Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park ( Bwindi forest )
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park was gazetted in 1991, made available for tourism in 1993. In the local language “Bwindi” (from “mubwindi”) means “dark place”, referring to the impenetrable nature of the forest. Bwindi forest is a tropical rainforest, spreading over a series of steep ridges and valleys. Regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa, located in southwestern region of Uganda on the edge of the Albertine rift valley near the border of Democratic republic of Congo. The forest covers an area of 331 km2 in size with an altitude range from 1,160 m to 2,607 m above sea level.
Species in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
There are 11 species of primates, including Mountain Gorillas, Lhotse’s, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white Colobus, olive baboon. Particularly, Bwindi forest is home to 400 mountain gorillas, a half of the total remaining world population. There are 350 species of birds recorded (Bwindi Impenetrable contains 90% of all Albertine Rift endemic, rarely seen in any other place in East Africa) of butterflies. Mammals count only 30 (buffaloes) leopards, elephants; 400 species of tree have been recorded.
Activities in Bwindi Forest National Park
Gorilla trekking and habituation experience
This is the main activity in the park with 12 habituated families of mountain gorillas, trekking can be done while filming. Gorilla tracking takes one hour but any visitor can choose to do habituation which takes more than 4 hours along with researchers and one to track or habituate these gentle giants should have a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority
Batwa are pygmies who were first inhabitants of the years, they lived in harmony with nature and left a small ecological footprint in the forest, they were hunter gatherers, existed as beggars, accused of being drunkards, lazy people, marijuana smoking, had no voice and no representative. So this experience gives you a lesson about their ways of living and keeps their cultural practices alive and passed onto future generations.
Hiking nature walks
Hiking trails are open to people to sight birds, butterflies and primates, nature walks can also be done to sight different tree species which are 400 in total, birding of over 350 birds is a great adventure and bird lovers are sure to see so many unique birds.
Cultural walk to Buhoma village community, to see the traditional homestead, the local healer, the banana brewing, handcraft and cultural performances for Batwa.
Accessibility to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable forest can be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park in the north (2 – 3 hours) from Kabale to the south (1 – 2 hours) or from Kampala via Mbarara (6 – 8 hours). The roads meet at Butogota, 17 km from the Buhoma entrance gate. 4×4 recommended during the rains. There are daily bus services leaving Kampala for Butogota via Rukungiri and Kihiihi.
A matatu can be hired from Butogota to Buhoma the park entrance gate. The Kabale – Ruhija – Buhoma segment on this route is 72 km on a murram road branching off at Harutenga junction on the Kabale – Kisoro road. Air transport: Travelers can fly from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi airfield) to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kisoro.
Visitors to Buhoma can also use charter planes to Kayonza or Savannah airstrips. Bwindi is well served by three airfields of Kayonza and Kihiihi for the northern sector and Nyakabande in Kisoro for those going to track gorillas in the southern Sector (Nkuringo, Nshongi and Mishaya as well as Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park).
ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park has got quite wide range of accommodation facilities which include the Gorilla forest camp, Gorilla resort, Mahogany springs, Silverback lodge, Buhoma homestead, Rushaga gorilla camp, Inchumbi gorilla lodge, Lake Kitandara tented camp, Ruhija lodge, Engagi lodge ( Luxury, Cuckoo land lodge, Buhoma rest camp, Nkuringo safari camp ( Mid-range / Budget ).