Driving from Kigali, Rwanda to Bwindi impenetrable national park is the best option while on gorilla safari from Kigali most especially after COVID 19 lockdown. Drive cross country with beautiful scenery and landscape is breathtaking and amazing. One has to land into Kigali International Airport and then drive to Bwindi, using entry points of either Cyanika, Nyamirama or Katuna boarders. Encounter Africa safaris organizes road trips to Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kigali for gorilla safaris.
You will start your road trip from Kigali International Airport or from the Hotel at 8:00am (Which we can adjust), you will have a city drive through Kigali and then visit the genocide Memorial which has a lot of history of the Rwandese, and you will proceed and stop for Lunch in Kabale after crossing the border into Uganda. You will also stop at the viewpoint of Lake Bunyonyi for Photography and see the beauty of the many islands on the lake. There is also a viewpoint of Mgahinga ranges (Mt. Muhavura, Mt. Sabinyo, and Mt. Gahinga). You will drive through the terraced hills of Kabale and Kisoro for your great adventure to see the gorillas.
About Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Forest National Park is located in the southern part of Uganda sharing a border with Congo, it is one of the only two national parks in Uganda where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the world, it is home to more than half of the only remaining Mountain Gorillas in the wild making it famous and best place to trek the Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi Forest National park is divided into different sections/sectors where you can do the Gorilla tracking experience namely Rushaga, Buhoma, and Ruhija and Nkuringo sector.
Bwindi Forest National Park has different habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tracking experience, each gorilla family has different gorilla individuals, and each gorilla family is headed and controlled by the dominant male gorilla the Silverback. For you to go on the trek, you are required to have a Gorilla permit valid for trekking that day. Gorilla permits are limited in number per day given it is only 8 people allowed to trek per gorilla family per day in Bwindi Forest National Park.
What Kind of Vehicles are used during the Road trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali?
As Encounter Africa safaris, we only use/ recommend 4×4 safari vehicles that are well serviced and driven by our professional guides to trek the hills of Bwindi forest for your amazing gorilla safari from Kigali. For budget safaris, we always quote our clients 4×4 safari customized Super custom/Van that are very comfortable and have enough legroom and luggage space, the super custom can carry one to five persons and the van can be used for group tours of about nine to ten persons.
For a luxury gorilla road trip from Kigali to Bwindi, We use 4×4 land cruisers which can carry up to seven persons and they cost highly. Yes, you can have a budget safari and still opt for a land cruise for your comfort. All our vehicles have A-C, drinking water, Tourism License stickers and are well serviced for your great gorilla safari.
How is the condition of the Roads while on road trip to Bwindi impenetrable National Park from Kigali?
The cross country road to Bwindi is not world class but Tarmacked and smooth and it’s a 4-5 hours’ drive to Bwindi impenetrable National Park from Kigali. When you cross the border into Uganda, The highways of Kisoro, Kabale, and Ntungamo are all tarmacked until you get off the road to start the drives into the park. The roads leading to any the sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are Muram roads reason we emphasize the use of 4X4 as they are slippery and stuck with mud during the rainy season.
As Rwanda is termed as country of thousand hills, the road is all curved as you drive from Western Rwanda into Southwestern Uganda which is mountainous as well and the roads are curving on hills with beautiful scenery. Our driver-guides are very equipped with driving skills and very professional for your safety and comfort to reach your dream destination.
What is the drive time from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Kigali city and Kigali International Airport is the major city/Airport that is very close to Bwindi impenetrable National park. You can arrange in the morning at the Airport in Kigali and by afternoon you are in Bwindi impenetrable National Park. The drive time is only 4-5 hours from Kigali into Uganda and custom clearance can take less an hour in case of travellers at the borders. We always emphasize speed of 60-80 for the safety of visitors and other road users.
What to do and see on a road trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali
There is a lot to see and do in Bwindi impenetrable national park, this park is one of the leading great tourism destinations in Africa that you shouldn’t miss on your bucket list. See below the activities to do and attractions to see in Bwindi.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park
Gorilla tracking is the primary activity to do and see the gorillas while visiting Bwindi. Bwindi Forest National park is a home to half of world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas in the world meaning your visit here you have 98% chances of seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National park are found in four different sections of the park that is Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south and Ruhija and Buhoma in the North East and East part of Bwindi National park respectively.
