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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park home of half of the world’s remaining  Mountain Gorillas, is located in southwestern Uganda in the highest parts of Kigezi highlands, The park is part of the Bwindi impenetrable forest situated along the Democratic Republic of  Congo border next to the Virunga Attractions in Bwindi impenetrable national park, on the edge of the Albertine rift covering 321 sq. km( 124 sq. a mi).  The park can only be accessed on foot because of its think Vegetation as its name “ impenetrable “ suggests, Every time visitors go they have to cut the vegetation for trekkers to access way to where they are heading hence referred to as a true African jungle with droplets of the sun coming through the thick forest cover, The Park derives its name from the word “ Mubwindi”   a swamp located in the south eastern part of the park meaning “ a Place of darkness”, This  swamp has  a story behind it insinuating that its difficult to penetrate thus Bwindi impenetrable meaning a  “dark place difficult to penetrate “ The park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa with abundant flora and fauna ,over 104 species of ferns, 200 tree species and over 1000 flowering plant species. Bwindi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 because of its rich diversity in hosting different flora and fauna and being home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, the two African apes. These primates are a highly endangered species, the forest possesses more than 360 individuals of the plausible 800 gorillas in the whole world .

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The park is home to over 120 mammals species including elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, yellow backed duiker, clawless otter, civet  etc. these are mammals that are found to be hiding in the thick vegetation making it hard to be spotted, numerous rodents and bats were also found in the park. The park is home to over 11 primate species including the park’s famous tourist attraction animals in Bwindi impenetrable national park, the mountain Gorillas, Baboons, Red tailed Monkey,  Blue monkey, De Brazza monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Potto among others. Bwindi is another spot to view over 350 bird species  with 23 species of the  Albertine rift valley endemics 14 of which ain’t  spotted anywhere else in Uganda such as the  short tailed warbler making it the best birding destination in Uganda based on its unique species of bird including the Collared Apalis, Black billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle,  Western Bronze-naped pigeon, Grauer’s broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Handsome  Francolin  and so many others. The bird species can best be spotted at Rwamunyonyi peak, descending on the Mubwindi swamp could lead a visitor to endemic and localized African green broadbill. Among the national parks in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable is the most visited and  generates the highest revenue to the government through the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Ugandan authority that protects and governs the Park.

History Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda

The park became  popular around the world because of its large population of mountain gorillas. The park was first designated as Crown forest Reserve into four different crown serves the Kayonza crown forest reserve in the northern part of the park, kasatora crown forest reserve in the southern part. The area was later combined and named the Impenetrable  central crown forest. The area then became a game sanctuary in 1964 and continued as a game  sanctuary and forest reserve  not until 1991 when it was named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park together with Mgahinga gorilla reserve and Rwenzori Mountain Reserve. The main reason for the gazetting of the park was to protect a range of species within the area, most notably the mountain gorillas.

Activities in Bwindi impenetrable national park

Gorilla trekking 

 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is the main activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Bwindi is one of the few national parks in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age and is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas, close encounter with the reclusive mountain gorillas in their  natural home are indubitably the world’s greatest wildlife experience. Trekking can be challenging and one needs to be reasonably fit before venturing into the activity. This activity starts very early in the morning requires you to carry packed lunch because there are no restaurants in the forest, Gorilla trekking starts at exactly 8:30 with a briefing at the park’s headquarters, this activity can last from a few hours to a whole day depending on where the gorilla hosted the night on finding them you will be give a full hour to spend with them in their natural habitat learning how they play, feed , breast feed, grooming the young one among others. Trekking is a captivating and unforgettable experience which more than repays the effort needed to reach where they are. You are required to have a trekking permit and also a long sleeved shirt and long trousers with a raincoat because it can rain any time because of the thick vegetation cover.

Gorilla Habituation

Gorilla habituation is an exciting adventure itself and the second main activity after gorilla trekking, Bwindi forest national park is the only place in Africa where you can spend 4 hours to a full day with the gorilla family in its natural home  learning more about their lifestyle in this activity you will follow the researchers and habituates as they follow gorillas during their daily activity, this is intended to teach them how to get  used to human presence without altering their natural behavior. You will see gorillas de-nesting, feeding, copulating, breastfeeding until they build new nests and retire for the night.

Bird watching

 

Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa, with over 350 species including the western green Tinkerbird, white-brown crombec, African hill etc. The park is home to 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine rift valley endemics even the globally threatened species like the African green broadbill as well as the IUCN red data listed. There are four trails used for birding, that’s to say Buhoma Waterfall trail, bamboo trail that leads to Rwamunyonyi peak, the highest peak and notable spot for birding, and the Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija could lead you to the endemic and localized African green broadbill.

Cultural Encounter

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Batwa people lived in this forest before they were evicted after it was gazette, Batwa people will take you through their life style and their past life how they used to survive in the forest, how they hunted, plants they acted as food  and medicine, how to make fire traditionally, story telling, music, dance and drama. Note that this activity is guided by those who know them better.

Mountain biking

Mountain Biking is also  a good activity around Bwindi, this is usually done through a well maintained 13km trail of Ivi River from the Buhoma northern sector of Bwindi because it provides the best biking experience. Bicycles are available for hire, this activity is carried out by Ride 4 a woman, a community support group. Kindly note that you should be provided with a professional guide. 

Lake Mutanda visit

The lake has many islands which can be explored on a dugout canoe or you can just go on a relaxed sunset boat cruise, the lake is located in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

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