Bwindi impenetrable National Park is the most popular destination in Uganda. This ancient tropical rain forest is a UNESCO world heritage site well known for being home to the endangered mountain gorillas. This park is located in south western Uganda in the Albertine rift. It's shared by three districts namely, Kisoro, Kanungu and Kabale districts.
Bwindi covers a size of 331 sq kilometers and lies on an altitude range of 1,160 metres (Ishasha gorge) to 2,607 metres ( Rwamanyonyi Peak ). There are two major tribal groups living near the park and these are Bafumbira and Bakiga. The park lies in an area constituting the most dense settlements Uganda. Other notable people living near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are a few Batwa (pygmies tribe) that used to stay in the gorilla forest.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park inhabits over 400 mountain gorillas almost half of the world's population mountain gorillas. The park also hosts rich flora and fauna including almost 200 species of butterflies and also 346 species of birds.As regards the flora and fauna, it has the afromontane forest with dense under storey of fern, vines and shrubs. It has about 324 tree species recorded, 10 of which occur nowhere else in Uganda .
One of the major tourism adventures in Bwindi is gorilla tracking. There are four gorilla groups currently available daily for tourist. These are; Rushegura group ( 10 gorillas, 1 silverback) was opened in July 2002, Habinyanja group ( 18 gorillas, 1 silverback) which opened in July 1998, the Mubare group which in 1993 with 10 gorillas and 1 silverback and finally the Nkuringo group with 19 gorillas and 2 silverback which opened in April 2004. Since gorilla tracking is tiresome and challenging you must ensure physical fitness. Gorilla tracking tours start after the early morning breakfast after registering at the reception at 7.45am and can take almost the whole day. During the course of gorilla tracking safaris, you must carry your self with the following; carry packed lunch, wear ear plugs for those feeling jungle sounds unsuitable, put on jungle shoes suitable for muddy slopes and carry a rain jacket because the park is often wet, also a hat is required since the weather is unpredictable.
There are also various rules and regulations put in consideration when your to visit the mountain gorillas and these are; no person under 15 yrs is allowed to track gorillas, don't use flashes while photographing the gorillas, some one with a communicable disease is not supposed to enter the park e.g. diarrhea, do not smoke or eat when your with easy reach to the gorillas, don't make loud noise or move suddenly, also move together in a tight group and do not surround the gorillas and many others.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park has four hiking trails and for tourists who still have some time can make arrangements at the reception get a guide to help them in their adventure. These trails are; the river Ivi trail, the Munyaga river trail, the Rushura trail, and the Muzabajiro loop trail. All these trails have different attractions such as the primates and birds of the forest edge at Munyaga trail, the fauna and flora such as the tree ferns, epithytic ferns, orchids and the colourful array of butterflies at popular waterfall trail, the western Rift valley and the virungas at the Muzabajiro loop trail and many others.
Bwindi impenetrable harbors a variety of bird species, almost 346 species of birds and contains about 90% in the western rift valley endemics, which is difficult to see in any other part of East Africa . So for this case Bwindi is known as a bird watchers haven.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Bwindi has a number of camping sites that may help the tourists both in accommodations and meals and they located at different research stations, park headquarters and also via different trails. For example at Buhoma Park head quarters we find the, Gorilla forest camp, Buhoma community camp ground, Bwindi view canteen , Buhoma homestead etc…
At Ruhiji there is a self catering guest house and also a savanna Resort hotel at Kihihi. This one is 43kms to Buhoma Park head quarters and is adjacent to ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park .
Planning a trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? More information can be got at the Visit Bwindi website, a complete resource to planning a holiday in the park.