Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is famous for its silverback gorillas. And for the price of 650 USD per person it’s possible to visit them. But the UNESCO World Heritage Site has much more to offer, such as bird watching, hiking to a waterfall and a hike through the forest. This last activity is one that few are aware of, but proves to be extremely rewarding. And with a little luck you can still spot a gorilla or two.
Part 1: The hike through Bwindi
You can start or finish your hike at the southern entrance (Nkuringo) or at the northern entrance (Buhoma) and take your guided and escorted hike through the Impenetrable Forest to the other side. There are 2 trails: The Kashasha River Trail (approximately 5 hours, stops included) and the Ivy River Trail (approximately 6.5 hours, stops included). Although the name Impenetrable Forest can cause some nervousness, the trails are well maintained, and are relatively easy to hike.
What do you need? At least 2 liters of water, packed lunch, sturdy hiking shoes, long trousers, rain jacket (especially in rainy season), binoculars and passport/ID.
What are the costs? The price is rather high, like most activities in South-East Africa. In total, the cost is 70 USD per person. 40 USD goes to park entrance, and 30 USD to the guide (why the guide earns more when he takes more people, instead of a fixed price, is still a mystery to me).
Why do it? For starters, Bwindi is home to 350 species of birds, 300 different kinds of butterflies, 10 species of primates (including chimpanzees) and 120 mammal species (including the forest elephant). But most of all, it is the closest you can get to true nature. An awe-inspiring and fascinating experience.
Part 2: continue towards Lake Mutanda
If you hike from the north to the south, stay one night at Nkuringo (for backpackers, we recommend the Bwindi Backpackers Lodge) and continue your hike towards Lake Mutanda. It takes approximately 4-5 hours, all the while passing villages and incredible views. You can get a guide for 50-70 USD (in total, not per person).
If you want to know more about traveling in Uganda, check out the top 10 things to do.
If you want to rent a car and find a suited guide for a road trip in Uganda, check out our cars.)