Mountain gorilla, Bwindi, Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Covered in thick tropical rainforest and often shrouded in mist, Bwindi provides a perfect habitat for mountain gorillas.

Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys it certainly looks the part and having survived the last ice age is considered one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa. The birding here is big and colourful, the forest dark and inviting and the sense of adventure palpable.

Dominant male mountain gorilla in the grass, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Mountain gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

A little more about Bwindi

Bwindi is considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The national park has over 90 species of mammal, including 11 primates, including chimpanzees (rarely seen) and the black and white colobus (always seen!). The forest birding ranks with the best in Uganda including the colourful turaco, Africa green broadbill and flycatcher, with 23 highly localised Albertine Rift endemics present.

Gorilla cleaning his teeth, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Par, Uganda

Why visit Bwindi

  • Come face to face with mountain gorillas
  • Search for dazzling turaco’s and black and white colobus monkeys
  • Visit the local Bwindi community hospital
  • Follow forest walks to waterfalls and traditional villages
  • Join gorilla vet researchers in the forest on our unique Gorilla Doctor tour, or take up the challenge and hike from one side of Bwindi to the other, walking between lodges…

Experiences

A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Uganda.

Jungle Trek, Bwindi Forest, Uganda

Forest Walk

Trek across Bwindi along the Ivy Trail. Pass by waterfalls, spot colourful birdlife and even watch out for gorilla families crossing the path.

Gorilla family in wild, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Gorilla Trekking

Trek in search of the mountain gorilla families of Bwindi.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Great Blue Turaco, Uganda

Canopy Wildlife

Keep your eyes looking upwards, in search of dazzling turacos and black and white colobus monkeys.

Suggested lodge

Dominant male mountain gorilla in the grass, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Gorilla Habituation

Help habituate a family of mountain gorillas. Spend up to four hours with them, helping them become used to the presence of humans.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Gorilla Forest Camp £££££

  • Uganda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Gorilla Forest Camp is a permanent luxury tented camp nestled in the mist-swathed rainforests on a mountainside in the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The exclusive location makes Gorilla Forest Camp the sole property within the park boundaries and so is considered by many to be the ideal base for gorilla tracking, primate viewing and birding excursions in the park. Gorilla Forest Camp has been designed to blend seamlessly into this most atmospheric of environments, carefully pointed towards the misty valleys and looming, forest-clad mountains.

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Bwindi Lodge £££££

  • Uganda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

This attractive, low key lodge was one of the first to be built in the area and sits in a fantastic location, with uninterrupted views of Bwindi Forest. After a day of trekking, retreat to the lounge and discuss highlights of the day around the central fireplace, or borrow one of the lodge’s books. The lodge’s restaurant and cosy fireside bar are on raised decks, also offering great views over the forest with the large outdoor patio perfect for soaking up the sun in between treks into the forest. Gorillas have even been known to pay a visit on occasion. Each guest room has a private terrace overlooking the forest, and a personal butler service is offered to all guests at the lodge.

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Buhoma Lodge £££££

  • Uganda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

The warmth and welcome of this lodge are what sets it apart and the spirit of the original Buhoma Homestead built on the site shines through. Each of the eight wood and stone cottages is set across the hillside in the forest surrounding Bwindi, using simple African fabrics to add comfort and character, whilst the private decking offers sweeping views of the forests below. Most people find themselves in the bar pretty soon after arrival, where the atmospheric fireplace adds warmth to the cool evenings and the lodges raised position comes into its own. The staff, quite rightly, take huge pride in working here, speaking volumes about the effort the owners have invested in working with the surrounding community.

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Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge £££££

  • Uganda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Aptly named, this sturdy stone lodge sits in a commanding position, high up on the Nteko Ridge in the quieter Nkuringo region of Bwindi. Eight cottages with enormous beds and a separate sitting room are warmed by an open fire, carefully lit each night by a private butler. The imposing main stone building, built from local volcanic rock, stands guard against the mists but has a soft centre – wood-burning stoves, timber beams, overstuffed armchairs make the lounge welcoming, and the walls are adorned with huge canvases from local Ugandan artists.

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Chameleon Hill Lodge £££££

  • Uganda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Looking out over the waters of Lake Mutanda, Chameleon Hill Lodge is one of the more Uganda’s more unconventional architectural accomplishments. A mishmash of square buildings is strung along a beautiful ridge, culminating in the turret-clad reception building, with its unorthodox array of window designs. Each building is painted in a different bold colour, adding a feeling of energy to this beautifully positioned lodge. Inside the rooms, the quirky style continues – they are decorated colourfully, but with care. Simple but comfortable, rooms are welcoming and bright.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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