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A Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park 2025

A Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park 2025

Bwindi Forest National Park is unquestionably the most popular gorilla trekking destination globally and Uganda’s most popular national park. Gorilla trekking is the most popular safari activity in Uganda and is the primary reason why millions of tourists visit the country, the rare mountain gorillas are the main attraction making the park the park the most popular and sought–after destination for any tourist to Uganda.
Bwindi Forest National Park is a vast park of high-altitude forested mountains, known for its thick vegetation, thick mists, streams and dew, endangered mountain gorillas, and loud, colorful birds.
Bwindi Forest National Park was established as a national park in 1991, the park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated because of its biological richness and significance. The park has 160 species of trees which is the highest diversity of tree species in East Africa, more than 100 species of ferns, over 347 species of forest birds, and more than 200 species of butterflies.

Size of Bwindi Forest National Park

Bwindi Forest National Park covers an area of 321 square kilometers, the park was created through the merging of three former protected areas that is the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve, the Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve, and the Rwenzori Mountains Reserve.

The Majestic Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are endangered primate species only found in three nations in the world: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas are found in two populations, one in the Virunga Mountains also known as Virunga Conservation Area composed of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second population which is almost half of the world’s remaining population is found in Bwindi Forest National Park. Uganda has the biggest percentage of these surviving endangered apes in the world with over half of them found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Did you know that gorillas share 98% of the DNA with humans, this makes them our closest living relatives, and spending time with them is truly humbling. On the gorilla trekking experience, you will witness their complex social interactions and behaviors that seem so familiar to our own.
By nature, mountain gorillas often inhabit higher altitudes and bamboo–forested places.

Gorilla Families in Bwindi Forest National Park

Mountain gorillas are social animals living in families known as Gorilla Families with each family led by a male-dominated silverback. Bwindi Forest National Park has four gorilla trekking sectors that are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Each of these gorilla trekking sectors hosts its own habituated gorilla families as listed below.
Note: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a total of 18 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking expeditions.

Buhoma Sector Gorilla Groups

Buhoma Sector is located in the northern region of Bwindi Forest National Park with four habituated gorilla groups including the oldest gorilla group in the park – Mubare and the newest gorilla group – Katwe Gorilla Family.

Gorilla groups in the Buhoma Sector include
• Muyambi (newest, 6 members),
• Katwe (8 members)
• Rushegura (18 members)
• Mubare (9 members)
• Habinyanza (14 members).

Nkuringo Sector Gorilla Groups

Nkuringo Sector has 3 habituated Gorilla groups available for gorilla trekking including
• Nkuringo (13 members)
• Bushaho (8 members)
• Christmas (9 members)
• Bikingi (15 members)—still under habituation

Rushaga Sector Gorilla Groups

Rushaga Sector is located in the southern region of Bwindi, the park is home to most of the gorilla families in the park with over seven gorilla families including
• Nshongi (9 members)
• Mishaya (12 members)
• Kahungye (17 members)
• Busingye (9 members)
• Mucunguzi (12 members)
• Bweza (12 members)

Ruhija Sector Gorilla Groups

Ruhija Sector is located in the eastern part of Bwindi Forest National Park at an elevation of 2350 above sea level, the sector is home to three gorilla families.
• Bitukura (13 members)
• Oruzogo (17 members)
• Kyaguriri (20 members)

You Can Read Here for the New Gorilla Families and what to expect on your safari

However, only a group of 8 people is allowed to visit one gorilla family each day, because of the variety of habituated gorilla families in Bwindi, no visitor has even gone on a gorilla safari in Bwindi and missed a glimpse of the gorillas.

Wildlife of Bwindi Forest National Park

Bwindi Forest National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its exceptional biodiversity, the park is home to 120 mammal species, 348 bird species, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species among others.
Some of the notable mammals in Bwindi Forest National Park include Forest elephants, yellow-backed duikers (small antelopes) chimpanzees (though these are rarely spotted), blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys (also called mountain monkeys), red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, and black-and-white colobuses among others.

Birdlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi is listed among the great birding destinations in Uganda as well as an Important Birding Area in Africa, with 350 species of birds including 23 Albertine Rift endemics 14 of which are recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
Globally threatened species found in Bwindi include Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Shelley’s Crimson-wing. More species include; Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Black-billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds among others.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest National Park

Gorilla trekking is the most famous and desired adventure activity for most visitors to Bwindi Forest National Park, this thrilling activity is done in groups of eight visitors per gorilla family each day.
The day of gorilla trekking begins very early in the morning with reporting to the park headquarters for briefing about the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas, you will also be allocated to one of the park ranger guides who will conduct this session. After that, make your way deep into the bush to begin the activity. Gorilla trekking is an unexpected adventure since the activity can take anywhere from 1 to 8 hours depending on where these gentle apes spent their last night. You are only permitted to be in their presence for one hour after finding them, they will be eating, laughing, and moving about. You are free to take as many photos and videos as you like as long as your flashlight of the camera is not permitted.
When is the Best Time to Visit Bwindi Forest National Park to Trek Mountain Gorillas?
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is possible all year, however, it is best to go during the dry season when there is less rain. During the rainy season, you may be stopped by strong rains and the routes in the jungle are muddy and slippery making hiking difficult.

What is required to meet Gorillas?

To meet mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park, a gorilla permit is required. A gorilla permit is a password for trekking gorillas and no one is permitted to hike without a gorilla permit, in Bwindi a gorilla permit consists of US $ 800 per person and it can only be acquired through an authorized local tour operator.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

How To Get To Bwindi Forest National Park to Trek Mountain Gorillas

Bwindi Forest National Park is located in the south-western region of the country and is accessible via road and air.
By road – The journey to Bwindi Forest National Park from Kampala – Uganda’s Capital and the largest city takes approximately 8 to 9 hours along the Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara route. The journey includes a stop at the equator and lunch in Mbarara along the way.

By Air- Private charters are available from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro Airstrip or Kihihi Airstrip.

Traveling from Kigali, Rwanda
Traveling to Bwindi Forest National Park from Kigali – the capital city of Rwanda is another faster option, tourists have to fly into Kigali and then drive north to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are a couple of routes you can drive, the fastest is to drive straight north to Kabale, a town in south Uganda. The drive takes under two hours and there is a bus service covering the route. From Kabale, it takes about an hour’s drive to reach the eastern tip of Bwindi Forest National Park

Where to stay in Bwindi Forest National Park on your gorilla trip.

There are several accommodation options found in the four sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, these safari lodges and camps to luxury to high-end end and they include

Buhoma Sector

• Buhoma Lodge
• Bwindi Lodge
• Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
• Mahogany Springs
• Silverback Lodge

Rushaga Sector

• Four Gorillas Lodge
• Gorilla Leisure Lodge

Nkuringo Sector

• Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
• Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

         

As you go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where you stay is important that is why you GoExplore Safaris Experts will advise you on which lodge or camp to use for your experience and also depending on the availability of gorilla permits by Uganda Wildlife authority

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Your Safari/trip Includes

  • All relevant Government taxes
  • Park fees
  • Domestic flights as per the itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • Gorilla permits
  • Water in the vehicle for all overland sectors
  • Services of a qualified English-Speaking Driver Guide
  • Meals as showed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as showed in the itinerary
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers