Bwind Impenetrable Forest, the name when mentioned to any travel enthusiast conjures an image of a giant mountain gorilla silverback thumping its chest and shouting authoritative noises to mark its territory. This destination is very famous for its native inhabitants that most travellers will pay a hefty sam just to spend 60 mins with the famous mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, 331 kms, is located in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, on an altitude range from 1.160 m to 2.607m. This tropical rain forest is spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys and is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa. “Bwindi” is a name derived from the local language to mean “dark place”, in reference to Bwindi forest’s impenetrable nature.
Wildlife in Bwind Impenetrable Forest
Bwind Impenetrable Forest hosts several primate species that include: Gorillas, chimpanzees, red-tailed and blue monkeys, olive baboons and more. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to more than half of the remaining 1000 mountain gorilla population in the world.
The record of bird species is at 350 species (Bwindi contains 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics, difficult to see in any other place in East Africa) and 200 of butterflies.
The counting record of mammals is at 120 species and they consist of: buffaloes, antelopes leopards, elephants plus more while the record of plants is at about 400 species.
Activities in Bwind Impenetrable Forest
The main activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is gorilla tracking the habituated 8 families of mountain gorillas.
Other activities besides gorilla tracking include: hiking and birding along the Munyanga Waterfall, Rushura, River Ivi and Bamboo zone trials.
Besides bird watching, River Ivi and Mubwindi swamp are also great locations for nature walks. For a great cultural experience a walk through Buhoma community, brings you to see the traditional homesteads, the local healer, the banana brewing, handicraft and cultural performances by the Batwa. The interest in mountain biking is also picking up always inquire about it for the latest.
How to get there
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park on a drive of about 3-4 hours, and from Kabale to the south (1-2 hours), and from Kampala via Mbarara (7-9 hours). The roads meet at Butogota, 17km from the Buhoma entrance gate. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended during the rains.
The Kabale – Ruhija- Buhoma segment on this route is 72 km on a dirt road branching off at Harutenga junction on the Kabale-Kisoro road.
Domestic flights fly from Entebbe to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kihihi and visitors to Buhoma can also charter planes to the grassy Kayonza or Savannah airstrips.
Bwindi is well served by three air fields at Kayonza and Kihihi for the northern sector and Nyakabande in Kisoro for groups coming to track gorillas on the southern Sector which covers, Nkuringo, Nshongi and Mshaya as well as Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.