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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwest Uganda - the home of gorilla trekking - has ancient rainforests with some of the highest levels of biodiversity in Uganda.

This 330km² (32,000 hectares) UNESCO world heritage site rainforest is one of Africa’s oldest ecosystems. Precipitous slopes descend to deep valleys cut into the landscape by tumbling, mountainous streams and the air is filled with the clamorous calls of forest birds unseen in the canopy. From ancient hardwood trees interspersed with bamboo thickets to delicate fern fronds, dangling vines and vicious nettles, the word “Bwindi” literally translates to “impenetrable” in the local Runyakitara language of Uganda.

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The safaris below include Bwindi

Everything you need to know about Bwindi

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four sections, named after the surrounding villages, and each hosts several habituated gorilla families that are accessible for tourists:

1. Buhoma (northern Bwindi)

The most visited area of the park, Buhoma is the largest of the four sectors and has the highest density of luxury accommodation options. As the first section of the park to open to visitors, this is where gorilla trekking first started in Bwindi. Visitors can also tour the neighbouring communities, bird watch and hike some of the most spectacular forest trails in Africa.

Gorilla family groups found in Buhoma:

  1. Mubare

  2. Habinyanja

  3. Rushegura

  4. Katwe

2. Ruhija (eastern Bwindi)

Ruhija is less-frequented than Buhoma, and popular with bird watchers and avid hikers who aim for the top of Rwamunyonyi Peak ("the hill of many birds") - the highest point in the park that offers extraordinary views. Many lodges and tour guides also offer trips into the surrounding areas to meet some Batwa people - the park's original inhabitants. On offer are demonstrations of the use of medicinal plants found in the forest and other ancient survival skills practised by their people for thousands of years. While elephant sightings in Bwindi are infrequent, Ruhija offers the best chance of spotting one of these shy grey ghosts.

Gorilla family groups found in Ruhija:

  1. Kyaguriro

  2. Oruzogo

  3. Bitukura 

3. Rushaga sector (southern Bwindi)

The Rushaga region of Bwindi is famed for its gorilla trekking and the gorilla habituation experience - where tourists spend up to 4 hours with the group rather than the standard 1 hour. The Rushaga sector includes Lake Mutanda, so visitors can set out on a boat cruise for an entirely different perspective of the spectacular scenery.

Gorilla family groups found in Rushaga:

  1. Bikingi

  2. Bweza

  3. Busingye

  4. Mishaya

  5. Kahungye

  6. Mucunguzi

  7. Nshongi - the largest of all the gorilla families in Bwindi 

  8. Rwigi

4. Nkuringo (western Bwindi)

The Nkuringo sector is the most scenic area to visit in Bwindi. The dramatic topography and break-taking views of the Virunga volcanoes do come at a physical cost; this particular region is better suited to more physically active visitors.

Gorilla family groups found in Nkuringo:

  1. Bushaho

  2. Christmas

  3. Nkuringo

  4. Posho

Apart from the mountain gorillas that have made the region famous, Bwindi is also home to another nine species of non-human primates. There are tool-wielding chimpanzees in the forest (Bwindi is the only place where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are found together). Still, at this stage, none are habituated to the presence of humans, so sightings tend to be rare and relatively brief. The remaining primate species are black-and-white colobus, Ugandan red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, golden monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, vervets and vulnerable L'Hoest's monkeys.

In addition, other mammals include forest elephants, duikers, forest hogs, bush pigs, golden cats, jackals, civets and numerous other small mammals. 

Bird watchers

Bird watchers can hope for 350 species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Notables include Chapin's flycatcher, short-tailed warblers, green tinkerbirds, Shelley's crimsonwing and African green broadbill. 

Bwindi has high rainfall with mild temperatures. Because of the proximity to the equator, temperatures remain consistent throughout the year. Expect average daytime temperatures of around 23°C/73°F, dropping to around 11°C/52°F at night.

Bwindi receives rain throughout the year. June and July receive the least rain, and the highest rainfall is from March to May and October to November. 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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