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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Giant gorilla spotted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, 331 kms, is located in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, on an altitude range from 1.160 m to 2.607m. This is a real tropical rain-forest, spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys. It is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forest in Africa. In the local language “Bwindi” (from “mubwindi”) means “dark place”, referring to the impenetrable nature for human beings to the swamp located the South East of the actual Park, according to legends.

Variety of species.

There are 11 species of primates, including Gorillas, chimpanzee, Hoest’s, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white Columbus, olive baboon. Particularly, Bwindi is home to 360 mountain gorillas, a half of the total remaining world population. There are 346 species of birds recorded (Bwindi contains 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics, difficult to see in any other place in East Africa) and 200 of butterflies. Mammals count only 30 (buffaloes, leopards, elephants). There are 324 species of tree.

Activities.

The main activity is “gorilla tracking” to the habituated 8 families of mountain gorillas. Hiking trails are open to people to sight birds, butterflies and primates, trees (along the Munyaga, Waterfall, Rushura, River Ivy and Bamboo zone trials). Specially recommended for bird watchers are the River Ivy and Mubwindi swamp nature walks. Cultural walk to Buhoma village community, to see the traditional homestead, the local healer, the banana brewing, handicraft and cultural performances for Batwa. The mountain biking is also evolving.

Accessibility

Bwindi can be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park in the north (2-3 hours), from Kabale to the south (1-2 hours), or from Kampala via Mbarara (6-8 hours). The roads meet at Butogota, 17km from the Buhoma entrance gate. 4×4 recommended during the rains.

There are daily bus services leaving Kampala for Butogota via Rukungiri and Kihiihi. A matatu can be hired from Butogota to Buhoma the park entrance gate. The Kabale – Ruhija- Buhoma segment on this route is 72 km on a murram road branching off at Harutenga junction on the Kabale – Kisoro road.

Air transport: Travelers can fly from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi airfield) to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kisoro. Visitors to Buhoma can also charter planes to the grass Kayonza or Savannah airstrips. Bwindi is well served by three air fields at Kayonza and Kihiihi for the northern sector and Nyakabande in Kisoro for those going to track gorillas in the southern Sector (Nkuringo, Nshongi and Mishaya as well as Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park).

Accommodation facilities

Bwindi national park has got quite wide range of accommodation facilities both luxury, Mid-range and budget which include the Gorilla forest camp, Gorilla resort, Mahogany springs, Silver back lodge, Buhoma home stead, Lake Kitandara tented camp, Ruhija lodge (Luxury) and Engagi lodge, Cuckoo land lodge, Buhoma rest camp, Nkuringo safari camp (Mid-range accommodation).

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