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;
NB: Gorilla 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.
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