Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is very easy nowadays with the developed road network in the country and availability of different charter flights in the country that take that route. Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable national park is a world-renowned gorilla destination that travelers from far and wide look forward to visiting. This UNESCO world heritage site has four sectors namely Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo, that travelers can choose from to visit. Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is possible with various ways made available, that is, the park can be accessed by both road and air.
Travelers planning on getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by air will definitely get to the park much faster. Travelers can choose to fly from Entebbe or Kajansi in Kampala to tarmacked airstrips of Kayonza and Kihihi that serve the northern region of the park and Nyakabande in Kisoro that serves the southern region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These three airstrips can accommodate charter flights on a daily. Travelers can choose to fly using the commonly used Aerolink, or Fly Uganda, which require advance booking to secure one’s seat. The total flight time can be 2 hours and flights are subject to the prevailing weather conditions. Baggage restrictions have travelers carrying only 15kgs, and any extra weight comes with a cost. Travelers can have their driver-guides take their luggage ahead of them since he will be at the respective airstrip awaiting your arrival.
Kihihi airstrip is closest to Buhoma and Ruhija gorilla sectors, while Kisoro airstrip is best suited for travelers heading to Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors in the southern region of Bwindi.
Upon landing, travelers are transported by road to their respective gorilla sectors of Bwindi that can take approximately 2 hours.
Whereas getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has travelers arriving to the park much faster, it doesn’t give them an opportunity to appreciate the countryside of western Uganda as one transferring to Bwindi on road does.
Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by road is by far the most fun way to get to the park. The park is 463.7 square kilometers from Kampala, and can take between 8-10 hours from Kampala or Entebbe to Bwindi. Getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best done on a 4WD vehicle. This long drive is a great way for travelers to get to experience the countryside of Uganda as you will see a lot of locals doing various activities along the way say trading, children footing to school, people grazing their animals, gardening, among so many other activities with some very scenic sights, more so when you are approaching the park. There are various routes that can get you to the park all of which converge at Butogota which only 17kms from the Buhoma entrance gate.
There is a daily bus service that leaves Kampala via Rukungiri and Kihihi for Butogota, from where travelers need to hire a taxi to get them to the park. Below are some of the routes that one can take to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park;
Kampala-Kabale- Kanungu- Buhoma
This route is one of the most used by travelers getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The route offers a tarmacked highway to Kabale which is about 414kms with a drive time of 5-6 hours. The next part of the road drive can take about 4 hours, and given the terrain of the area, a 4WD vehicle is very much recommended.
This is considered by many as the easiest route from Kampala and is chosen by a number of travelers. Travelers set off from Kampala driving to Ntungamo and then branch off the highway and connect to a road leading to Rukungiri through Kihihi. This gives great viewing points to the traveler.
Kampala- Kabale- Nkuringo
The Kampala-Kabale- Nkuringo route covers a 105kms distance from Kabale town and is approximately 4 hours to the mountainous road passing through communities.
This route has travelers driving to Kabale town and then connecting to the eastern part of Bwindi in Ruhija, through various communities thus giving travelers an experiential road drive.
Queen Elizabeth National Park-Kihihi-Buhoma
This route is used by travelers who are on a game safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park and are to connect to Bwindi for a gorilla trekking experience. This route has travelers sighting a variety pf wildlife including the famous tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector. From Mweya, Bwindi is 160kms away while from the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi is only 54km away.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a prime location not only for gorilla trekking but also bird watching with over 350 bird species and 90% of which are Albertine Rift endemics, nature walks, Batwa cultural trails, community visits among so many others.
The park can be visited throughout the year, and yet it is during the dry season that runs through June-August and December-February that travelers are most recommended to visit. The rainy season that falls on the other months has roads being slippery and very muddy making the roads quite impassable if not with a 4WD car. The ‘dry’ season too receives rainfall just about any time of the day, it is a rainforest after all. Carrying warm clothing and appropriate footwear is advised.
Irrespective of the gorilla sector of Bwindi you are getting to, various accommodation options fit for all traveler budgets are available. From super luxury to midrange and then to basic, be sure to have great options to choose from. Travelers are however asked to book accommodation after confirming the gorilla region/sector of Bwindi they are meant to visit, then plan on getting there. Have a trusted tour operator help you plan out the best gorilla trekking safari and stay, and also help you in getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with the best vehicle option fit just for that part of the country.