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How To Get To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

As they are planning their Uganda trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, travelers always ask: – How to visit Bwindi impenetrable national park? How do I get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Well, Bwindi National Park’s different sector locations can be reached by both road and air.

a) Getting To Buhoma Sector Of Bwindi

By Air

Fly Uganda and Aerolink operate daily 90-minute flights to Kihihi, 40 kilometres from Buhoma on the Ishasha Road, respectively leaving Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala and from Entebbe.

By Road

Buhoma can be approached along several different routes that converge near the town of Butogota, 17 kilometers north of the park entrance. All approach routes involve some driving along dirt roads that may become slippery after rain, so an early start is advised.

From Kampala And The East

Buhoma is about 465 kilometers west of Kampala and 195 kilometers west of Mbarara by road. The best route entails following the surfaced Kabala Road for about 60 kilometers past Mbarara to Ntungamo, then turning right on a newly surfaced 45 kilometer road to Rukungiri.

Several different dirt roads through the highlands of northeast Kigezi connect Rukungiri, the most direct of which runs for 85 kilometers in a roughly westerly direction via Kambuga and Kanungu, but you could also travel through Kambuga and Kihihi. The drive usually takes up to 8 hours but allow a full day and aim for an early start.

From Kasese And The North

Two main routes connect Kasese, Fort Portal, and North-Central Queen Elizabeth National Park to Buhoma.

The more direct and interesting route branches west from Mbarara Road at Katunguru, then run past the Ishasha of Queen Elizabeth National Park and north through Kihihi and Butogota

From Kasese, this 170km route takes around 5 hours of driving non-stop, but most people divert to Ishasha to look for its famous tree-climbing lions.

The alternative route via Ishaka, Kagamba, and Rukungiri is longer coming from north of Katunguru (about 210km from Kasese) but as good as equidistant and probably slightly faster coming from the vicinity of Kichwamba Escarpment.

From Kabale And The South

The 108km drive from Kabale to Buhoma follows dirt roads most of the way and typically takes at least 3 hours. Follow the surfaced Kisoro road out of Kabale for 18km to Hamurwa, then turn right at the turn-off signposted for Buhoma and continue for 60km via Kanungu to Kanyatorogo, where you turn left to Butogota.

A far more scenic but slightly slower alternative, often offering monkey viewing is to travel through Ruhija taking the signposted short curt left turn 5 km before Butogota.

b) Getting To The Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi

Coming directly from Kampala, the best option is through Kabale, where you will probably need to spend a night before continuing to Ruhija.

From Kabale And The Southwest

Driving from anywhere in southern Kigezi, first head to the village of Ikumba, on the surfaced Kisoro Road 26km out of Kabale, then turn right at the clearly signposted junction for Ruhija and Buhoma.

After 12km, you will pass through a park entrance gate from where the road continues through lush forest to reach the Ruhija trekking trailhead and park information office after another 13km.

About 800 meters past this, a junction to the right leads outside the park and straight into the Ruhija village site of most of the accommodation servicing the area after another 500 meters or so.

From Buhoma And The North

It is a straightforward 50km, 2-hour drive from Buhoma to Ruhija, passing through the park and some lovely scenery for much of the way, and ideally using the shortcut that avoids Butogota and cuts about 6km from the route passing through that town.

Quite a lot of organized tours now use Buhoma as a base for gorilla tracking in Ruhija, in which case a 05.00 start is advisable.

Coming from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kasese, Fort Portal, or other sites to the northwest, directions are as for Buhoma, except that when you reach the last junction 1.5km past Butogota, you need to continue straight towards Ruhija rather than turning right for Buhoma.

c) Getting To The Rushaga Sector of Bwindi

By Air

Rushaga is just 90 minute drive from the Cyanika border with Rwanda and about 3 hours by road from the Rwandan capital Kigali, meaning that catching an international flight to Kigali to track gorillas here is perfectly feasible.

By Road

Road access to Rushaga is from the south only, via two murram link roads to the main surfaced strip between Kabale and Kisoro.

Coming from Kabale (or indeed, from anywhere else to the north or east), you need to follow the Kisoro Road for 43km to a signposted junction to the right some 4.5km past the northern tip of Lake Bunyonyi and 3km past Muko.

From the junction, it’s 24km on a dirt road to the gorilla-tracking trailhead and office at Rushaga, culminating in a long and winding descent into the Ruhezanyenda Valley via Rushaga village.

Approaching from Kisoro, it is only 35km to Rushaga via the small town of Rubuguri, following a fair murram road.  Follow the road running northeast towards lakes Mutanda and Muhehe from next to the Kindly filling station.

After 8km, you will arrive at a three-way junction where you need to turn right if you want to use the direct route via Rubuguri and stick to the left if you want to follow the more scenic but rougher and slightly (2km) longer route via Lake Mutanda and Hakasharara.

d) Getting To The Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi

By Road

Nkuringo trailhead lies in the small village of Ntungamo, which lies 40km/90 minutes north of Kisoro by road, and 90km/3 hours from Kabale via Rubuguri.

Coming from Kisoro, directions are the same as for Rushaga, except that you need to turn left at a junction 1km before Rubuguri, and then continue driving northeast for about 8km to Ntungamo.

Coming from Kabale, directions are also the same as for Rushaga, except that you need to continue past the last junction for Rushaga for about 10km and turn right 1km past Rubuguri.

The dirt sections of these routes are generally in reasonable condition, but a 4×4 vehicle at a sensible speed is recommended in wet conditions.