Bwindi Forest National Park
Bwindi Forest National Park
Bwindi Forest National Park, located in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the western Rift Valley on the Zaire border adjacent to the Parc National des Virungas. It is one of the largest (331 sq. km) natural forests in East Africa and contains both montane and lowland forest. It supports a large number of plants and animals endemic to the region and half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas. The Forest isn’t as inaccessible as the name suggests.
The more than 300 Mountain Forest Gorillas, are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The other half is split between Zaire and Rwanda, where they used to roam freely until they were separated by encroachment and farming.
There are two habituated groups, ‘Mubare’ and ‘Katendegyere’. Only the Mubare group is fully habituated and a maximum of 6 visitors are allowed per day. Tracking begins with a fairly strenuous walk through the forest up steep and slippery slopes, to where the Forest Gorillas were found on the previous day. Then the trackers look for any signs – pressed-down grass, broken twigs, dung – that might tell them the direction the group has taken.
Visitors follow through the dense undergrowth until they reach where the Gorillas spent the night. Then the search continues, at times crawling through the thickets. Upon finding them, you spend a magical hour with these great apes. The success rate of finding gorillas on a daily basis is around 90% and such is the positive impact of these conservation-driven treks that the gorilla population is actually increasing.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Mountain Gorillas cover long distances each day and tours can last anywhere between three to eight hours. There are very strict rules to follow when around the gorillas, to prevent behavioral disturbances and transmission of disease from human beings to gorillas. Even the common cold could be fatal to a gorilla and sick participants are not allowed to join.
Bwindi isn’t just about gorillas, there are 11 other species of primate and numerous mammals ranging from shy forest elephants to giant forest hogs. The Bwindi Impenetrable forest is home to 120 species of mammals and 163 species of trees, making it one of the richest ecosystems in Africa.
The bird watching is excellent – keep a look out for any of the 23 endemics among the 350 recorded bird species – while even the most seasoned of nature-lovers will be amazed by the dazzling colours of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a destination on most Ugandan safari itineraries and combines easily with the country’s savannah reserves such as Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Talk to us about your requirements and we’ll make sure your Bwindi Impenetrable Forest gorilla trek will be an unforgettable adventure.
Bwindi Forest can be conveniently included on an itinerary that takes in iconic safari destinations such as the Masai Mara and Serengeti or even beach holiday in Lamu Island or Zanzibar Island. Browse our recommended tours and safaris or contact us and we will tailor-make a personalized safari itinerary for you.