Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) close to 460Km from Entebbe International Airport, the park covers an area of 321 km² between 1,160m and 2,607m above sea level and was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 because of the magnificent flora and fauna that includes the rare apes called Mountain gorillas. In April 1993, the first group of mountain gorillas was fully habituated for tourism and then declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 1994.
Bwindi Forests spreads over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi lies in southwestern-Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes.
More famously, with the total world population of mountain gorillas numbering slightly above 1000 animals, divided between the Bwindi National Park and the nearby Virunga volcanoes in Rwanda and D.R. Congo, Uganda’s foremost tourist attraction destination, Bwindi National Park is a habitat to more than 400 mountain gorillas (close to half way of the global Mountain gorillas’ population) and indeed one of the most remarkable UNESCO Natural World Heritage famed for the close wildlife encounters during the mountain gorillas trekking experience as the main activity operated in four different locations of Bwindi (Head Quarters), Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Trekking is conducted across fifteen (15) gorilla groups for tourism with one (1) group reserved for educational research. The Park is covered in thick and foggy jungle and the scenery views are just as spectacular and thus worthwhile for a holiday experience to wildlife enthusiasts.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, countryside bandas and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and professional guiding services.
Activities and attraction. The activities and attractions within and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that are often of interest and that offer a stunning experience to wildlife enthusiast and holiday travellers include
Mountain gorilla trekking: The highlight of a visit to Bwindi – and the climax of the long journey to the Impenetrable Forest by a flight or road transport and steep-forest trail – is a magical hour in the company of a family of mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group opted has moved since it’s observed nesting up the previous evening. Bwindi has fifteen habituated gorilla groups that are tracked from four trailheads. Three of these groups are found in the vicinity of Buhoma in northwest Bwindi; four at Ruhija in the east; and eight at the park’s southern trailheads at Nkuringo and Rushaga. Eight permits are available to track each of the fifteen habituated groups, giving a daily maximum of 120 permits. Permits must be booked in advance through your travel company with which you booked for your wildlife tour and holiday travel experience across Uganda.
Birding and watching butterflies. Bwindi’s four trailheads all offer excellent birding and butterflies watching opportunities with the prospect of checking off forest rarities. The River Ivi Trail between Buhoma and Nkuringo is recommended, as is Buhoma’s forest-edge Munyaga River Trail. Ruhija’s Bamboo Trail, leading to the 2607m Rwamunyoni peak, and Mubwindi Swamp Trail are renowned for Albertine
Nature and forest walks. Though gorilla tracking is the main attraction, other forest walks provide more relaxed opportunities to explore one of Uganda’s loveliest rainforests. The following walks can be arranged to depart in the morning at 09.00 AM and in the afternoon at 14.00 PM:
-The forest trailhead, provides a short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge, waterfall Trail leads through one of Uganda’s most pristine tracts of rainforest, passing beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns and orchids to visit three sparking crystal-clear waterfalls.
-Rushura Hill Trail provides expansive views across the plains of the Albertine Rift Valley and (on clear days) to Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north.
-Muzabajiro Loop Trail climbs to the summit of Rukubira Hill for breathtaking views of Bwindi Forest, the Albertine Rift Valley and the Virunga volcanoes.
-River Ivi Trail follows an old road through beautiful forest emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the forest.
Community Cultural experience. A visit to the community will give you a real taste of the Ugandan local community lifestyle including the realities about the cultural heritages. This consists of community walks through forest edge villages at Buhoma and Nkuringo which provides insights into the lives of the local Batwa (Pygmy) and Bakiga peoples. The Batwa are considered to be the inherent people and dwellers of the anicient Bwindi Forest, who lived in harmony with the forest and survived by hunting. In 1992, the government turned the forest into a national Park in order to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and the Batwa became conservation refugees until 2001 when American medical missionaries, Dr Scott and Carol Kellermanns came to their rescue purchasing land and established programs to improve the quality of their lives, currently, which continue to be managed by the Batwa Development Program (BDP). The Buniga Forest Walk at Nkuringo is conducted by Batwa guides who demonstrate their traditional forest knowledge.