- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
A UNESCO world heritage site, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best destination in the country for tracking mountain gorillas. The part itself is home to several habituated groups and protects half the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Visitors will also find around 350 species of birds including dozens of Albertine Rift endemics in the forest.
Located right on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, Bwindi is a pristine rainforest with a terrain that consists of valleys and a string of ridges. It is home to one of the most diverse species of East Africa and has 10 tree species which can’t be found anywhere else in the country.
Mountain gorillas are definitely the main attraction in Bwindi. There are approximately 400 individuals, of which more than a hundred are habituated. Bwindi also houses more than 120 mammal species and the Queen Elizabeth NP has more species than them. Most of the species in the forest are small with the exception of the elephants, but they are rarely to be seen. There is more chance that you will spot some of the six antelope species including a couple of types of duiker and bushbuck.
Best time for wildlife viewing
One of the main factors that need to be considered when choosing the right time to go gorilla tracking is the rainfall. If there is heavy rain, expect to find very challenging and slippery hiking trails. There is less chance that you’ll see rain during the dry season that runs from June to August and December to January. All of the forest trails are less slippery at these times. Your chances of a gorilla viewing experience are higher during the dry season and it’s definitely a better time for taking photographs. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is open throughout the year.
Dry seasons – June to August and December to February
- June, July, and August: June and July are considered being the driest months in Uganda, but there is still a chance of rain. In August, the chances of rain increases. As for the average temperature, it ranges from 23°C/73°F in the afternoon to 11°C/52°F in the morning. It can get colder at higher altitudes.
- December, January, and February: Although this falls under the dry seasons, there are still chances of rain during these three months. Expect less rain in December and more rainy days in February. The average temperature during the day is around 24°C/75°F, while morning temperature is usually close to 11°C/64°F.
Wet seasons – March to May and September to November
- March, April, and May: Expect a lot of rain in April. Driving to Bwindi may become difficult during the wet seasons, due to poor roads. The forest trails are known to be difficult for hiking and slippery. The average daytime temperature is around 23°C/73°F and the morning temperature rarely goes above 12°C/54°F.
- September, October, and November: October and November are months when you should expect a lot of rainy days. It is not uncommon that the rain continuously falls for several days. The average daytime temperature in September, October, and November is around 23°C/73°F.
In case you are visiting the country as a part of the Ugandan tour, it will take you two to three hours to reach Queen Elizabeth NP from Bwindi. The trip from Lake Mburo NP to Bwindi lasts approximately from 4 to 6 hours. People who are coming from Kampala and Entebbe will need 6 to 8 hours to reach Bwindi. Traveling in a 4WD is a must during the wet season. Scheduled and charter flights also transfer passengers to Bwindi.
Entebbe International Airport (EBB) is the main airport and this is where most of the visitors enter Uganda. It is conveniently located just 46 km from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. You can also take a domestic flight from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi Airfield) to Kihihi or Kisoro near Bwindi. Bwindi can also be reached via chartered flights.
The good news is that almost all domestic flights between parks are organized by tour operators and included in the tour package. You will find two domestic carriers flying to Kisoro and Kihihi:
- Fly Uganda