BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South-Western Uganda approximately 330 sq km at an altitude of between 1,160m – 3,000m above sea level is the oldest rainforest in Uganda. The name “Bwindi” dwells from Rukiga (Local language) means very thick and not easily passable because of its Afromontane lowland forest in nature which makes it a little hard to trek. It is located at the rim of the Albertine Rift bordering the Great Virunga region which extends to Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is popularly known because it is home to almost half of the world’s largest apes and endangered Mountain Gorilla( Gorilla Gorilla Berengei) population which is projected to be less than 850 in the world. The Mountain Gorillas are the second closest primates to humans only after Chimpanzees having approximately 97% DNA similarity with the humans. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has four Gorilla Tracking sections which include Ruhija section, Rushaga section, Buhoma section and Nkuringo section from which the different Gorilla Families are found during the trekking. More than 150 Mountain Gorillas are habituated hence can be viewed by visitors. The forest has a vast number of trails which lead to various attractions within including Waterfalls, Rivers like the Muyanga River in the Buhoma valley and many swamps which harbor a lot of wildlife.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park is not only known for being the Land of Mountain Gorillas but is also habitat to over 120 mammal species (only second to Queen Elizabeth National Park) eleven of which are primates most notably The L’Hoest’s monkeys, The Black and White Colombus monkeys, Baboons and Chimpanzees.
The forest is also home to over 346 bird species which include the critically endangered Albertine Rift African green Broadbill. Other commonly viewed include the Black throated Apalis, Crowned Hornbill, Rwenzori Nightjar, Compact and Dark-backed Weaver, Coppery Sunbird, and the Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher.
At such an altitude, its very interesting to be a great spot for its biodiversity with over 170 trees species some of which have existed for more than 2000 years, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, geckos and Chameleons plus a great number of endemic butterflies.
The park can either be accessed by Road or Air transport. It is about 535km from Kampala, the Capital City of Uganda.
You may use the different routes according to the section that you wish you wish to trek the Mountain Gorillas from.
1) Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma(6 hours)
2) Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo(6-8 hours)
3) Kampala-Kabale-Rujija( 6-7 hours)
4) Kampala-Kanungu-Buhoma( 6-7 hours)
Using Air transport from either Entebbe International Airport or the Kajjansi Airstrip can get off to Kayonza airstrip or Savannah airstrip in Kihihi which is almost close to all the sections.