Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a national park, located in Southwestern Uganda and bordering with Rwanda and the DRC. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests.
Gorilla tracking information
The park has a size of about 321 sq. km. The name ‘Bwindi’ means Impenetrable, so expect thick and dense rainforest which requires you to be fit and equipped for the humid, muddy terrain of a rainforest hike.
Once a habituated gorilla family has been found by the guide, you can settle down for an hour to observe them as they feed and groom while their babies play about in the trees and bushes, all under the supervision of the great silverback male. Having an up close experience with the gorilla is spine tingling and it is an experience that is not easily forgotten
Kindly note that gorilla tracking is limited to only 8 people per gorilla group per day therefore we strongly recommend to obtain your gorilla permits in advance since they are on very high demand all year around.
You will not be accepted to go gorilla tracking if you have a cold or similar illness because gorillas easily contract many of the human diseases
Tracking points in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the number of groups of gorillas there
- Rushaga – 7 groups
- Buhoma – 3 groups
- Ruhija – 4 groups
- Nkuringo – 1 group
The park is 321 km2 and the closest larger towns are Kabale and Kisoro. Gorilla trekking is the main attraction, and permits must be booked well in advance through the UWA main office in Kampala. The area is also great for hiking. Nkuringo Walking Safaris offer excellent guided nature walks between Buhoma and the town of Kisoro via Nkuringo, including dugout canoe trips on Mutanda Lake. All of the proceeds go to the local community
This park protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the global population, including 11 habituated groups which can be tracked. There are four departing points: Buhoma and Ruhija, which are in the northern part of the park, and Nkuringo and Rushaga, which are in Kisoro District in the southeast of Bwindi.
Buhoma is home to three habituated gorilla families:
- Mubare: 7 members including one silverback. Mubare is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda. They were found in the Mubare hills, deep in Bwindi forest, and fully habituated in 1993.
- Habinyanja: 15 members including two silverbacks. The Habinyanja group was first visited by tourists in 1999. The name comes from "Nyanja" which is the local word for 'body of water'. It refers to the swamp in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where the group was first sighted.
- Rushegura: 19 members including one silverback. The Rushegura gorilla family was brought together in 2002, after one of the silverbacks from the Habinyanja group decided to break away.
Ruhija hosts two habituated gorilla families:
- Oruzogo: 16 members, available for tracking since 2012.
- Bitukura: 12 members including four silverbacks. The Bitukura group was named after a river where the family members were first sighted. The habituation process started in 2000.
Nkuringo, hosts one large gorilla family:
- Nkuringo hosts one gorilla family containing 19 members, including four silverbacks and five infants. The Nkuringo group was named after the Rukiga word for "round hill" and was opened to tourists in 2004. Mutanda lake Resort is the closest to Nkuringo.
Rushaga location, close to Nkuringo, hosts three families:
- Nshongi: 25 members including two silverbacks and six infants. Nshongi is the largest group ever habituated and was officially launched in September 2009. It was named after the river Nshongi, close to the place where the gorilla family was first seen.
- Mishaya: 17 members including two silverbacks and four infants.
- Kahungye: 15 members including two silverbacks and three infants.
Contact us to secure your gorilla permits after you have booked your trip.
Read more about a day of gorilla trekking here.