Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Uganda’s frequently visited national parks located in the south-western part of the country. The park covers an area of 321 square kilometers at a height of 1,160m-2607m above sea level. The park boasts of a diversity of features; 120 species of mammals,348 bird species, 220 butterfly species,27 species of frogs plies chameleons, geckos, the park also has 1,000 plant species including the endangered brown mahogany. Additionally, the primates inhabited in this impenetrable forest are so many, in fact, Bwindi Impenetrable forest alone is home to more than a half of the world’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas, there are over 400 mountain gorillas recorded to be in the park as of the May 2018 census conducted. Black-and-white colobus monkeys, bush pigs, forest elephants and so much more are all found in this forest.
Bwindi is a prime location for birdwatchers. Its 348 bird species including 7 which are IUCN red data listed and most of all Albertine rift endemics species that are hard or impossible to see in some other parts of East Africa can all be found. A more experienced bird watcher can simply identify up to 100 species in a single day.
The most sought after activity in Bwindi, however, is gorilla tracking. The park has about 14 habituated gorilla groups that can be tracked in four different sectors of Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhijja.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo just next to the Virunga mountains in the West. Kabale town is the nearest town to the park in the south with a total distance of 29km.
Bwindi can be reached by both road and air, depending on the travelers’ itinerary and choice of travel.
Traveling by Air to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If long drives are not your thing or if time is an important factor on your trip, then traveling to Bwindi by air instead of the long drive will be the better option. From Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by air takes about one hour. There are two options for flying from Entebbe airport or from Kampala (Kajansi Airfield) to Kisoro or Kihihi. There are three airfields that serve Bwindi, namely Kayonza and Kihihi Airfields that best suit travelers tracking gorillas through the Northern Sectors; Nyakabande Airfield in Kisoro best serves travelers planning to track gorillas in the southern sectors of Nkuringo, Nshongi, and Mishaya. Prior planning is however required and booking of the tickets as demand for the charter planes is high since most people would rather forego that long 8hours or more drive. Kihihi is closest to Ruhijja and Buhoma trailheads, while Kisoro best serves Nkuringo and Rushaga southern sectors. However, there are baggage restrictions where one is allowed up to 15kgs only, any extra kilos come at a cost. Alternatively, you might leave your luggage with your driver-guide who drives ahead of you to be able to receive you when you land at the airfield.
Upon reaching the airstrips, a driver guide from your trusted tour operator will be there ready to receive you and drive you to your accommodation. A return flight can be booked for you if you’d rather do that, or enjoy a long drive back to Entebbe with scenic views on the way.
Traveling by road to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Traveling by road to the Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park gives one ample time to take in all the beautiful views Uganda has to offer. From Kampala to Bwindi, the drive will take between 8-9 hours. If one has ample time to spare, traveling via Queen Elizabeth National Park is an added advantage as it gives you an opportunity to drive through Ishasha home to the tree-climbing lions south of the park connecting to the Buhoma sector in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. There are however a variety of routes one can use when from Kampala, say;
Kampala- Kabale- Kanungu-Buhoma
This route has travelers setting off from Kampala and driving all the way through Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kanungu and connecting to Bwindi in the Buhoma sector. This route covers a distance of 414kms, making it the longest yet most enjoyable and rewarding route as travelers additionally experience beautiful sceneries of rolling hills and the ever-warm receptive Ugandans. Upon reaching Kanungu, however, you embark on a road through Kanyantorogo covering a total distance of 120km to reach Buhoma. A 4WD car is the best option for travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Here, a direct drive is to Kabale town connecting to Ruhijja in the Eastern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The drive from Kabale to Ruhijja is through local communities and local farms making it very experiential for the travelers.
This is the quickest route to Bwindi. When setting off from Kampala, travelers drive up to Ntungamo where they branch off the highway connecting to a road to Rukunjiri and through Kihihi, covering a total distance of roughly 390kms.
This route takes a distance of about 105kms from Kabale town which is approximately 4hours to get travelers through the mountainous bumpy road to Nkuringo via local communities. Some people choose to make sleep overs in Kisoro town before embarking on to Nkuringo which is 80kms from Kisoro.
This route covers an area of about 95km2 on the marum road and it takes about 3-4hours.The only vehicle that can best pass through Ruhijja is a 4WD.
If on a safari in Queen Elizabeth National park and have Bwindi on your itinerary, drive 160kms from Mweya or 64km from Ishasha to the northern part of Bwindi.
Travelers who would like to experience Uganda differently can travel to Bwindi by the use of public means of transport. Buses set off from Kampala to Butogota via Rukunjiri and Kihihi. Thereafter, you may get a taxi that can be got for the last 17kms distance to Buhoma. Nkuringo has no public means of transportation going all the way, it is advisable to hire a vehicle from Kisoro.
Whichever way you choose to get to Bwindi, trust that you will reach and enjoy the experience, if gorilla tracking is your reason for the long drive or extra cash for a chartered flight, it will be worth it.