The Best Hiking, Nature and Forest Walks in Bwindi
Uganda’s stunning Bwindi National Park comprises of 331 square kilometres (128 sq. Miles) of jungle forest and contains both mountain and lowland forest, accessible only by foot. This makes it the perfect holiday destination for ramblers.
The forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa and the diversity of species is a key feature of the park. The park provides a habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. Bwindi is among the most diverse forests in East Africa with more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many birds, such as hornbills and turacos. It is perhaps most notable for the 340 mountain gorillas, almost half the world’s population of the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite hikes, walks and wanders through this unique and diverse landscape:
Of course, gorilla tracking is the highlight of any visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Rainforest and cannot be missed. The treks are available daily and allow you to spend up to one hour with any of the three mountain gorilla families that live in the Buhoma area. This exclusive activity can only be booked by a maximum of 24 people per day (eight permits per family), meaning you really will get up-close-and-personal to the gorilla families you meet as you explore the high dense lush vegetation of Bwindi.
There are five forest walks in the Bwindi National Park. The most popular is the Waterfalls Hike. This involves a moderate climb through the forest and fern trees which bring you to a series of three waterfalls which lie two kilometres on the left hand side of the winding forest path that crosses the Munyanga River. This trail is spectacular for bird watchers, and many monkeys, baboons, warthogs and duikers can also be seen on this hike.
Rushura Hill Walk
At a height of 1,915 metres, Rushura Hill is the highest around Buhoma. The five kilometre walk is a more demanding walk through cultivated land and redeveloping forest until reaching a lookout point on the Uganda - Democratic Republic of Congo border. This walk offers beautiful scenery and fantastic views.
Buhoma Community Walk
The Buhoma Community Walk is a village trail that takes you to different sites in the communities, giving you the chance to discover more about local customs and traditions. Along the trail you will visit a handcraft site, learn how they make a local gin (Waragi) and banana wine and discover how they make tea and coffee locally. The pygmies will also offer music, dance and drama close to their homes. There is a Traditional Healer, who demonstrates how to use a variety of natural herbs to heal numerous diseases. Finally, take a tour around the Bwindi Community Hospital and learn about the work Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy do in the area.
Batwa Cultural Experience
The cultural site was created by the Batwa pygmies to educate their children and the rest of the world about their rich cultural heritage. Enjoy an amazing hike in the rainforest with the Batwa guides, see how the Batwa lived, hunted and learned about medicinal plants. You will also be introduced to the local wildlife. You are also invited to share a traditional meal with the Batwa community, hear ancient legends, traditional songs and join in on a mock hunting party. You can even test your hunting/shooting skills with a Batwa bow and arrow and participate in the incredible music, dance and drama festival at the site.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the only luxury camp located within Bwindi National Park, offering the best location to stay and experience gorilla tracking and hiking in the area. Contact us to plan your trip.