Having a gorilla permit is the key priority for you to have a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali. The gorilla permit has to be purchased in advance to secure a spot for your trek for any date depending on your travel dates and availability of the permits that day. Gorilla tracking is done in a group of eight people per gorilla family meaning eight permits only are available for each gorilla family, for you to secure a place for a day’s gorilla trek you will need to secure your gorilla permit in advance months or days prior visiting Bwindi Forest National park from Kigali. When you book an all-inclusive Gorilla Safari from Kigali with Encounter Africa Safaris, All you need to do is to send us your actual dates when you prefer trekking gorillas and we will check availability of permits online. We will reserve your permit tentatively and send you a permit payment invoice. Once you make a payment, we will go ahead and secure your permit and thereafter send you scanned copies of receipts from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla Habituation Experience while on Road trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National park from Kigali
Gorilla Habituation experience allows you to spend four hours with mountain gorillas still under habituation. Only four people are allowed to do gorilla habituation activity in Bwindi Forest National Park in Uganda, with this you are required to book your gorilla habituation permit in advance to secure your place. The experience starts and takes up to half or a full day depending on the time you take to find them.
Gorilla habituation activity is only done in the south of Bwindi impenetrable National Park between the sectors of Rushaga and Nkuringo. During this experience, you visit the gorillas that are in the process of being habituated and the gorillas are not yet used to Visitors and act wild, with researchers and guides, you monitor the way gorillas feed, move, rest and also communicate with them. This is one of the most interesting activities while on the road trip to Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kigali
Bird watching in Bwindi impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Forest National Park is home to various unique bird species including the Albertine Rift Endemic birds and it is a place to be for Bird watchers, Key bird species to spot on your birding tour in Bwindi National Park include Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, African Green Broadbill, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Collared Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Batis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing. We do organize birding packages to Bwindi Forest National Park from Kigali, with professional birding guides you are able to identify different birds. Contact us for a birding road trip to Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kigali.
Cultural and Community Encounters in Bwindi
Bwindi Forest National Park used to be inhabited by the Batwa people commonly referred to as the pygmies for many years until of recent when they were removed from the Bwindi Forest to the surrounding communities of Bwindi Forest National Park to ease mountain gorilla conservation and tourism. A road trip to Bwindi Forest National Park from Kigali will give you an opportunity to see these pygmies used to spend their time in the forest, where they used to stay, how they used to harvest wild honey as well as hunting. They will show off their dances and explain how they have managed to settle and enjoy normal life outside the forest. You can as well visit the rest of the community in the outskirts of the forest, the women groups that do crafts and sell food, the community schools and we encourage if you have any donation to support the children with clothes and scholastic materials.
Nature walks in the forest
Bwindi Forest National Park is made up of a tropical forest which is one of the oldest forests in the world existing for more of the past 250,000 years back; it has ancient tree species and some of them endemic to this forest. It is as well known to be impenetrable due to its thick canopy making nature walks enjoyable, on your nature walking safari in Bwindi Forest you will have a chance to learn about different tree species, spot different bird species as well have a chance to sight different animals including rare forest elephants if lucky, monkeys, baboons. These nature walks also given you a chance to blend yourself with nature including a visit to the beautiful waterfalls and rivers in the Bwindi Forest National Park. Depending in the time you have, you can choose a package that can be tailored with all these activities to best suit your interest.
Where to stay during road trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali
Since Bwindi impenetrable National Park has four sectors for gorilla trekking namely; Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga, You will choose accommodation/Hotel depending on the sector you will trek gorillas from. When you check availability of permits with us, we shall let you know which sector has permits available and also suggest the hotel in that sector. All these sectors have hotels/Lodges ranging from budget to midrange to luxury and to upmarket hotel with low season rates and high season rates. For example, In Buhoma sector you can stay at Buhoma community camp as a budget hotel, Buhoma Havens lodge as Midrange hotel, Bwindi lodge, Mahogany springs lodge, Buhoma lodge, as a Luxury lodge and Gorilla forest camp as the Upmarket hotel. In Rushaga, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla camp and four gorillas Lodge, in Nkuringo you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge.
Encounter Africa safaris organizes road trip to Bwindi impenetrable national Park from Kigali with many choices of Packages as well as customized packages for your travel. Contact us by sending us an email and we will plan for you accordingly. Encounter Africa Safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor and Safari bookings.