Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a popular Uganda safari destination, is located in southern Uganda and is known for its dense foliage. Every day, when visitors embark on the famed gorilla trekking expedition, ranger guides must remove undergrowth to provide trackers access to where gorillas nested the night before. It is the actual African rainforest, with drops of sunlight filtering through the dense forest canopy, giving you the sense of being in heaven, with minimal toxicity from various emissions seen in our everyday surroundings.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 for its vast diversity of flora and wildlife, as well as being habitat to half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas. The park has a total size of 321 km2 and is mostly wooded, with some portions covered by bamboo and bushes. The forest is made up of steep, slick valleys with peaks and surrounding hills.
Due to the dense canopy, the temperature in Bwindi is cool; bring some sweaters for the evenings and long-sleeved shirts/trousers for walking. Someone who decides to walk the mountain gorillas or hunt for birds, butterflies, or bushes must be in good physical shape to climb and descend the topography. It is located approximately 1160m and 2607m above sea level.
Birding in Bwindi takes place mostly in the Mubwindi Swamp in the park’s Ruhija sector, ‘The Neck,’ a length of woodland connecting Ruhija to the Buhoma sector, and the Buhoma region, particularly along the waterfall route.
Around 350 bird species live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Because of its peculiar bird species, it is by far the greatest area in Uganda for birdwatching. The forest is home to 23 Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of which are only found in Uganda. Grauer’s Broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Shelley’s Crimson-wing are among the internationally threatened species. Handsome Francolin, Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis, White-bellied Robin Chat, Black-billed Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds are among the other species.
the forest is host to 11 primate species, including black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago, Spectacled Galago, Baboons, Chimpanzees, and Mountain Gorillas.
bwindi is home to over 120 animal species, many of which are seldom seen since they hide in the thickets of the deep forest. These include both enormous and extremely tiny animals. Elephants, duikers, buffaloes, golden cats, bush pigs, gigantic forest hogs, black-fronted duiker, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otter, side-striped jackal, civet, various bats and rodents are among the wildlife found in Bwindi forest.
Amphibians and butterflies
Over 200 butterfly species live there, including eight Albertine rift endemics. Among these are the African gigantic swallowtail and the Cream-banded swallowtail. There are 27 amphibian species known in Bwindi forest, with 11 being unique to the Albertine rift. There are 14 snake species and 14 lizard species.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is split into trail heads where gorilla trekking activities take place. The gorillas that have been trained for tourism are divided into families that are stationed at several sectors. 20 gorilla families have been fully habituated for trekking. Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo are among the trailheads.
Half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas live in Bwindi. It is recommended that you reserve your permit at least three months in advance to ensure your date, particularly if you choose a certain area. Each day, only 8 people above the age of 15 are authorized to see a gorilla family. You must be in excellent health or you will not be able to track since humans and gorillas may readily spread diseases to each other.
Before tracking, your guide will brief you and advise you to keep at least 8m away from the gorillas, avoid using flash cameras, and avoid looking straight into the gorilla’s eyes for a lengthy amount of time. Wear long-sleeved leggings and shirts to avoid scratches when trekking through the forest, bring a rain gear, seasoned boots, plenty of water, lunch (it can take a whole day to find them), and consider hiring a potter because the terrain can be challenging.
Bwindi forest is a popular Uganda birding destination and was rated Africa’s top birding destination by the Africa Bird Club. When you are given a brief period of time in Uganda and can only visit one park for birdwatching, Bwindi should be your first pick.
Birding pathways in the forest lead to many areas, including the waterfall trail, making it conveniently approachable for birding. It is host to over 350 bird species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 species found elsewhere in Uganda. monumental expeditions has wonderful site guides who are highly informed about the birds in the region, particularly the endemics. These will accompany you on your journey into the jungle, reinforcing the squad you will have begun with.
For your diverse interests, there are several pathways into the forest. There are trails that lead to lovely waterfalls where you may jump in the water. Visitors go with an armed Uganda wildlife ranger guide, who serves as both a protection and a guide in case you encounter a dangerous animal.
The accessible paths include the Buhoma-Nkuringo trek, that requires 4 to 5 hours and crosses the national park. Rushura Hill Walk – a woodland route shared by Congo and Uganda. Muyanga waterfall hike and Ivi River trek are both 14 km long and take around 7 hours to complete. Muzubijiro Loop – A 6km trek round the hill where you may see monkeys and birds.
There are several activities and cultural experiences available in the town surrounding Bwindi Forest. You might opt to live as a Batwa, a people who spent a long time in the jungle. You will be able to re-visit the jungle with them and learn about how they lived in the wild for years, along with gorillas and other creatures.
Buniga Forest nature walk in Nkuringo, a forest reserve near to Bwindi Impenetravle National Park, is one of the hikes available. Nature pathways in the Nyundo settlement and King Bakyara’s waterfall trail Visit the Aquaponics project in the community with Conservation via Public Health (CTPH). Buhoma community tours – points of interest, handmade stores, Batwa village, traditional healer, elementary school, and lastly, discover how bananas are used to produce juice, beer, and gin, and sample the results.
The Kigezi region, which contains the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is a hilly location with stunning landscape. Most lodges offer bikes you can borrow for the day to ride on the community’s particular paths, or you can ask them for a project you can rent from. ‘Ride for a Woman’ organized an Ivi river route from Buhoma park headquarters to the Ivi river.
Entebbe International Airport has scheduled/charter flights to Kihihi town, which links to the Buhoma region, or to Kisoro Airstrip, which connects to Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Flights are also available at Kajjansi Airfield, which is located between Kampala and Entebbe.
Traveling: The journey from Kampala varies on the trailhead you are visiting, for example, Kampala – Kabale – Ruhija OR Kampala – Ntungamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi – Buhoma/Nyondo OR Kampala – Kabale – Kisoro – Rushaga/Nkuringo.
Bwindi Jungle Lodge
Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Rushaga Gorilla Camp
Gorilla Valley Lodge
Buhoma Haven Lodge
Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
Broadbill Forest Camp
Nkuringo safari lodge
Clouds mountain gorilla lodge