The main roads to Uganda and Rwandas’ gorilla trekking areas are generally good but travel is much slower than on European or American roads, for example. Secondary roads are often slow and bumpy, especially approaching Uganda’s gorilla parks. Be prepared for long car journeys often taking most of the day. Four-wheel drive vehicles are required for certain routes in the rainy season. I’ve travelled to these areas by every possible means – private car, coach, public transport, boda boda and plane. However you travel, enjoy the journey! The scenery is fabulous.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – home to the world’s biggest population of mountain gorillas – is 8+ hours’ drive from Kampala or Entebbe. If you’ve never visited this part of the world at all, the drive is a fantastic opportunity to view African life in the trading centres you pass through. En route through the gloriously green Pearl of Africa you will cross the Equator (and the obligatory stop for photos!)
If you have time to spare, you can easily make a detour for a Safari in Lake Mburo National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Bwindi Community Hospital has a very useful page on public transport options for reaching Bwindi (Buhoma) from Kampala.
If you prefer to fly, a round trip air ticket from Entebbe to the Bwindi area costs approximately $450 with AeroLink Uganda. This one and a half hour flight in a small aircraft is out of this world! You pass over the islands on Lake Victoria, swampy marshlands, trading centres and the mist covered valleys of south-western Uganda. Seeing the cloud covered peaks of the volcanoes approaching the distance is an unforgettable sight. The transfer from the airstrips of Kisoro or Kihihi is approximately 30 minutes to one hour, depending where you are trekking the gorillas.
If you’re pushed for time, or you don’t fancy a long road drive, a flight to Kigali and a short drive is the easiest option. The drive to Ruhengeri (Virunga) Volcanoes National Park, home of Rwanda’s gorillas, takes just two hours from Rwanda’s capital city Kigali on very good roads. En route you will quickly understand why it is called ‘the Land of 1000 Hills’!
It is also possible to fly to Kigali then drive across the border to see Uganda’s gorillas. Both options take considerably less time than driving from Kampala.
For gorilla trekking stories and Uganda and Rwanda travel advice, click on the hyperlinks in the Ultimate Guide to Mountain Gorilla Trekking. Still got a question? Contact the Muzungu.