Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Gorilla Trekking Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in southwestern Uganda along the Democratic Republic of the Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift and is composed of 321 square kilometres of both montane and lowland forest
The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and many birds such as hornbills and turacos. It is most notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas, 14 habituated mountain gorilla groups are open to tourism in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and the Nkuringo all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns.
The park is inhabited by about 340 individual mountain gorillas known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006. Gorilla tracking is the park’s main tourist attraction, and it generates much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority
There are an estimated 120 mammal species in the park, of which 10 are primates, and more than 45 are small mammals. The park is important for the conservation of the afromontane fauna, especially species endemic to the western rift valley’s mountains. Along with mountain gorillas, species in the park include the common chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, African elephant, African green broadbill, and cream-banded swallowtail, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervets, the giant forest hog, and small antelope species. There are also many carnivores, including the side-striped jackal, African golden cat, and African civet. The park has more than 350 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species.
Activities to do in Bwindi Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for its Mountain Gorilla populations and outstanding gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge to elephant, chimpanzee, monkeys and various small antelope and bird species.
Gorilla Trekking is the most prominent Safari Activity done here and includes transferring into the forest to track the Mountain Gorillas for 3-5 hours with a skilled ranger guide following their tracks through the forest and when you meet them, only an hour is allowed in their presence.
Explore the culture of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities with village walks, blacksmith visits, craft shops and vibrant dances. Batwa takes you through the skills of harvesting honey, hunting using bows and arrow for small animals and Larger animals would be trapped in snares, ancient fire making where dry sticks are rubbed together to make fire.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s oldest forest mean it is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird. Easy to see are the African Emerald Cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill. Birding takes place along the main trail, the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija
There are six main nature trails in Buhoma for those who wish to explore the “impenetrable forest” and they include Muyanga Waterfall Walk, Rushura Hill Walk,Muzubijiro Loop is a 6km walk around a hill, The Ivi River Walk is 14km and takes around seven hours,The Buhoma-Nkuringo Trail takes three to four hours,The Habinyanja Trail takes 4-6hrs
Mountain biking follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.