Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is found in the south western region of Uganda, this park is an important ecological system as it is a place where montane and lowland forests meet and because of that it was enlisted among the UNESCO natural world heritage sites in 1994. Bwindi impenetrable national park is situated in kanungu district stretching through an area of 321 square kilometres and lying at the altitude of 1,190m -2607meters above the sea level.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is densely dominated by thick montane and low land forest trees which include numerous tree species such as Newtonian, entandrophragma, podocarpus gracilior tree species and swamps on the edges of the forests. Due to the forested and mountainous nature of the park it receives a lot of rainfall with two seasons that is September to November which is the longest rain period and March to May a short rain period.
History of Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park forests were habitats for the Batwa pygmy people until 1932 when the forests were gazetted as forest reserve purposely to protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas from extinction, ‘the newly established forest reserve was made up of two blocks that is north block (kayonga crown forest reserve) and south block (kasatora crown forest reserve) stretching through an area of 207 square kilometres. In 1942 kayonga crown reserve and kasatora crown forest reserve were joined together to form impenetrable central crown forest, the newly established entity was put and the administration and control of Uganda’s game and forest departments.
In 1964 the impenetrable central crown forest was declared as an animal sanctuary in 1964 and its name was also changed to impenetrable central forest reserve, in 1991 today’s Bwindi impenetrable national park as a results of promoting the animal sanctuary into a national park. Though the formation of the park was a positive gesture to the protection of mountain gorillas which were decreasing in number, it greatly affected the Batwa pygmy people the early ancient inhabitants of the forests as they were forcefully evicted for the forests without compensation. Because of the forced eviction the Batwa were left with no choice but to become squatters on the lands of Bakiga and bafumbira people.
Attractions in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a famous home for mountain gorillas, mountain gorillas are critically endangered animals only found in four protected areas in the world with Bwindi impenetrable national park habiting the largest population estimated to be over 400 individual gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable national park is made up mountainous terrain which is densely covered with both montane and rain forest trees making the park the perfect home for mountain gorillas, mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park live in families under the leadership of one dominant silverback and these families are found in various sectors of the park.
Due to the forested nature of the park, Bwindi impenetrable national park is also a habitant to many other primates such as olive baboons, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkey, red tailed colobus monkey and many more.
Though Bwindi impenetrable national park is famous for mountain gorillas as the trade mark habitats, the park is a home to over 120 mammals which thrive in the thick forested park. These animals include elephants, warthogs, antelopes and many more,
Bwindi impenetrable national park hosts the most spectacular vegetation cover in Africa, the park is dominated by both tropical rainforest and montane trees with over 400 tree species. Tree species in Bwindi impenetrable national park include Guineo-congolian flora that is brown mahogany and brazzei longipedicellate species which are recorded to be the most endangered tree species, other species in the park include rare mahogany These species are estimated to be over 25000 years’ old
Bwindi impenetrable national park is dominated by thick rain forest tree which enable an estimated population of 350 bird species to perfectly thrive in the park, bird species in the park are majorly forest bird species such as Emerald Cuckoo, Dark caped Bulbul, White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill, strange weaver, montane oriole, black bee eater, western green tinker bird, bar tailed trogon, yellow sreaked greenbul and many more. Among the birds habiting in Bwindi impenetrable national park there is also Africa’s rare bird species such as Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch and horn bills.
Things to do in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is the major activity taking place in Bwindi impenetrable national park and because of the trekking Bwindi is now a famous and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park was introduced in 1993 proceeding the habituation of mubare gorilla family. This amazing expedition takes place in various habituated families which are found in different sections of the park as follows
Buhoma sector is the first sector to be opened for mountain gorilla trekking expedition, it consists of 3 habituated families which include
- Mubare family- a family of 6 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback kanyonyi
- Habinyanja family- this family is the biggest family in Buhoma sector consisting of 17 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Makara, this family consists of 5 adult females 1 sub adult, 3 juveniles, 6 infants, 1 black back and 1 silver back.
- Rushegura group- a family of 16 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Kabukojo, this family consists of 4 black backs, 4 adult females, 3 juveniles, 4 infants.
Ruhija sector hosts three habituated gorilla families which are trekked, that is
- Oruzogo family – a family of 17 members under the leadership of Bukwate a dominant silverback, it consists of 5 adult females, 2 black backs, 2 sub adults, 1 juvenile and 5 infants.
