Top Things to Do in Bwindi National Park

Tourist Activities Conducted Within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Gorilla National Park is one of the must-visit destinations by majority of tourists that visit Uganda, mainly because it is a haven to more than 480 of the critically endangered Mountain gorillas that are found in only three countries in the whole World-Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Uganda. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1991 and is surprisingly the only place in Africa where Mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees can be found.

Interestingly, most tourists know Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for only gorilla tracking but there is more to this destination than meets the eye. Did you know you can actually also enjoy bird watching, nature walks/Hiking, the Batwa cultural experience, mountain biking and the Gorilla Habituation Experience?

It is the only place you will enjoy this unforgettable experience in a lifetime. Some of the attractions to expect here include over 1000 flora species including 160 tree species and 100 fern species, about 120 mammal species such as Forest elephants, primates like Red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, Mountain gorillas, Vervet monkeys, Olive baboons, L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, forest buffaloes, Duikers,  bushbucks, serval cats and the giant forest hogs among others.

If you are a birder, then this is real Paradise with over 340 species of birds like the handsome francolin, Chestnut-throated Apalis, the Rwenzori Batis, African green broadbill, mountain-masked Apalis, white-browed Crombec, the yellow-faced woodland warbler and the white-tailed flycatcher.

Provided are the detailed activities tourists can actually relish when they visit this wonderful destination;

  • Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekking is and will always be the number one activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is undeniably the number one reason why tourists visit the country. This destination offers a phenomenal backdrop for this exceptional activity and there are 11 habituated gorilla families distributed across the four sectors-Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo thus only 88 permits are available per day.

  • Gorilla Habituation Experience

You can enjoy Gorilla trekking from all the four National Parks where the Mountain gorillas are found but the Gorilla Habituation Experience can only be enjoyed from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park whereby instead of the usual one hour offered during gorilla trekking, tourists get up to four hours to spend with a gorilla family still undergoing habituation. Currently, only two groups (in the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga) can be visited for this experience and costs only $1500 per person.

  • The Batwa Cultural Experience (Cultural Encounters)

The Batwa pygmies were the first inhabitants of the Park and lived in the forest as hunter-gatherers. Much as they lived in the forest for many years, these people left small ecological footprint on the area and lived in harmony with nature but after it was gazetted into a National Park in 1991, they were displaced to the edges of the Park with no representation, no voice but living as beggars and squatters. Visiting the Park will therefore introduce you to some of the ancient ways like making bamboo bowls, building if grass-thatched huts, harvesting honey, making fire by rubbing sticks and use of trees and plants for herbal medicine among others.

Also, tourists can participate in a three-hour cultural walk through Buhoma villages and learn some of the cultures and customs of the people such as demonstrations of making local crafts such as baskets. Also see how local produce is harvested, food is prepared traditionally (with firewood) and also visit the local schools in the area.

  • Bird watching

There are over 350 species of birds that call Bwindi Impenetrable National Park home, making bird watching one of the must-do activities in the Park. Some of the lovable species of birds in the Park include Ruwenzori Batis, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Chestnut-throated Apalises, White-tailed fly-catcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Mountain Greenbul, Handsome Francolin, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Green Tinkerbird and the White-browed Crombec among others.

  • Nature walks/hiking

There are 12 hiking trails in the Park lasting from one day or longer ones lasting several days and require you to spend overnights. Some of the trails include the Muyanga waterfalls walk, Muzubijiro loop, the Rushura Hill walk, the Ivi River walk, the Buhoma-Nkuringo and the Habinyanja (Railegh) Trail rewarding tourists with the views of different primates, waterfalls, mountains and the beautiful bird species such as the African black ducks, Pel’s fishing owls, Rwenzori Batis and black bee-eaters among others.

  • Mountain biking

Biking is mainly conducted within Buhoma sector by the Ride 4 a Woman, a community support group that also offers bikes for rent also guides tourists within and around the Park. The guides take you through different landscapes, the village and into the Forest through different trails such as the Ivy River Trail and most rides last 3 hours or longer depending on the trail used.

Gorillas in Uganda: Amazing African Apes

In Dec 2016, I boarded a plane to Uganda with the aim of encountering Mountain Gorillas. I had already booked my Gorilla permit in advance with a local tour Company based in Kampala. I had booked a three days trip to Bwindi Impenetrable forest and on 20th December 2016, I landed at Entebbe International Airport at 11:15am on Ethiopian Airline.

Reaching there, I was welcomed by Kelly, the safari guide/ driver from the company I booked with. He briefed me and thereafter, transferred me to Kampala Serena Hotel for lunch. Being Japanese, I was given Asian meal which I liked so much – feeling at home. After a delicious meal, I asked my guide to drive me to the home of the Ndere troupe to have a relaxed evening with cultural music, dance and drama.
I enjoyed cultural music, dance and drama accompanied by the sounds from local music instruments. Later, we return to my Hotel for dinner and overnight.
At around 8:30am the next day, we started our journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Home of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda).

It was a long journey to the park – approximately 8hours drive. On the way we had a stopover at Agip Motel in Mbarara for lunch and then proceed to Chameleon Hill Lodge in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We reached the lodge at 5pm for relaxation as we wait for dinner and overnight.


The next day morning after breakfast, I went to the park headquarter for briefing about the dos and don’ts while with Gorillas. During briefing, we were told that a maximum of eight people visit each gorilla group and only one gorilla group (Nkuringo) is trekked in Nkuringo section.
During briefing, the rangers told us not to be so close to Gorillas for health reasons, No making noise amidst gorillas, No dumping rubbish in the park, a void flashing cameras, Clothes with shouting colors among others.
At around 8:30am, we were escorted by the rangers through the impenetrable forest while searching for the gentle giants. Oh! I was filled with happiness at my first sight to the gorillas. We wound them feeding, Gorilla mothers breast feeding. Young ones being carried by their mother and so on.
We were given only one hour to view Gorillas and take photos but one hour was worth the amount I paid! And I didn’t find much hardship since we found the group after 90 minutes walk.

View of Bwindi National Park – Home of Gorilas

After Gorilla trekking, I returned to my lodge for lunch and then we cross to Rwanda through Gatuna boarder- proceed to Kigali Airport for my flight back home and this marked the end of my gorilla safari, my next destination was Masai mara National Park in kenya and Northern Tanzania section (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and Olduvai Gorge).