Hiking trails in Bwindi
Bwindi is a UNESCO world heritage site located in the southwestern part of the country in Kabale, Kanungo, and Kisoro districts. The national park covers an area of 331 sq. km of tropical rainforest where different wildlife species can be found. The park became famous in 1993 after gorilla trekking was opened in the park. As of today, it hosts more than half of the mountain gorilla population left in the world with 119 mountain gorilla families and 2 semi-habituated mountain gorilla families.
Bwindi is home to 10 primate species, 120 mammal species, 350 bird species, 51 reptile species, and 200 tree species. The park is known for mountain gorilla trekking but it has a lot more to offer to tourists. Hiking and nature walks are some of the growing activities in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park done in almost every sector.
Hiking trails are found in different regions of the park and these are used by tourists who want to explore the park on foot and those that are looking for birds. Tourists on a gorilla safari in Bwindi spare some time and go deep into the jungles of Bwindi to see what the park has other than mountain gorillas.
Through hiking and nature walks, tourists are able to meet most of the park animals such as elephants, bushpigs, buffaloes, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, duikers, otter, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, L’Hoests monkeys, black and white monkeys, and olive baboons among others.
Some of the hiking trails in Bwindi are good for birding activities with the best birding spots and bird lovers using such trails are able to encounter some of the birds in the park which include bat hawk, hammer kop, little sparrow hawk, marabou stork, black crake, olive pigeon, African wood owl, blue-headed coucal, scarce swift, Rwenzori night jar, greater honeyguide, lesser honey guide, barn swallow and grey wagtail among others.
Popular hiking trails in Bwindi
River ivy trail: River ivy trail is located between Buhoma and Nkuringo sector covering 14km. It takes 4-6 hours to complete this trail and tourists who use those trails get opportunities of encountering different attractions within the park. The trail is mostly used by bird lovers because it has some good birding spots.
Habinyanja trail: This trail is located in Buhoma sector around where Habinyanja gorilla family lives. The trail takes 4 to 6 hours to get completed and it takes tourists through river Riyovi and Habigorogoro ridges. Tourists using this trail are also able to cross River Munyaga, go through Habinyanja swamp, and also have a view of River Buhoma.
Waterfall trail: Waterfall trail is found in Buhoma sector and it takes travelers to some of the spectacular waterfalls found within Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The trail was initially created to be used by the locals to connect to the nearing areas and therefore you will encounter them on your way through this trail.
Bamboo trial: This is one of the trails in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park taking you to a high elevation of 2,607 meters above sea level. Bamboo trail is located in Ruhija sector in the east of Bwindi and it’s about 7 hours to get completed. The trail gives tourists an opportunity to have a view of Lake Nunyonyi, Mafuga forest, Bwindi forest and the Virunga volcanoes.
Kashasha trail: Kashasha trail connects Buhoma to Nkuringo sector therefore hiking or nature walks can start from either of the regions. The trail takes 4-5 hours to get completed with opportunities of encountering different park attractions such as River kashasha, animals, birds, and plants.
Mubwindi swamp trail: Mubwindi swamp trail is located in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi taking 4-5 hours to get completed. The trail takes you to mubwindi swamp which is home to several bird species, primates, and mammals of Bwindi. Mubwindi swamp trails is mostly used by birders because there are opportunities of seeing so many bird species when you use this trail.
Muzabajiro loop trail: Muzabajiro trail is found in the northern side of Bwindi in the Buhoma sector. It’s a moderate trail that takes 3-4 hours to get completed. The trail goes all the way to Rukubura hill and it gives participants a great view of some of the Virunga volcanoes, Bwindi forest, and the East African rift valley.
Rushura trail: Rushura trail takes tourists to the highest point in Buhoma sector of Bwindi. The trail begins from the sector headquarters and takes you through the forest to the top of Rushura hill where you get to have great views of the national park and the surrounding places.
What to pack for hiking and nature walks?
Hiking and nature walks in Bwindi require one to pack long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, a rain jacket, a sweater, a light backpack, insect repellents, sunscreen, a camera, a pair of binoculars, energy giving snacks, and a drinking water bottle.
How much is hiking in Bwindi?
To be part of hiking and nature walks in Bwindi, you are required to pay a certain amount of money at the sector offices for the service of the armed ranger guides who lead you through the trails showing you different park attractions at the same time protecting you from dangerous wild animals. Hiking and nature walk permits in Bwindi cost $30 for foreign non-residents, $15 foreign residents and UGX10,000 East African citizens.
When to visit Bwindi for hiking and nature walks
Tourists can have hiking and nature walks in Bwindi at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months from June to September and December to February are the best to have hiking and nature walks in Bwindi because they are characterized by little or no rainfall. This leaves the trails dry and passable, the vegetation is short with clear views of the attractions, and roads connecting to the sector are passable.
Tourists can still visit Bwindi for hiking and nature walks in the rainy season of March to May and October to November because the park is always open. The rainy season is however characterized by too much rainfall which makes the trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the park attractions and the roads connecting to the park are impassable.