Home to almost half of the world’s serviving mountain Gorillas, the world Heritage-listed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s most famous national parks. Set over 331-sq-km of improbably steep mountain rainforest, the park is home to an estimated 360 gorillas: undoubtedly Uganda’s biggest tourist draw card.  The impenetrable forest, as it’s also known, is one of Africa’s most ancient habitats, since it thrived right through the last Ice Age (12,000 to 18,000 years ago) when most of Africa’s other forests disappeared. Along with the altitude span (1160m to 2607m) this antiquity has resulted in an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, even by normal rainforest standards. And we do mean rainforest; up to 2.5metres of rain falls here annually.

Its 120 species of mammal is more than any of Uganda’s other national parks though sightings are less common because of the dense forest. Lucky visitors might see forest Elephants 11 species of primate (including Chimpanzees, Blue, Red tailed Guereza Colobus and L’hoest monkeys), duiker, bushbuck, African Golden Cats and the rare Giant forest Hog.

ACTIVITIES

Gorilla Tracking

 A genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience, hanging out with mountain gorillas is one of the most thrilling wildlife encounters in the world, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best places to see them. Trips leave (from the park office nearest the group you’ll be tracking) at 8:00am daily, but should report to park offices at 7:30am.  Once you finally join a tracking group’ the chances of finding the Gorillas are almost guaranteed. But, since the terrain in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Mountainous and heavily forested.  Walking sticks are also a very good idea and provided by UWA.

Of the 28 Gorilla groups living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Varying from families of 5 to 27 individuals) nine have been habituated to be visited by tourists with permits issued for the following regions, Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. NATURE WALKS; Even if you can’t afford Gorilla tracking, Bwindi is rewarding park to visit just for a chance to explore the lush virgin rainforest. Several three to four hours nature walks penetrate the impenetrable forest around Buhoma.

Birding in Bwindi

Bwindi Impeneratrable National Park offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa and is a key destination for any birder visiting Uganda. Amongst the numerous possibilities are no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift Endemics, Including Spectacular, and globally threatened species.   The forest lies in rugged Kigezi Highlands of Southwester Uganda, protecting acintinuum of forest that ranges from montane to lowland areas Including; Ruhija is situated at an altitude of 2300m, which is likely to be one of the highlights of any trip to Uganda with excellent birding in spectacular surroundings, the bamboo zoon (2525m a.s.l) is reached about 5km from the park offices and it offers the best chance of finding the Handsome Francolin while on the track. Buhoma lie in the valley of Munyaga rive at 1550m a.s.l, flanked to the south by steep, forest hills. Excellent forest birding, not least the prospect of numerous rare and localized Albertine Rift endemics make this a true birding Mecca.

 Key species include;

 African Green Broadbill, Shelley’s  Crimson wing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Red throated Alethe, Archers Robin Chat, Kivu ground thrush, Montane masked Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauers warbler, Short tailed Warbler, Red faced woodland Warbler, Yellow eyed black Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Batis, Strange Weaver, Western Bronze napped pigeon, Dusky and Olive long tailed cuckoos, Frasers Eagle Owl, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Bar tailed Tragon, Black bee-eater, Willcock’s honey guide , Fine banded and Elliot’s Woodpecker, Grey chested  and Mountain Illadopses, White bellied Robin chat, Forest Ground Thrush, Banded Prinia, Black faced Rufous warbler, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Many collared Bush shrike, Brown capped Weaver, White collared Olive Back, Red fronted Antpecker, Oriole- Finch, African Swooty Flycatcher, Equatorial Akalat, Red-tailed Bristle bill, Narrow tailed Starling, Dusky Tit, Pettit’s Cuckoo shrike, Olive Green Camaroptera.