Katuna border point to Bwindi
Katuna border point to Bwindi: Katuna border point is one of the crossing points to Uganda from Rwanda. Katuna border point is found in Kabale in the southwestern part of the country and it’s mostly used by travelers from Kigali that are visiting Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Katuna border point is open 24 hours to enable travelers from one country to another as well as goods.
If travelers are coming from Kigali Rwanda, it will take about 2 hours to reach Katuna border for the journey is about 80km. At this point, travelers spend about one hour clearing crossing documents. From Katuna border to Bwindi takes different hours because the sectors have got different routes. From Katuna border point to Buhoma is 117km and takes 3-4 hours, Nkuringo is 106km and takes 3 hours, Rushaga is 90km and takes 2-3 hours while the shortest is Ruhija 80 km taking 2 hours.
The journey from Katuna border point to Bwindi takes you through tarmac road forts and later when you branch off to the different sectors of the pack it’s always marram roads. The roads are passable especially in the dry season but during the rainy season, they tend to be muddy and bumpy due to plenty of rainfall. The journey to Bwindi comes with great views of different physical features such as hills, Lake Bunyonyi, Virunga volcanoes, and plantations among others.
Things to do in Bwindi from Katuna border
Encountering mountain gorillas for 1 hour: Travelers visiting Bwindi from Katuna border point can be part of the gorilla trekking where they will have a chance to encounter mountain gorillas for 1 hour. Encountering mountain gorillas for 1 hour can be done in all the sectors of the park which are Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Buhoma. These regions have over 19 mountain gorilla families that are all open for trekking. The mountain gorillas have been well trained and are used to human presence around them.
Encountering Bwindi gorillas is done by those that have gorilla trekking permits and they must show them to the park wardens in the morning before being part of any gorilla trekking exercise. The activity starts with a briefing about the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking, groups of trekkers not exceeding 8 people are formed and armed ranger guides are distributed to lead trekkers in the jungle.
Inside the jungles of Bwindi, it can take 2-7 hours to locate a mountain gorilla family and while searching there are chances of meeting different forest mammals, primates, and birds. On spotting the mountain gorilla family, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes and this gives you an opportunity to learn about their habits, take photos and watch them do daily activities.
Encountering mountain gorillas for 4 hours: From Katuna border point, travelers that are to see mountain gorillas for 4 hours can only visit the southern sectors of the park which are Nkuringo and Rushaga. These two gorilla trekking regions have gorilla families Bikingi and Bushaho that are open for gorilla habituation purposes. Just like mountain gorilla trekking, habituation starts with the briefing, later armed ranger guides, researchers, and conservationists join them in the jungle where they search for a semi-habituated mountain gorilla family.
The search can be 2 hours to 7 hours and this depends on the location of the gorilla group as well as the speed of trekkers. The moment the semi-habituated mountain gorilla family is spotted, trekkers are given 4 hours to be with mountain gorillas and they will join rangers to be part of the activities that make these apes get used to human presence around them. The trekkers will be able to learn some of the gorilla habits and they can take photos with cameras that have no flashlight.
Birding: Are you a bird lover from Rwanda using Katuna border to cross to Uganda or you are staying at Katuna border? Well, Bwindi is the best place to visit because it has a variety of birds seen in all the sectors of the park. Buhoma and Rushaga are said to be the best birding regions of Bwindi with a variety of best birding spots. Some of the birding trails in Bwindi include ivy trail, Mubwindi trail, bamboo zone trail, and much more.
Bwindi birds to encounter from Katuna include black bee-eater, regal sunbird, doherty’s bushshrike, shelley’s crimsonwing, bar-tailed trogon, black billed turaco, mountain oriole, Kivu ground thrush, red-eyed dive, great blue turaco, scaly francolin, yellow bill, African jacana, diederik cuckoo, horus swift, narina tragon, yellow rumped tinker bird, crowned hornbill, horus swift and giant kingfisher among others.
Batwa visits: These are normally combined with gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation in Bwindi. Travelers visiting Bwindi from Katuna border and would love to explore the culture can always ask their tour operators/lodge owners to organize for their visits to the Batwa after encountering mountain gorillas. Batwa visits are not part of Bwindi and therefore they belong to the Batwa communities.
It’s always the Batwa guides who first take participants around the jungle while telling them stories of how they used to survive here. After they take them to their communities where they meet and interact with the local people such as traditional healers who still use local herbs as medicine. A visit to their community enables you to know how they live their day to day life, you can be part of the daily activities and in the end, you will get entertained by traditional dancers.
When to take a visit to Bwindi
Bwindi is open for travelers all throughout the year however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best for a visit to Bwindi and they occur from June to September and December to February. During the dry months, there is little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails stay dry, the vegetation is short with good views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still visit Bwindi using Katuna border point in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. During these months, travelers get discounts on most of the accommodation facilities because travelers are few in the park. The rainy season is however characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of the park animals while the roads leading to the park are passable.