Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Area: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the western Great Rift Valley. It comprises 331 square kilometres of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

The forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa] and the diversity of species is a feature of the park. The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. In particular the area shares in the high levels of endemism of the Albertine Rift.

The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many birds (such as hornbills and turacos). It is perhaps most notable for the Mountain gorillas because it hosts half the world’s population of the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas. There are four habituated Mountain Gorilla groups open to tourism: Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura near Buhoma; and the Nkuringo group at Nkuringo.

SIZE:331 sq km

LOCATION: Southwest. The closes large town is Kabale. GETTING THERE: Bwindi can be reached from QENP 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.

WHAT TO DO:
Gorilla tracking is the main attraction; permits must pre-booked. Other guided forest walks are available: one popular trail leads to a pretty waterfall, others focus on birding and monkey-viewing.

WHEN TO VISIT:
Any time, though conditions are more challenging during the rainy season.

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