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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Home to almost half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla's, the word Bwindi actually means 'impenetrable' in the local language and this double warning could not be more appropriate.

Tangled vegetation draped over a rugged landscape of deep valleys and steep slippery ridges, this ancient rainforest is the perfect home for its most famous residents, the endangered mountain gorilla. Although a trek through this rugged terrain is far from easy, a close encounter with these gentle giants is a wildlife experience unsurpassed by anything else.
 

About Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Located in the southwestern part of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park covers 327 sq km and was originally gazetted in 1942 as a forest reserve. In 1992 Bwindi was upgraded to a national park and in 1994 declared a world heritage site. As part of the Albertine Rift Valley and as one of the largest natural forests in East Africa, Bwindi is also part of one of Africa’s most important conservation areas.

Silverback Infant gorilla Gorilla

Biodiversity

Since 2003 the Albertine rift valley has been declared a biodiversity hotspot that needs special attention to maintain conservation efforts. Home to almost half the worlds mountain gorilla population (approximately 400 of the remaining 880), this 25,000 year old forest is also home to an estimated 120 specifies of mammals, more than any other national park in Uganda except Queen Elizabeth. Among these are forest elephants, antelope, giant forest hog and 10 species of primate, including baboon, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus and chimpanzee. In fact it is the only park where chimpanzees and gorillas co-exist together.

For bird watchers Bwindi is one of the most exciting areas in Uganda to visit with an estimated 360 species of birds, including 23 of the 24 endemic to the Albertine rift valley and another 14 species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the African Green Broadbill. The pristine rainforests of this park are also home to 310 species of butterfly (including two endangered species of Swallowtails), 88 moths, 200 native tree species and 51 species of reptiles and numerous amphibians (including one species of frog that may be new to science).

Around the Park

Though gorilla tracking is the main attraction, a range of other walks are available in the Buhoma section of the park. Walks can be arranged through the park head quarters and depart at either 09:00 or 14:15

  • Munyanga River Trail in the valley below Buhoma (park office) provides an ideal short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge.

  • Waterfall Trail leads through one of Uganda's most pristine tracts of rainforest, passing beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns and orchids to visit three sparking waterfalls.

  • Rushura Hill Trail provides expansive views across the plains of the western rift valley to the west and (on clear days) Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north.

  • Muzabajiro Loop Trail climbs to the summit of Rukubira Hill for breathtaking views of Bwindi forest, the western Rift Valley and the Virunga volcanoes.

  • River Ivi Trail follows an old road through beautiful forest emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the forest. It is highly recommended for bird watchers.

When to go

Any time, though gorilla tracking conditions are more challenging during the rainy season.
Bwind can be cold especially in the morning and at night, the annual average temperature range is 7ºC-20ºC with the coldest period being June and July. Bwindi receives up to 2390mm of a rain a year and is concentrated during two wet seasons, short rains in March-May and heavy rains in September-November. Unlike the rest of Uganda that normally experiences short tropical deluges, rain in Bwindi often falls as long hours of soft drizzle so warm clothing and wet weather gear is required.