A unique wildlife experience. Biologically, the Bwindi impenetrable is one of Africa’s richest forests, owing to its great age (over 25000 years) and an altitudinal range that spans 1400 metres.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a magnificent verdant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley,this ancient rain forest – one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last ice age – is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Africa has to offer – but we should not let it distract from Bwindi’s broader diversity, a result of its immense antiquity and an altitude span from 1,160 to 2,607m.
The national park has 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, of which the black and white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent. The forest birding ranks with the best in Uganda, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics present.
Getting there; Bwindi can be reached from QENP in the North (2-3 hours), from Kabale to the South (1-2 hours), or from Kampala via Mbarara (6-8 hours). Roads meet at Butagota 17 km from the Buhoma entrance gate. 4×4 recommended during the rains.
What to do; Gorilla tracking is the main attraction; permits should be pre-booked at the UWA office in Kampala. Other guided forest walks are available; one popular trail leads to a pretty waterfall, others focus on birding and monkey viewing.
The impressive list of species contains 350 birds, 310 buttterflies, 200 trees, 51 reptiles, 88 moths, and 120 mammals including several primates, among them chimpanzees, black and white colobus, blue monkeys , grey –cheeked Mangabey, L,Hoest’s monkey, and the star attraction, the mountain gorilla.
Bwindi has six habituated gorilla groups, which are tracked from four trailheads. Eight permits are available for each group, giving a daily maximum of 48 permits. An addition gorilla group can be tracked on the Virunga volcanoes in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Tracking the mountain gorillas takes two to eight hours depending on the location of the group. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi requires a reasonable level of fitness for the impenetrable forest is well named; the gorillas first homeland comprises dense, tangled vegetation draped over a mountainous landscape of deeply fissured valleys and steep ridges.
Bwindi is also one of Uganda’s birdwatching destinations with 350 birds, including many localized Albertine rift endemic species.
Outside the forest, community walks provide an insight into the lives of the Bakiga and Batwa (pygmy)peoples living beside the forest.
TRAVEL: The Bwindi trailheads lie eight to ten hours’ drive from Kampala. Tarmac runs to the main towns of Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri, beyond which dirt roads lead into the hills.
CLIMATE: the driest months are January and February and june to September, though heavy rain can fall at any time of the year. Evening temperatures are cool.
LAND SCAPE: Bwindi forest constitutes an island of remnant forest in a densely cultivated region of hills and deep valleys adjoining the albertine rift valley and the virunga volcanoes.
CULTURE AND PEOPLE: The Bwindi hills are inhabited by the bakiga, hard-working farmers who have created the region’s emblematic landscape of steeply terraced hills. Batwa pygmies inhabit the margins of Bwindi and Mgahinga foresets and offer exciting tours to glimpse life through their eyes when they lived in the forest.
For more information on where to go, things to see and do, best time to visit the park, what to park, attractions, visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park website