Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a size of 331 km2, is located in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, on an altitude range of 1.160 m to 2.607 m. This is a real tropical rainforest, spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys. It is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forest in Africa. In the local language “Bwindi” (from mubwindi) means “dark place”, referring to the impenetrable nature for human beings to the swamp located the South East of the actual Park, according to legends.
Species in Bwindi forest National Park
There are 11 species of primates, including Mountain Gorillas, chimpanzees, Lhotse’s, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white Colobus monkeys, Olive baboons. Particularly, Bwindi is home to 360 mountain gorillas, a half of the total remaining world population. There are 346 species of birds recorded ( Bwindi contains 90 % of all Albertine Rift endemics, rarely seen in any other place in East Africa) and 200 of butterflies. Mammals count only 30 (Cape Buffaloes, Leopards, African Elephants). There are 324 species of tree.
Activities done in the National Park
The main activity is “gorilla tracking” to thehabituated 8 families of mountain gorillas (Habinyanja, Nkuringo, Rushegura, Nshongi, Mishaya, Mubare, Bitukura and Oruzogo), Gorilla filming is also possible. Hiking trails are open to people to sight birds, butterflies and primates, trees (along the Munyaga, Waterfall, Rushura, River Ivy and Bamboo zone trials).
Specially recommended for bird watchers are the River Ivy and Mubwindi swamp nature walks. Cultural walk to Buhoma village community, to see the traditional homestead, the local healer, the banana brewing, handicraft and cultural performances for Batwa. The mountain biking is also evolving.
Accessibility to the National Park
Bwindi forest National Park 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 to 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 charter planes to the grass Kayonza or Savannah airstrips. Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park is well served by three airfields at 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 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, Lake Kitandara tented camp, Ruhija lodge, Engagi lodge (Luxury) Cuckoo land lodge, Buhoma rest camp, Nkuringo safari camp (Mid-range / Budget).