Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Approximately 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world and only found in East African mountain rain forests in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protects a little more than half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the world.
To see the mountain gorillas, it’s mandatory that you acquire a gorilla permit which will cost you US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwanda from the governments.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley and is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest .The Park is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park. The park sits on 332 sq km of both Montane and lowland forest and it’s only accessible by foot. This park is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated World Heritage Site.
Special features of Bwindi Impenetrable national Park consist;
Bwindi has a tropical climate. Annual mean temperature ranges from a minimum of 7 to 15 °C to a maximum of 20 to 27 °C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1400 to 1900 millimeters. Peak rainfall occurs from March to May and from September to November. The park’s forest plays an important role in regulating the surrounding area’s environment and climate that the park experiences.
The park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa with more than 1000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern sector (low elevation) has many species of Guineo-Congolian flora including two endangered species, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata.
The forest is an important water catchment area. With a generally impermeable underlying geology where water mostly flows through large fault structures, water infiltration and aquifers are limited. Much of the park’s rainfall forms streams and the forest has a dense network of streams. The forest is the source of many rivers that flow to the north, west and south. Major rivers that rise in the park include the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha, and Ntengyere riverswhich flow into Lake Edward. Other rivers flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi.
Bwindi has one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa. There are an estimated 120 mammal species in the park of which 10 are primates and more than 45 are small mammals. The park is important for the conservation of the afromontane fauna especially species endemic to the western rift valley’s mountains.
Along with mountain gorillas, species in the park include the common Chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, African elephant, African green broadbill, and cream-banded swallowtail, Black and White colobus, Red-tailed monkeys, vervets, the giant forest hog and small antelope species.
The park is inhabited by about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) known as the Bwindi population which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world.
There are also many carnivores including the side-striped Jackals, African golden cats, and African civet The Park has more than 350 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species.
This park boasts of 360 bird species with 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics among which include the globally threatened African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Red-throated Alethe, Dusky Crimson-wing, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short -tailed/Neumann’s Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Collared Apalis, Montane Masked Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Turaco, Archer’s Robin-chat, Lagden’s Bush-shrike and Handsome Francolin.
The park can be visited at any time during the year although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season.
The park is in a remote location and the roads are in poor condition. Tourist accommodations include a lodge, tented camps, and rooms run by the community located near the Buhoma entrance gate.