Walking Safari Across Bwindi Forest
Hiking Adventure Challenge Across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Walking Safari Across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
14 km (9 mi) walk between Buhoma and Nkuringo
The walking safari across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from Nkuringo in the south to Buhoma in the north through Ivy or Kashasha hiking trails is the most rewarding hiking adventure in this pristine jungle after the gorilla trekking excursion. The walking adventure offers two trails going in either direction between Buhoma in the north of Bwindi (UWA Bwindi Headquarters) and Nkuringo in the south of Bwindi.
The famous all-inclusive Uganda safari trip offered by Nkuringo Walking Safaris starts with a Kisoro Town – Lake Mutanda trails, hiking through native communities, villages, and a dugout canoe ride on Lake Mutanda. The trail otherwise follows village footpaths through outstanding scenery with often 360-degree views of cultivated mountain slopes, mountain forests, and human settlements.
Nkuringo Walking Safaris runs a multi-award-winning lodge in Nkuringo. You’re given a kingly welcome and top-notch services for your stay before you continue on the walking safari across Bwindi Forest challenge.
On the second/third day of the walking safari adventure, hikers embark on a more challenging jungle trail across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, between Nkuringo trailhead and Buhoma trailhead. If you’ve taken a good rest at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, you’ll find the trail an easy one to walk.
In the shadow of the Virunga Volcanoes towering over Kisoro, you will meet with your guide from Nkuringo Walking Safaris, all of whom are local to the region. They’ll brief you on what to expect and lazily lead you into the jungle. Their primary purpose is to transfer the knowledge they have of the trail to you, carry your bag and help you experience the walking safari with comfort. Two armed rangers will also join you for your security across the jungle.
- Hiking trail across mountain communities, villages, and cultivated mountain slopes meeting native peoples spotting rare bird species and photographing scenic landscapes of Africa
- Become the attraction when village children follow and welcome you to their land chanting “Mzungu” (white person).
- Challenge your travel muscles with canoeing in a dugout canoe on Lake Mutanda. One of the beautiful mountain lakes around Bwindi Impenetrable forest
- Hike Across Africa’s oldest and richest rainforest, meet some of the rarest species and plants that enjoy the primeval forest amenities.
- Learn how communities, people, and animals have lived together in and around the Bwindi jungles.
- Support local communities when you hire a guide, porter, or ranger on your walking safari adventure.
- Transportation and 4×4 vehicle transfers
- Accommodation and Meals as per itinerary
- English Speaking Guide and Rangers
We will process the park permits on your behalf from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Please carry a pack of N95 Facemask and hand sanitizer with you. You’ll be required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours of your arrival in the country, and keep your mask on when with animals and people crowds. You’re requested to adhere to COVID Operating procedures to keep you safe during your trip.
Your walking safari at a glance
Day 1 — Kisoro, Lake Mutanda, Nkuringo Walking Trail
Consider an early start for this walking safari trail with 90 minutes of walking to Sheba’s Campsite on the southern shores of Lake Mutanda. Traditional dugout canoes and peddlers will be parked at the shores waiting for you to embark for your next three-hour challenge across the calm waters of Lake Mutanda to the Rwajember landing site.
Lookout to the many tiny islands dotted around the lake, mainly cultivated with banana plantations. However, one island is under the National Forestry Authority administration, where it still maintains its primary forest cover and Vervet monkeys reside. The lake and cultivated shoreline are home to many common birds, including Hadada Ibis, Crested Cranes, and Black-headed herons that will be of great interest to birding enthusiasts.
At the Rwajember landing site, you get back to the walking trail through villages and communities. The land area is dotted with small homesteads where villagers cultivate their fields and attend to livestock. Villagers take advantage of the rich dark volcanic soils and cover all sloped with cultivation. You’ll see vast potato fields, cabbages, green beans neatly farmed on what appears to be impossibly steep gradients. Despite heavy populations, the Kigezi and Kisoro districts contribute substantially to Uganda’s overall food production.
After a 20-minute walk from Rwajenge, we join an unsurfaced road, which we follow for a further 10 minutes to find the trail that leads up to the first rest and viewpoint outside of the Mubano Trading Centre. Continuing along the footpath, you will pass through a series of banana plantations and fields of sorghum (when in season). Locals distill the sorghum crop into a trendy beverage known locally as Obushera. The sorghum beer is exceptionally potent and consumed with great passion by both men and women.
