Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
On the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley lies the unspoiled rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This park is the finest place to track mountain gorillas in Uganda as these endangered primates are protected in this dense, lush rainforest. The park is home to nine other primate species and is a wonderland for birdwatching – with 23 out of the 350 species endemic to the Rift. Bwindi also boasts 220 recorded species of butterflies, coloring the jungle.
Best Time To Go
Average Safari Cost
$300-$700 pp/day. Park fee: $710
Gorilla trekking, birdwatching – many Albertine Rift endemics, multitude of butterfly species, inspiring forest walks
Why Visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda?
Bwindi is an unspoiled rainforest that is famous for the mountain gorillas who are protected in their wet, dense habitat. Tracking these primates through the lush foliage is at the top of many adventurers’ lists, and guarantees to be a memorable experience.
Birdwatching is excellent at Bwindi, with the park boasting 350 species, 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, including the blue-headed sunbird and Neumann's warbler.
If you think that this pristine rainforest could not be more fascinating, the 220 species of butterflies are sure to prove you wrong with their stunning beauty.
If you cannot afford the gorilla tracking permits, do not fret – the forest holds so much wonder and beauty, all of which can be seen on guided forest walks. The gorillas are not the only primates who call this mist-shrouded forest home, and you will not be disappointed.
Pros And Cons
- Ones in a lifetime gorilla trekking - fantastic experience
- Gorgeous rainforest walks
- Astonishing 220 butterfly species
- Conveniently located and can be reached by domestic or chartered flight, saving hours of travelling time
- Excellent birdwatching
- Rainfall happens throughout the year, causing some roads and trails to become inaccessible
- Permits for gorilla trekking are limited and expensive
Best Time To Go
- Driest months: June to July and January to February
- Wettest months: March to May and October to November
Although even the driest months will have some rainfall
Bwindi has a mild, but wet climate that is more pleasant in the drier months – tracking gorillas is also more enjoyable in warmer weather, when the sun can cut through the mist, and the ground is less wet and muddy. Sodden trails result in a messy, slippery and unpleasant experience.
The rainfall also results in persistent mist and inaccessible roads, which makes spotting wildlife rather challenging. These factors will also make birdwatching more challenging, even though birdlife is good throughout the year.
The best time for birdwatching is in March and September, while the nesting season is in May and June. As with the rest of Africa, migratory birds can be seen at Bwindi from November till April. The park is open all yea round, if you’re not put off by the rain.
For more details about when to visit broken down by months and seasons see our Uganda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Start your African Adventure
The Ultimate Gorilla Experience
Uganda is a land of contrasts. In half a day you can drive from mist-shrouded volcanic mountains to hot hazy savannah, dappled with wildlife. Serene undulating hills of tea plantations, lush but ordered, give way to tangled jungle and rainforest with the musical accompaniment of chaotic, cacophonous birdlife. Uganda is alive with these contrasts: The tiniest sunbirds, iridescent in the morning light, the massive lumbering yet silent elephant, disappearing like a vapor behind the trees, the chimpanzees crashing about the forest canopy, the lugubrious gorilla, chewing thoughtfully in the bamboo thicket. There’s the Nile, twisting its way north like a shimmering ribbon, through arid semi-desert scattered about with rocky kopjes. Snow-capped peaks, tropical, sandy, freshwater beaches, and smiling faces everywhere. It’s all here, a feast for all the senses.
4 Day Gorilla Trekking & Uganda Wildlife Safari
This affordable 4 Day Gorilla Trekking & Uganda Wildlife Safari takes you African Mountain Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to encounter these endangered primates in the wild - a rare and unforgettable wildlife experience! The Uganda Budget Lodge Safari also travels to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel and game viewing in Uganda's top national park. Safari highlights include a village walk near Bwindi Park and visiting Igongo Cultural Village.A once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking and wildlife adventure in Uganda!
