and localized African green broad bill thrives.

The Kashasha River trail

Kashasha river trail begins from Nkuringo area prior sloping down the steep terrain via community land to arrive the park buffer zone. The path crosses the junction of 2 Rivers inside the forest after another 20 minute ascent the trail where you meet alternative path-the Ivy River trail the forest is one and half hours from Buhoma area. The hike towards the Buhoma park headquarters on the Kashasha River trail is 5 hours between Nkuringo and Buhoma or six to seven hours from Buhoma to Nkuringo sector.

Waterfall Trails

This takes visitors up to Bwindi’s spectacular waterfall. The trail is found around Rushaga region and covers only four hours.

River Ivi trail

This is ideal for birding as you hike through the escarpments of the entire forest emerging around Nkuringo on the southern part. The hikes take around 7 (seven) hours to complete the 14 kilometers. It covers Mukempunu that denotes “place of pigs” and so don’t be surprised to meet most of the wild pigs along the Ivi River trail.

The Habinyanja trail

This trail is amazing after or before you have tracked mountain gorillas around Habinyanja group. It is a 4 to 6 hour trail. It passes River Munyaga from where visitors can link up to a very steep ascent of the Riyovi and Habigorogoro ridges that directly overlook River Buhoma. It is from here that you can explore the legendary African corner that derived its name from the piece of rock whose shape resembles the African map. The trail takes visitors up to the great Habinyanja swamp. And for bird watchers, this is the best site for you to see African black duck, black bee eaters and pel’s fishing owl and others.

Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

By road

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is situated in south western Uganda about 530 kilometers from Kampala. On road, you can take the Queen Elizabeth National Park (Mweya)-Kihihi-Buhoma. This is the main stopover for most tourists and it also gives visitors a chance to catch a glimpse of the tree climbing lions at Ishasha sector.

You can also take;

Kampala-Kibale-Kanungu-Buhoma about five to six hours

Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo (7-9 hours)

Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma;- A six hour journey

By air

There are chartered flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield and then land in Kayonza and Kihihi-Northern sector and Nyakabande in Kisoro for visitors who are interested in visiting the southern region of Bwindi.