Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a prime Uganda safari destination and a world popular national famous for mountain gorilla trekking safaris, Bwindi impenetrable national park is a nest for mountain gorillas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for hosting the endangered mountain gorillas recorded to be half of the world’s population and declared in 1994. Bwindi impenetrable forest is located in south western Uganda in Kanungu district and lies along the border of Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo.
Bwindi impenetrable national park lies in the altitude range of 1160 meters – 2607 meters above the sea level, Bwindi impenetrable forest covers an area of 331 square kilometers composed of both Montane and lowland forests. Bwindi impenetrable forest was first gazetted as 2 blocks in 1932 that is Bwindi Impenetrable forest designated as Crown Forest Reserve, the Northern block was designated as Kayonza crown forest reserve and the southern block designated as Kabatoro crown forest reserve. In 1964 the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary for protection of mountain gorillas and it was renamed Impenetrable Central crown Forest reserve and in 1991 it was designated as a national park and renamed Bwindi impenetrable national park.
The park is a habitat to a diverse of flora and fauna, Bwindi forest is the most diverse forest in East Africa protecting over 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 tree species and 104 species of ferns. Bwindi impenetrable national park is a habitat to over 600 mountain gorillas living on the high forested altitudes of the park, mountain gorillas in Bwindi include 19 habituated mountain gorilla families and they include Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Bitukura Gorilla Family, Oruzogo Gorilla Family, Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Nshongi Gorilla Family, Mishaya Gorilla Family, Kahungye Gorilla Family, Bweza Gorilla Family- Rushaga, Busingye Gorilla Family, Kyaguriro Gorilla Family. On top of mountain gorillas, Bwindi impenetrable forest is a home to many other mammal species such as Elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black-fronted Duiker, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otter, side-striped jackal, civet, numerous bats, rodents and many. There is also 11 species of primates living in the forests of Bwindi and they include black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons and Chimpanzee.
The park is a great Uganda bird habitat hosting over 350 bird species including 23 Albertine rift endemics, 14 species found only in Uganda and globally threatened species. b=these birds include Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing. More species include; Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, Regal Sunbirds and many more.
Safari activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable national park
- Mountain gorilla trekking safaris
The park is a world famous mountain gorilla trekking destination, the park is a home to world’s largest population of the endangered mountain gorillas which is also recorded to be half of the world’s population. Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is done in groups of 8 people maximum and only people with mountain gorilla trekking permits are allowed to participate in this adventurous activity. Mountain gorilla trekking permit are purchased at Uganda Wildlife Authority, mountain gorilla trekking begins as early as 8:00 am with briefing and one gorilla family is trekked by one group of people per day. Bwindi impenetrable forest has 19 mountain gorillas groups which are habituated for mountain gorilla trekking, these groups include Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Bitukura Gorilla Family, Oruzogo Gorilla Family, Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Nshongi Gorilla Family, Mishaya Gorilla Family, Kahungye Gorilla Family, Bweza Gorilla Family- Rushaga, Busingye Gorilla Family, Kyaguriro Gorilla Family .
- Bird watching safaris
The park is an exceptional Uganda bird watching destination, this heavily forested park is a home to over 350 bird species including 23 Albertine endemics and 14 species recorded to only be found in Uganda which making bird watching in this park amazing. Bird watching in Bwindi impenetrable forest offer excellent of many colorful birds such as Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing. More species include; Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, Regal Sunbirds and many more.
Bird watching in Bwindi impenetrable national park is best dome in Mubwindi swamp found in Ruhija sector of the park.
- Nature and waterfall walks
Bwindi impenetrable forest is a heavenly endowed destination ideal for nature safaris done on walks using trails running through the park’s thick forests, these trails lead to the magnificent waterfalls found in the park and they include
- Buhoma – Nkuringo trail, this trail is of a 4-5 hours walk running through forests between Democratic republic of Congo and Uganda.
- Munyaga waterfall walk – this trail leads to Munyaga waterfall
- Ivy River Walk – this trail is of 14 kilometers and takes about 7 hours of walk
- Muzubijiro loop of 6 kilometers walk on the hills.
Nature and forest walk in Bwindi impenetrable forest offers magnificent views of the park’s various species of plants, flowering plants and many forest and such as L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzee and birds such as Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle living in the forests of Bwindi
- Batwa community visit
Batwa community visit is an amazing Uganda cultural safari taking you on a visit in the Batwa community, the Batwa people once lived in the forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park before they were gazetted for conservation of mountain gorillas. Batwa are pygmy people and hunter-gatherers depending on forests as a way of life, in the Batwa community you will watch many amazing activities such as hunting demonstration, picking of local herbs and visiting a traditional healer, house built using local materials, interact with local people and be entertained by local dances and songs.
How to get to Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest is located in the south western Uganda in a distance of approximately 540 kilometers which is a drive about 6-7 hours, most safaris to Bwindi impenetrable national park start from Kampala. From Kampala, Bwindi impenetrable national park is accessed using road and air means of transport
By road, Bwindi impenetrable national park is accessed using various routes such as Kampala – Kabale – Kanungu – Buhoma route of 440 kilometers, Kabale – Ruhija – Buhoma out of 100 kilometers and Kabale – Nkuringo route of 90 kilometers.
By air, Bwindi impenetrable national park is accessed using domestic charter flights offered from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to 3 airstrips serving Bwindi impenetrable national park that are
- Kihihi airstrip
- Nyakabande airstrip
- Kayonza airstrip
Domestic chartered flights to Bwindi impenetrable national park are offered by Aero Link.
Where to stay in Bwindi impenetrable national park
There is a wide range of accommodation establishments in form of safari lodges and camps offering a place to stay for tourists on mountain gorilla trekking safaris and other safari activities in Bwindi impenetrable. Safari lodges and camps in Bwindi impenetrable are classified as luxury, midrange and budget.
Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable include Buhoma lodge, Chameleon Hill lodge, Clouds Mount gorilla lodge, Gorilla Forest camp, Gorilla safari lodge, Mahogany springs camp, Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge, Volcanoes safaris Bwindi lodge, lake Kitandara Bwindi camp, sanctuary Gorilla forest camp, Buhoma community rest camp, Bwindi Guest House, Bwindi View Bandas, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort and many more.
Best time to visit Bwindi impenetrable forest
Mountain gorilla trekking is the highlight activity in offered Bwindi impenetrable forest, this park can be visited throughout the year but the recommended best time to visit the park is in the period of June – August and December to February. This period is a dry season and the trails used during mountain gorilla trekking are dry and passable making the activity less hectic.