Driving from Kigali to Bwindi gorilla park
Driving from Kigali to Bwindi gorilla park: If you want to encounter mountain gorillas or do any other tourism activity in Bwindi gorilla park, you might need to figure out the fastest way to access the park especially if you are to use road transport. Well, Kigali to Bwindi is the fastest way to access Bwindi gorilla park as it takes 4-5 hours through Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro compared to Kampala Masaka Kabale Kisoro road which takes 9-10 hours.
Bwindi gorilla park is located about 170 km from Kigali via Katuna Kabale road and about 215 km via Cyanika Kisoro road. on the other hand from Kampala to Bwindi it’s about 540 km and it takes travelers 9-10 hours to access this park. Driving from Kigali to Bwindi gorilla park is 4-5 hours to any of the park sectors namely Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Rushaga.
It’s always our safari driver guides who pick you up from Kigali, brief you about the journey, and then set of for Bwindi gorilla park. From Kigali to Bwindi, there are different stopovers at places such as memorial grounds where people that died in the Rwanda genocide were laid to rest and these include the genocide memorial, and Kabale town where lunch is served. On your way to Bwindi gorilla park, you will stop for Lake Bunyonyi viewing and there are points to clearly see Mountain Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo.
Driving from Kigali to Bwindi gorilla park
Using Katuna border to get to Bwindi gorilla park
From Kigali city to Katuna border in Kabale is less than 2 hours and once you arrive at the border, you take some time clearing the different travel documents. From Katuna border, you can drive to any of the sectors of the park you are to visit i.e Buhoma which takes 3-4 hours, Ruhija which takes 2 hours, Rushaga which takes 2 hours 30 minutes, and Nkuringo which takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Using Cyanika border to get to Bwindi gorilla park
From Kigali city, travelers can get to Cyanika border in 3 hours and from here you can access Nkuringo sector ins 1 hour and 30 minutes, Rushaga sector in 1 hour and 30 minutes, Ruhija sector in 2 hours and 30 minutes, Buhoma is the longest sector to access from Cyanika border taking 4 hours.
Travelers to access Bwindi gorilla park from Kigali should consider booking good 4×4 safari vehicles especially in the rainy season because4 the roads can be bumpy and impassable if it rains heavily. These vehicles should be driven by well professional guides that know very well the routes to use to connect to the park. From Kigali to the Katuna and Cyanika borders, the roads are well constructed although not world-class. As you leave Kisoro Kabale road and branch off to the park sectors, the roads are murram till you access the park.
Activities to do in Bwindi gorilla park from Kigali
Gorilla trekking: Gorilla safari is the most done activity by travelers visiting Bwindi from Kigali. There are over 19 mountain gorilla families in Bwindi and gorilla trekking is done in all four sectors of the park. The activity is done by travelers above the age of 15 years and with gorilla permits. Trekking in Bwindi is done to enable travelers encounter their closest relatives in the jungle doing their daily activities.
Gorilla trekking activity in all the park sectors starts very early in the morning and trekkers are move to the sector offices. Here is where all trekkers gather for a briefing from the park wardens. These teach about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity, allocate gorilla families based on age and physical ability, and then get armed ranger guides to lead them in the jungle.
The search for mountain gorillas is led by armed ranger guides who know the best routes to use and they know how to deal with dangerous wild animals. The search takes 2-7 hours with opportunities if meeting different animals and birds. when the mountain gorillas are spotted, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Birding: Bwindi being home to over 350 bird species of which some of are endemic to the Albertine region, it attracts a lot of travelers from different parts of the world and some of them access the park from Kigali. Travelers accessing Bwindi gorilla park from Kigali can do birding in different regions of Bwindi but the best ones are Buhoma and Ruhija
Buhoma and Ruhija regions have got the best birding spots and so many birding trails to enable birds encounter as many birds as they can. Birds of Bwindi include African fish eagle, shikra, black kite, purple heron, bat hawk, pink backed heron, lizzard buzzard, little sparrow hawk, southern pochard, African hobby, black crake, African jacana, African grey parrot, ross turaco, African wood owl, grey crowned crane and spotted eagle owl among others.
Batwa experience: Batwa experience in Bwindi gorilla park is one of the top activities done in the park by travelers that love to explore the culture. Batwa experience is done with in the communities that live around the national park. These people were forest dwellers not until the government evicted them to protect mountain gorillas and the vegetation. When they left the forest in 1991 and 1992, they decided to find homes near the park so that they don’t go far from their original homes.
A visit to their homes starts with a simple nature walk in the forest that used to be their home. While having a simple walk around the forest, you will get to know how these people survived in the jungle, what they used to eat, how they milled animals for meat, and how they used plants as medicine to cure illness. The local guides will lead you to their community where you will visit different homes, interact with people and watch them do daily activities. You will be entertained by traditional dancers at the end of the visit.
Nature walks: Travelers from Kigali normally head out for nature walks after successful gorilla trekking. The nature walks can be around the lodge but the best ones are done inside the national park. Every sector of the park you visit has nature walk activities and these are headed by armed ranger guides who know which routes to use and can protect you from dangerous wild animals.
Nature walks in Bwindi offer travelers an opportunity to explore the vast wilderness on foot. They take you to different regions of the park where you get an opportunity to encounter different park animals such as duikers, buffaloes, elephants, golden cats, giant forest hogs, chimpanzees, bush pigs, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys among others. Nature walks also give travelers an opportunity to see different bird species like grey apalis, winding cisticola, banded prinia, yellow-white eye, and tiny sunbird among others.