Best Hiking Trails in Bwindi NP.The hiking trails in Bwindi Forest are less explored, less known yet capture one of the most scenic tours in Bwindi impenetrable national park across all for sectors of the ancient forest. Taking a hiking trail tour in the impenetrable forest can be included on a gorilla safari itinerary especially for tourists who wish to explore the forest longer. The trekking trails in Bwindi Forest are rich flora and fauna and are highly recommended for scientists, hikers, birders, nature lovers offering some of the best sights on a safari in Uganda.
Hiking trails in Bwindi Forest range from 2-day trekking experiences to 1 day nature hikes which can easily be integrated into a short gorilla trek in Bwindi national park.
Sitting on a total surface area of 331 Square kilometers in the Kigezi highlands, southwest of Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable is a UNESCO heritage site with almost half of the total population of mountain gorillas in the world. The forest is not only home to mountain gorillas but also a natural habitat to 120 mammal species 384 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, over 27 amphibian and reptile species and over 1,000 flowering plant species. Apart from living species, there are breath-taking physical features like free-flowing river streams, highlands, and valleys in the forest. This makes it one of the richest biodiversity in Africa.
The rare mountain gorillas are the most popular inhabitants of Bwindi forest, nature walks on the different hiking trails are some exciting and outstanding adventures to take. The hiking trails lead to the different hotspots of hidden wildlife species and natural features other than the mountain gorillas. Taking on the hiking trails is the best way to comprehensively discover and explore the Bwindi forest and its beautiful natural treasures.
Bwindi forest is a vast and hilly environment, most of the hiking trails require some effort/energy and level of fitness to complete them. Several of the hiking trails take 3-6 hours or a day and a few can even take 2 days. The discretion is left to the travellers to choose the best hiking trail to take with some advice from the local Tour operator. Visitors with limited time on their gorilla safari tours are advised to take short and easy hiking trails.
Below are the popular hiking trails in Bwindi forest.
Rushura Hill Trail in Buhoma sector Rushura hiking trail sets off from Buhoma sector at the park head offices going up to Rushura hill, which is the highest point in the sector
trail to take but so worthwhile and exciting. There are several viewpoints on this trail but Rushura hill is the most rewarding one as travellers get to sight, Virunga volcanoes, Bwindi forest, Rwenzori Mountain and Western rift valley.
Mubwindi Swamp Trail in Ruhija sector
Mubwindi swamp Trail is a less challenging trail found in Ruhija, east of Bwindi Impenetrable forest. This hike takes 4-5 hours going up and down hill. The trail offers stunning views of Virunga ranges and Kigezi highland contours. While on the trail visitors encounter different animal species like chimpanzees, different species of monkeys, gorillas, elephants and bush pigs. Different bird species are spotted on the trail. Birders are advised to hire a bird guide to have an insightful experience on the trail.
Bamboo Trail in Ruhija sector
The bamboo Trail is situated in Ruhija sector and is such a challenging trail with a steep hike up to 2607 meters. The viewpoint is the highest in the whole park. At this steep viewpoint, tourists are rewarded with scintillating sights of Virunga massif, Lake Bunyonyi and Bwindi forests. The main attractions to enjoy on this trail are bird and plant species. Due to its steepness, travelers spend almost a day to complete it, about 7 hours.
Kashasha River Trail goes across Buhoma to Nkuringo sectors
Kashasha River Trail can commence from either Buhoma or Nkuringo. It has a steep inclination that connects Buhoma and Nkuringo which is 600 meters high. The trekkers also pass through an intersection of two rivers. The trail embraces the visitors with a variety of plants, flowers and numerous bird species. It takes 4-5 hours to complete Kashasha River Trail.
Muzabajiro Loop Trail in Buhoma
The Muzabajiro Loop trail is one of the shortest and easiest trails, found in Buhoma sector north of the park. It only takes 3-4 hours and offers eye-catching sights of the great rift valley, Virunga volcanoes and Bwindi forest as you climb to Rukubira hill.
The Ivy River Trail in Buhoma across to Nkuringo sector
The Ivy River Trail has two starting points, Nkuringo park head offices or from Buhoma. It is a 14 km hike that takes almost a full day but it has less steep hills. This makes it such a moderate trail to take. Travellers encounter forest mammals, small primates, butterflies and birds on the trail. Local people also use it as a route going to Nteko market and tourists are likely to bump into them.
Rusizi River Trail
This is a whole day trail and goes through the rugged center of the park. It is the best trail for a birding expedition in Bwindi. Other attractions to see on the trails are duikers and several species of primates.
The Habinyanja Trail in Buhoma sector
Habinyanja Trail goes through Buhoma sectors and travelers are likely to see Habinyanja gorilla group while on this trail. It traverses through Munyanga river on a vertical slope of Habigorogoro and Riyoyi Ridges which faces Buhoma River. Since it is dominated by rivers, lots of bird species are present hence being an ideal trail for birders. Habinyanja trail takes 4-6 hours of the traveler’s time.
The Munyanga waterfall trail begins from Buhoma sector to Nkuringo sector
The trail starts off north of the park and traverses as far as Nkuringo sector along Ivy River, south of the park. Lots of natural treasures are spotted on this trail, for example; different species of monkeys, colorful butterflies, forest mammals, birds and beautiful flowers. The trail also has three waterfalls to see dropping from 33 meters high. It is a less challenging trail and can be taken up by all sorts of travelers.
Tips & Packing on Hiking Trail in Bwindi forest
Most of the hiking trails can be navigated on foot and a few are best encountered on a mountain bike. Hiking trails are arranged by different entities around the park, namely park management, lodges and freelance local guides.
The requirements of hiking trails in Bwindi include; wearing jungle clothes, hiking boots, walking stick, rain jacket, camera, binocular, enough drinking water, packed food and snacks, insect repellents and a hat.
Tourists who have gorilla trekking experience as the main activity on their safari tour are advised to take short hiking trails unless they have enough time. The long hiking trails are recommended for tourists interested in bird watching.