Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – “The Home of Mountain Gorillas” – Africa’s Large Heritage Site – Famously Known to be a Home of the – Batwa People – See the Batwa Trails – Batwa Pygmy cultures
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park still lies in Southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. The mist-covered hillsides are also blankets of one Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests; still, it contains almost 400 species of plants. This “Impenetrable Forest” protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas; still roughly half of the world’s population, including several groups under habituation, which are also free for Tracking/Trekking.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park diverse region also provides shelter for a further 120 mammals; including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are also around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
The neighbouring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both still have an impressive array of Accommodation; ranging from luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and guiding services. Opportunities abound so as to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.
Geography of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is still in southwestern Uganda covering an area of 331 square kilometres. The park is still on a border with Democratic Republic of Congo on the western side of the park; Kabale town to the south-east is also the nearest main town to the Park, 29 kilometres away by road.
The park is still at the edge of the Western Rift Valley in the highest parts of the Kigezi Highlands; which are also under the creation of up-warping of the Western Rift Valley. The topography of the park is also in raging narrow valleys intersecting rivers and steep hills. However, Altitudes in the park range from 1,190 to 2,607 meters above sea level; with 60% of the park also having an elevation of over 2,000 meters above sea level. The highest elevation in the park is also at Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge of the park; and also the lowest part of the park is at its most northern tip.
Climate of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Forest also has a tropical climate with the annual mean temperatures; so they range from a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. And then its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimetres. Peak rainfall also occurs from March to April and from September to November. The Park’s forest also plays an important role in regulating the outside area’s environment and climate.
Biodiversity of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The park is still recognised for the 340 Bwindi Mountain Gorillas, half of the world’s population; the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas, even it is still a sanctuary for the chimpanzees, many birds, and the colobus monkeys.
This Afromontane forest is still one of the richest ecosystems in Africa; then the diversity of species is an attribute of the park. The park still provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals; 10 of which are primates and also more than 45 small mammal species; as well as 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs; then chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. In terms of fauna, the Bwindi area is still amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa; in fact, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns.
The northern sector in a lower altitude is also rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognised as endangered that is; Brown Mahogany (Lovoa swynnertonii) and also Brazzeia longipedicellata.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The park is still inhabited by a population of about 340 individuals of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei); also referred to as the Bwindi population; which also makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is also in the nearby Virunga Mountains; they also share them in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The major threat to these mountain gorillas is poaching, habitat loss and disease, however, since 1997; there is also a gradual increase in the mountain gorilla population in Bwindi; so from 300 individuals to about 340 individuals in 2006.
The Feeding Diet of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Gorillas
Recent research has shown that the Bwindi gorilla’s diet is higher in fruits than those of the Virunga population; and even the Bwindi Silverbacks also climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. Therefore, in some months, Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees.
It also found out that Bwindi gorillas travel further per day, as they are feeding on fruits; than when they are feeding on fibrous foods. Additionally, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in, a small understory tree.
There are no mountain gorillas in a record with the captivity explaining why they are indeed an en-dangerous species; with also an estimated total population of about 650 individuals.
Tourism and Main Tourist Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Tourists also visit the park any time throughout the year; however, the conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season. The park is in a remote location, and reaching the park also involves a long difficult journey. Roads are still in a bad condition. But if you are driving to the southern Bwindi, the Road from Kampala to Kisoro is all first class. Then the bad section of the road is only about 35 Km to the forest.
Gorilla Tracking and Safaris
Gorilla Tracking is still the Park’s main tourist attraction. So Tourists that wish to track gorillas must first obtain a permit to do so. Then Seek advice from Duiker Uganda Safaris on the selection of the gorilla permits based on which section of Bwindi you would be visiting. Otherwise, we also purchase gorilla permits at Uganda Wildlife Authority. Some gorilla families are also selective for habituation to human presence; then the number of visitors is tightly in control; so as to prevent degradation of the habitat and risks to the gorillas.
Gorilla Tracking Safaris also generate much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority; also to the neighbouring communities that are crucial for Gorilla conservation. In fact, the gorillas seldom react to tourists. However, there are strict rules for tourists to minimise the risk of diseases passing from them to the gorillas.
Other captivating activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include;
- Bird watching
- Cultural community walks
- Guided nature walks
- Primate watching.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Available tourist accommodation includes lodges, that is to say, Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge; also the Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge; all these still serve the southern Bwindi with several habituated Gorilla groups. Of Nkuringo and also Rushaga Sectors.
On the side of Ruhija, also there is Gorilla Mist Camp and Ruhija Gorilla Lodge stands out.
On the Buhoma Northern side, we also have Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge; also Engagi Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Mahogany Springs, Silver Back Lodge. And so many other budget options.
Getting here at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
By Road to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in a remote location, and then reaching the park involves a long difficult journey. Roads are still in a bad condition. For tourism always a straight route is still considered the most accessible
You can still reach Bwindi Impenetrable National Park still from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the northern sector (2-3 hours); also from Kabale to the southern sector (1-2 hours), or from Kampala via Mbarara (6-8 hours). In fact, these roads meet at Butogota, 17km from the Buhoma entrance gate. And then the 4WD vehicle is necessary during the rainy season.
Kampala- Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Butogota- Buhoma. This is still the quickest and the most direct route from Kampala, through a tarmac road to Rukungiri (390km). And also 82km on murram roads to Buhoma park headquarters.
Alternatively, the other access roads are also through Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma. The Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma section of this route is 95km on the murram road and also takes 3-4hrs. Always still recommend 4WD safari vehicles for use.
By Air to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Travellers also Fly from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi airfield) to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kisoro. Planes are also charter in the grasses of Kayonza or Savannah airstrips.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also serves with the three airfields; that is to say, Kayonza and Kihiihi for the northern sector; and also Nyakabande in Kisoro for those going to track gorillas in the southern sector (Nkuringo, Nshongi, and Mishaya).
So there are Daily scheduled flights flying to Bwindi with a morning flight that leaves at 0745 arriving 0845. And also the afternoon flight that leaves 1245 arriving 1355 operated by Aerolink Uganda
Getting Around the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has so many various trailheads and you can reach them by a vehicle. However, there are no roads within the park itself, as you explore it on foot. Bwindi the ‘impenetrable forest’; the paths also pass through dense vegetation and can be steep. Therefore, Take the advantage of walking sticks that they offer at the start of a walk.
Climate and When to Visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is so chilly in the morning and at night with average temperatures ranging from 7⁰C – 20⁰C. The coldest period in Bwindi is still in June and July; as well as the wet seasons are March-May and September-November with total annual rainfall of up to 2390mm. Rains in March-May are so short. They are heavier in September-November but can just be long hours of soft drizzle.
What to Bring in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Good walking boots also if attempting any hikes or climbs
- Also a wet weather clothing and warm layers for the evenings
- it also gets cold and damp at this altitude.
- The sun is still fierce during the day even when overcast
- So be sure to still wear sunscreen and a sun hat.
- You may also want to bring waterproof bags to protect cameras and other equipment when hiking.
- Water and snacks, we also recommend having them.
- As well as have a packed lunch for full Day Tours.