120 species of mammals including 7 diurnal primates and about 30 elephants. There are about 360 species of birds and over 200 species of butterflies. This afromontane forest has dense under storey of fern, vines, shrubs. About 324 tree species have been recorded here, 10 of which occur nowhere else in Uganda.
GORILLA SAFARIS / GORILLA TRACKING
The Mountain Gorillas are undoubtedly Bwindi’s major tourist attraction, where they have been habituated since April 1993. There are now four different groups that can be visited:
- Mubare group (16 gorillas; 1 silverback )
- Habinyanja group (23 gorillas; 2 silverbacks)
- Rushegura group (9 gorillas; 1 silverback)
- Nkuring group (20 gorillas; 2 silverbacks)
Eight permits per day are sold for each of these groups at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. Book at least 4 months (but not more than one year ) in advance to ensure that requested dates are available.
Gorilla Tracking can be physically demanding, so go prepared. The Gorilla Rules prepare you for Gorilla Trekking and give guidance on conservation of the Mountain Gorillas. Please read the Gorilla Rules before your trip.
Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven ! It holds 348 species of birds and contains 90% of all Albertine rift Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day! Visit Ruhija and Buhoma for this dream. Indicate your interest to the guide so that appropriate early morning departures can be arranged.
For the visitor who has 2 or 3 days in Bwindi the park has 4 fantastic hiking trails. On all these trails, you have opportunities to see and learn about primates, many species of birds, butterflies, trees, and other organisms. Arrange at the reception for a guide. The guide’s company is obligatory and yet affords you an excellent understanding of nature’s system at work in the park.
- THE MUNYANGA RIVER TRAIL
Is an ideal short walk for visitors with little time to spare. Here you can see birds and primates of the forest edge. The popular waterfall trail provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, epithetic ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colourful array of butterflies. This trail which leads to 3 delightful crystal clear waterfalls typifies your impression of a tropical rain forest.
- THE RUSHURRA TRAIL
Commands expansive views across the western rift valley floor. To the west, Congo’s Parc Nationale des Virungas provides a spectacular backdrop, and on clear das Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountain are visible.
- THE MUZABAJIRRO TRAIL
Offer breath taking views of Bwindi Forest. Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way, you witness hundreds of pre-historic tree ferns. The top of this trail is a great place for a picnic lunch.
- THE RUIZI RIVER TRAIL
So far the longest in the park will occupy you for a full day. It is highly recommended for bird watchers.
The Trail in YOUR CAR…..
Visitors with their own 4 -wheel drive transport should consider crossing the rugged centre of the park through Ruhija. This transect affords the visitor with Uganda’s finest vistas of deep undisturbed forests. While on this Uganda safari, watch out for duikers, primates and both forest and grassland bird species. In Ruhija, visitors can take the three-hour scenery packed hike to the Mubwindi swamp. You may also walk to the Bamboo zone ( the only such area in the park ).
- THE BAMBOO TRAIL
The Bamboo trail offers 14 vegetation types and is one of the areas of highest diversity in the park. At the top of this trail, you witness panoramic views encompassing Lake Bunyonyi and Mafuga Forest.
In the evenings, participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park.
- African Pearl Safaris offers a medium range accommodation homestead.
- Abercrombie and Kent has luxury tented accommodation
- Mantana also provides fully furnished luxury tented accommodation.
- The local community operate a rest camp with clean and simple bandas. A restaurant serving simple traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner is available.
- RUHIJA: There is self catering guest house which is booked in advance through Great Lakes Safaris.
- KIHIHI : Savanna Resort Hotel is 40 kms to Buhoma and is adjacent to Ishasha sector, of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Kampala to Kabale is a distance of 414 kms on bitumen surface and takes 6-7 hours. An additional 120 kms from Kabale to Buhoma Park Headquarters via Kanungu and Kanyantoorogo on Murram surface takes 3-4 hours and may require a 4WD vehicle. Kabale- Ruhija-Buhoma is 95 kilometers and takes about 3 hours. This road is not used much by the public. A 4WD vehicle is recommended.