Wildlife And Birds
The endangered mountain gorillas are the main attraction at Bwindi. But visitors can also look forward to encounters with nine other primate species on their way, including black-and-white colobus, the rare l’Hoest monkey, olive baboon, and chimpanzee (rarely seen).
Bwindi is also home to elephants (rarely seen) and six species of antelope, including bushbuck and duiker.
The park has a large number of bird and butterfly species as well, with roughly 350 bird species and 220 butterfly species recorded, ensuring an impressive checklist.
- Chimpanzee, elephant, l’Hoest monkey
Frequently Seen Animals
- Gorilla, bushbuck, duiker, black-and-white colobus, olive baboon
Bwindi is a prime birdwatching destination with an estimated 350 species of birds – 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, and 14 are not documented in the rest of Uganda. The best birdwatching areas are the bamboo zone, the Buhoma waterfall trail and the Mubwindi swamp trail. Notable birds include the blue-headed sunbird, Shelley’s crimsonwing and handsome francolin. November till April is the best time to see migratory birds.
- For a complete list of endangered birds that can be seen in Uganda, please see our Uganda Safari – Complete Country Guide.
Endemic and Near Endemic Birds
- African broadbill, Black bee-eater, Black-billed turaco, Black-faced rufous warbler, Black-faced warbler, Blue-headed sunbird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Grauer's broadbill, Handsome francolin, Many-coloured bush-shrike, Mountain masked apalis, Neumann’s warbler, Olive-breasted greenbul, Purple-breasted sunbird, Regal sunbird, Ruwenzori apalis, Shelley's crimsonwing, Western green tinkerbird, Yellow-streaked greenbul
Getting There And Safety
Most visitors enter Uganda via Entebbe International Airport (EBB), roughly 46 km (29 miles) from Kampala. If you are visiting as part of a tour, your guide will arrange all your transportation for the duration of your visit. This is highly recommended in Ugande, given that large parts of the country are covered in dense jungle.
Travelling straight to Bwindi by road will take approximately 6 to 8 hours, and a 4WD vehicle will be necessary for the rainy months. Thankfully, the park can also be reached by a scheduled domestic flight or a chartered flight (both can be arranged as part of your tour package). Alternatively, Bwindi can be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park (2-3 hour drive) and Lake Mburo National Park (4-6 hour drive).
The malaria risk is high throughout the country, with the exception of the high altitude mountains, including the Ruwenzoris and Mount Elgon. The rainy seasons of Match to May and October to December have the highest risk of malaria.
As all parks are high-risk maleria sectors, it is recommended to generously apply mosquito repellent that contains over 30% DEET or more, and to take anti-malarial mediation.
This advice is not meant to replace a medical professional, and you ask speak to you doctor or travel clinic about the vaccinations needed for Uganda.
For more details about malaria and vaccinations see our Uganda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
As the people you will come into contact with are mostly tourists, the camps or tour operators and the staff that works for the park, a trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park can generally be safe. It is important to note, however, that Uganda is a developing country, and crime such as muggings and thefts are commonplace, particularly in cities such as Kampala. Avoid walking alone in the city and carrying expensive and important items on your person or on display. Generally, organized tours to attractions in the city, and staying at a respectable hotel overnight are relatively risk-free.
It is recommended that you do not swim in the lakes or rivers in Uganda, as you could contract Bilharzia. Minute snails transmit this disease by making their way into the liver after entering through the skin. While the disease can be easily treated, it is always best to prevent illness instead. Symptoms are cough, abdominal pain, fever and fatigued later on.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Uganda. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.
Uganda is typically warm and moist for most of the year. Bwindi is a mild but wet park and wet-weather gear is recommended, even for the drier months. Sunscreen and a good, wide-brimmed sunhat are always a great idea for almost any safari, and Uganda is no different. It is also generally a good idea to wear long pants, sturdy comfortable boots, and long-sleeved shirts.
For more details on what to pack see Safari Packing List.