Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu District. The park is part of the Bwindi impenetrable forest and is located along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Rift Valley. Occupying 321 square km, Bwindi Impenetrable National park comprises of montane and lowland forest and is only accessible on foot. Bwindi being a rain forest acts as a catchment area and source of five major rivers which flow into Lake Albert.
Being a habitat to hundreds of animal species and bird species, Bwindi Impenetrable National park shelters 120 mammal species which include primate species like baboons and chimpanzees as well as elephants and antelopes. Other mammals in this park include rodents and bats. Recording more than 300 bird species, Bwindi Impenetrable National park hosts bird species like the brown necked parrot, African green broadbill, white-tailed blue flycatcher and frazers eagle owl found nowhere else in Uganda. Other species found in this park are frogs, geckos, chameleons, butterflies and many other endangered species.
This park is also home to an estimated 400 mountain gorillas considered half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas. In addition, Bwindi Impenetrable National park comprises of more than 1000 flowering plant species including 163 tree species and 104 fern species.
Being the only park best known for its mountain gorilla population, gorilla tracking is the major activity in Bwindi. There are four tracking locations namely Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo with a total of about 18 families. With tracking permits issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority, visitors numbering to only 8 and above 15 years old are allowed to view the gorillas for 1hr/day accompanied by UWA guides.
For those that wish to explore the forest, Buhoma area has more to offer than just gorilla tracking. There are six main nature trails ranging from 30 minutes to 8 hours from Buhoma giving you a chance to breathe the fresh forest air. The trails include the Rushura Hill walk which passes through the forest where you can be able to have a clear view of Lake Edward, Lake George and the Rwenzori Mountain. The Muyanga Waterfall walk along river Ivi-Nkuringo offers you the perfect opportunity to see the breath-taking water falling 33 meters. Muzubijiro loop takes you around the hill chances being you will encounter birds and primate and also have a view of the Virunga volcanoes. The Ivi River walk trail passes through Mukempunu also known as ‘a place of pigs’ due to the presence of wild pigs around that area. The Buhoma-Nkuringo trail takes you through the park connecting two villages where you can immerse yourself in the culture of the community living around. The Habinyanja trail takes you down the Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridge facing River Buhoma where you will see bird species like the African Black Duck and Black Bee Eaters.
A walk in the Bwindi rain forest offers you a lifetime opportunity to have a glimpse of bird species like the double collared sunbird, the Short-tailed Warble, African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher and even Uganda’s national bird the Grey Crowned Crane.
Following a trail from Buhoma to River Ivi a 13km trail, you will come across the bush bucks, the black and white colobus monkeys and the red-tailed monkeys.