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The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the finest destination areas of Uganda extending east towards the great Albertine rift valley escarpment. The 331 square kilometers national park contains a thick forest along the slopes of the Rift valley harbours several animal species including half of the population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei), l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, forest elephants, chimpanzees (rarely seen) and a  bird list some it has endemic to the region, for example, the African green broad bill. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was declared a UNESCO world heritage site by 1994 and gazette in 1991 as a way of protecting the critically endangered species of mountain gorillas and the true tropical rainforest receiving an annual rainfall of 1,500mm placed at an altitude of 1,160m to 2,607m above sea level. It is the only forest where the three great apes co-existed.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse ecosystem with over 160 tree species, 100 fern types, and undergrowing plants entangled in thick bamboo, it acts as a water catchment area for some major rivers draining the conservation area and the surrounding villages  The park is divided into four sectors, Buhoma in the northwest is the most visited part of Bwindi impenetrable national park, the introduction of mountain gorillas first started here by 1993 and it is the park headquarters home to four habituated gorilla families available for trekking. Trail walks have been developed in Buhoma for ease in birding safaris and primates for example the Munyaga river trail at the bottom of Buhoma valley, Rushura trail, river Ivi trail, activities like the Buhoma community walk, and cultural experience are a cherry on the gorilla trekking.

Rushaga sector is south of the national park popular for its high number of gorilla families home to eight gorilla groups. The sector offers a gorilla habituation experience taking place for longer hours of the day, mountain gorillas are trained to get used to human presence and 4 permits are available every day for habituation, it is the only place in the park where the activity takes place carried out by researchers, park rangers, and a team of trackers.

Ruhija in the east, is home to 4 habituated gorilla families and one has been purposely reserved for research purposes, the sector can easily be accessed from the north and south, presenting a nearby connection to Lake Bunyonyi, the sector is popular for bird watching with endemic species like the African green broadbill.

Nkuringo sector lies south of the national park complementing the other three it is home to the Nkuringo gorilla family a group of 19 members led by a silverback it is open to eight travelers as per the Uganda wildlife authority rules, besides the family activities like nature walks are amazing.

Gorilla trekking is the popular activity of the park, beginning at the park headquarters taking 2or more hours depending on how far the gorilla families have moved it is a tough tiring time finding out the primates but rewarding by the end of the day, trekking is done in groups of eight per gorilla family spending an hour with the brown-eyed majestic creatures while maintaining the Uganda wildlife authority gorilla rules and regulations as they will be briefly explained before the activity. Mountain gorillas are herbivorous animals feeding on mimlopsis, mushrooms, and sometimes termites. They live in groups with families led by a silverback.

The national park is an incredible destination for birding safaris offering the best African montane bird experience, over 350 species have been recorded 23 of which are Albertine endemics, 14 of which have not been recorded anywhere else in Uganda for example the African green broadbill only in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi, other available birds include Frazer’s eagle owl, brown necked parrot, white-tailed blue flycatcher, cinnamon chested bee-eater, giant kingfisher mention a few.

The park was home to an indigenous group of people (pygmies) last short-structured people in the country who lived in the forest, they were the keepers of the forest until eventually evicted as a way of protecting endangered species that included the mountain gorilla. The Batwa continued living around the park areas while entertaining travellers through cultural performances inform of songs, folk tales, and norms. The Batwa cultural experience was created by the displaced pygmies as a way for educating and passing knowledge to the next generations.

Gorilla permits are available to all sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park, as of 1st July permit prices were revised with an increment of 100 USD from 600 USD-700 USD foreign non-residents, 600 USD for foreign residents, and 250,000 shillings for residents,  gorilla habituation permits cost is advisable to book the permits on time other activities include cultural experience, nature walks, mountain biking, birding which can be incorporated on a single trip, carry warm clothes, gloves, hiking boots, and any other personal material need for an African safari.

The park can easily be accessed by road or air, it takes approximately an 8 hours drive to the national park by road from Entebbe passing through beautiful rolling hills, green plantation covers, and landscapes, flights can be organized to the nearest airstrip Kihihi or Kisoro using the local airline Aero-link.

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