Ten kilometers before Nkuringo, the walking safari reaches a road junction where the track we have been following joins the main murram road from Kisoro close to Rubuguri trading center. Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, where you’ll spend the night, is a further 10 kilometers (6 mi), a 3-hours walk or 30-minute drive. Some Uganda safari travelers prefer to complete the journey to Nkuringo by driving from the trading center. The views along the road are just breathtaking, whether traveling by vehicle or on foot.
- Spend a night at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
- Meal Plan: Lunch and Dinner
Day 2 — Relax at Lodge or Gorilla Trek
Visitors have the option to spend the second night in Nkuringo for the Gorilla trekking activity. The Lodge is a magical place to take in the ambiance, relax, and visit community tourism initiatives. These include a well-defined community walk, Batwa natives’ cultural visit, and several activities around the lodge.
If you opt-in to for the gorilla trekking excursion in either one of the two southern trailheads; Rushaga (five gorilla families) and Nkuringo (4 gorilla families). A gorilla permit is USD 700 per person and the Nkuringo Walking Safaris processing fee is USD 30 per permit.
• Spend another night at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
• Your meal plan includes: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), and Dinner (D)
Day 3 — Walking Across Bwindi, Nkuringo – Buhoma Trails
Tin roofs of Buhoma are clearly visible from the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge where the walking safari begins, but there’s no direct paved road. Since there is no road through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest connecting Buhoma with Nkuringo, vehicles driving between the two locations have an incredible 170 km bone-jarring journey taking between 6 to 8 hours of unpaved dirt road. So the walking safari adventure across the pristine Bwindi is a great alternative and a great way to experience Africa’s jungles on foot.
The walking safari across Bwindi gives you two alternative trails that crisscross each other somewhere inside the jungle. These routes are used by local communities between the two populated towns; the Ivy River trail and the Kashasha River trail.
Kashasha River trail is the most direct of the two trails and is about 14 km (9 mi) through the forest. The Ivy River route is ideal for tour groups with vehicle support to either drop or pick them 7 km (4 mi) from Nkuringo along the Nteko Ridge.
Option 1: Ivy River Trail
The Ivy River Trail starts from the Nkuringo, UWA Bwindi Park office, where we follow a murram road downhill with views over the forest for about 7 km to the Ivy River. If you’re staying at Buhoma, the Ivy River Trail is the better option for the walking safari across Bwindi. From the Nkuringo office to Ivy River, the hike takes about 2.5 hours. From the Ivy river to Buhoma, walking through the forest takes 4 hours. Total journey time is usually about 6 hours.
The Ivy River trail ascends and descends gently through beautiful areas of the rain forest with several viewpoints from the murram road from/to Nkuringo overlooking lush mist-shrouded valleys. The trail is also an important footpath for local people traveling to and from Nkuringo, particularly on market days, to Nteko village on the park’s southern boundary.
You’ll most probably encounter wild animals like monkeys, duikers, bush pigs, and some of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest’s world-renowned bird species, plus many butterfly species.
Option 2: Kashasha River Trail
The Kashasha River Trail begins at the Nkuringo trailhead, UWA Bwindi Park office, before proceeding down a steep slope through community land to reach the park buffer zone.
The walking safari across Bwindi trail passes the junction of two rivers inside the forest. After a further 20-minute ascent, the trail meets the alternative route, the Ivy River trail inside the woods 90 minutes from Buhoma.
The trek to the Buhoma Park HQ on the Kashasha River Trail is about 4 to 5 hours between Nkuringo and Buhoma or 6 to 7 hours between Buhoma and Nkuringo. The Kashasha River trail involves some steep inclines, not least when proceeding to Nkuringo.
The trail offers visitors a close-up experience of the natural wonders within a rain forest environment. Birds are prolific in Bwindi, and your guide will point these out to you during your walk.
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Please make sure you have your facemask on when in contact with animals, especially the endangered creatures. Without a negative PCR Covid Test, you’ll not be allowed into the country. You’ll spend most of your time in open spaces away from human crowds, with that there’s minimal to no infections of the COVID virus.
Flexible booking terms
Your booking can be extended up to 12 months ahead with no extra fees, in case of any emergency (based on accommodation availability). Reservations are accepted after we receive a 30% deposit on the trip and the full payment for gorilla tracking and chimp tracking permits for each tour participant. For more details on our booking terms, please read our Terms and Conditions.