- Bitukura family – a family of 13 members under the leadership of Ndahura a dominant silverback, this family consists of 4 silver backs, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants.
- Kyaguliro family– a family of 20 members, this family hosts amazing history of exchange of leadership. Initially led by Rukina a dominant silverback who was struck dead by lightening, he was succeeded by an inexperienced young silverback who was overthrown by Rukara an immigrant adult silverback from Bitukura group. Due to power struggle this group split into two groups that is
Kyaguliro A under the leadership of Rukara, it consists of 1 silver back, 2 black backs, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants.
Kyaguliro B under the leadership of Mukara, it consists of 1 silver back,4 adult females,1 sub adult and 4 infants
Rushanga sector hosts 5 mountain gorilla groups which are trekked, they include
- Nshongi family – a family of 7 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Bweza, it consists of 3 adult females, 1 sub adult, and 1 juvenile and 1 infant.
- kahungye family – a family of 17 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Rumazi, it consists of 3 adult females,3 silver backs,3 black backs,2 infants,3 juveniles and 3 sub adults.
- Mishaya family – a family of 12 members under the leadership of Mishaya a dominant silverback.
- Busingye family – a family of 9 members
- Bweza family – a family of 23 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback kakono, this family consists of 2 silverbacks,4, black backs,1 sub adult,3 adult females and two infants.
Nkuringo gorilla sector hosts only one gorilla family with 12 members and consists of 2 silverbacks,1 black back,2 adult females,2 sub-adults,3 juveniles and 2 infants.
Trekking in these family will offer you an amazing time and get an opportunity to spend an hour with mountain gorillas our closest relatives.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home to over 350 bird species which are seen while hiking in the park, while hiking in the forests of the park for bird watching there is many trails are used and on these trails you get to view numerous colourful birds. Trails like trail of Buhoma waterfall, mubwindi swamp trail and bamboo zones are the best trails for bird watching and birds like African Emerald Cuckoo, Dark caped Bulbul, White-tailed Blue Flycatchers and Red-headed Bluebill, tit Hylia, regal sunbird, African wood owl, black bee eater, red-throated alethe and many more are spotted.
Batwa trail encounter
Bwindi impenetrable national park is more than mountain gorillas, birds and forests, the park also offers culture encounters through the Batwa trail. On the Batwa trail encounter you get to encounter various aspects of the forest ancient people that is the Batwa pygmy people, these people used to live in the forests until they were forcefully evicted from the forests during the gazetting of Bwindi impenetrable national park. Batwa people are hunters- gatherers and upon visiting the Batwa community you get to see traditional ways of building using local materials, hunting skills and local medicine collecting skills, you are also welcomed by traditional dances and songs performed by the Batwa pygmy people.
mountain biking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is an adventurous treat in the park as you ride through the hills and valleys of the park, this activity involves using bikes which are offered by women community support group. Mountain biking takes place along two trails that is Buhoma mountain trail which leads to the peak and ivy river trail navigating through river Ivy and on this trail you get to see many animals like chimpanzees, olive baboons and many colourful birds.
Bwindi impenetrable national park offers breath taking nature walks through the tropical forest filled valleys and mountains, during nature walks many trails are used such as Ruizi river trail, Muzabajirro trail, Rushurra trail, munyaga river trail bamboo trail. This trail led to beautiful attraction like water falls, chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, beautiful vegetation cover and many more.
Buhoma village walk and community tour
Buhoma village walk showcases the cultural side of Bwindi impenetrable national park, this activity takes you through the community people living in Buhoma village and it takes approximately 2-3 hours of learn various cultural activities of the native people like collecting of local medicine, making of crafts, preparation of local dishes, traditional dances and drama and many more. Buhoma village walk is headed by a well informed and experienced guide who helps in delivering deep information to you a tourist on this activity, community tour in Bwindi impenetrable national park includes visiting Rubugira village on a walk, Nkuringo cultural centre.
Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park has a lot of options to choose from when it comes to accommodation while on a safari in this park, accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park is got depending on the sector you are to trek. These Lodges include volcanoes Bwindi lodge, clouds mountain gorilla lodge, broad bill forest camp, silverback lodge, trackers safari lodge, Nshongi forest camp, Rushanga gorilla camp, chameleon hill lodge and many more.