Bwindi Impenetrable

Uganda’s most important national park

Even if Bwindi was not home to the mountain gorilla,
its remoteness, natural beauty and enthralling biodiversity would
attract visitors. But it is those magnificent great apes that have made Bwindi Uganda’s single most important tourist destination.

Coming
face to face with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of
the most powerful and humbling wildlife encounters possible. You can
always spot trekkers who are returning from having been with the
gorillas: even the strong and silent types are grinning and chattering
like birds.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

Classic gorilla trekking, a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter

Departing from one of the four trailheads on the perimeters of the forest, you join a group of a maximum of eight other visitors for a guided trek into the forest in search of one of 11 habituated gorilla families. 

Led by experienced, specialised Uganda Wildlife Authority guides, you will be introduced to the ecology of the forest and the changing landscape as you trek to the gorillas. Your guides are in communication with the team of trackers who will have been shadowing the gorillas since daybreak. The trackers direct your guides to bring you to the gorillas.

You should be prepared to walk through a challenging terrain of steep ridges and valleys, following animal paths through tangled undergrowth for about three hours to reach this point. Although sometimes contact can be made after 45 minutes and other times six hours. 

Once contact has been made, you have up to one hour in which to observe the gorilla family from a distance of 7 metres. However, you should also be prepared for relaxed mums or inquisitive young to close this gap considerably! The trackers will remain in charge of the contact, telling you what to do in order to remain safe and enjoy the experience to the full.

The number of gorilla permits each day is strictly limited and so the peak season months of June to September and January and February sell out well in advance of travel.

It is therefore recommended that you plan your visit about a year in advance, if not earlier. Gorilla permits are non-refundable, but if you trek and do not see a gorilla the Uganda Wildlife Authority will refund 50% of the permit cost. This happens very rarely.