Most people come here for the Mountain Gorillas, but this unique Ugandan National Park is worth an exploration simply by itself. It behooves one who is coming to track Mountain Gorillas to walk along with eyes wide open and camera at the ready to see all that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has to offer to you.
Welcome to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Bwindi a word that has the connotation of darkness in it.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located southwest of Uganda (8-10 hr drive) from Kampala capital – a famous spot for the spectacular gorilla tracking (trekking) experience and a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site in recognition of its rich and unique ecosystem. It spans 331 km² (128 mi²) of jungle forests comprising both montane and lowland forest accessible only on foot. Bwindi National Park is most notable for being home of over 400 of the world’s critically endangered estimate of 880 (as of November 2012) mountain gorilla population, which has been under protection since 1964. There are 10 habituated mountain gorilla families/groups open to tourism here not those of the Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Close to human population (local communities receive 10% of the government receipts on permits so that they do not disturb Bwindi and its Mountain Gorillas'), and yet Bwindi is a world of its own. Steep ridges, that can be tough to traverse, dense forest, a bio-diverse miracle that is not to be missed. Originally it was Impenetrable Forest Reserve under the colonial administration in 1932 it was then named Bwindi National Park in 1991 under the current Government of President Museveni.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Mountain Gorilla Population has been increasing in numbers since 1991 and is the result of much hard work by many environmental and wildlife conservation groups.
One of the pioneers of bringing tourists into the presence of Gorillas was Walter Baumgartel, who lived in Kisoro, he was an advocate of gorilla conservation, and among the first to see the benefits that tourism could bring to the area.He owned a small hotel "Travellers Rest Inn" where Dian Fossey from "Gorillas in the Mist" used to stay. His book "Up Among the Mountain Gorillas" with subtitle "Encounters with the giant apes in the remote highlands of southern Uganda" is quite insightful today giving you a background of the early struggles to protect the Mountain Gorillas and to allow those interested to see them up close, for until that time it was seen as too dangerous, a myth that the thousands of visitors each year disprove.
Away from the Gorllas, Bwindi Forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, and the diversity of species is a feature of the park. It is home to a number of Forest Elephants in one corner of the park and are rarely seen by visitors. Forest Elephants are smaller and hairier than their savannah cousins, and not only Forest Elephants but Bwindi is also home to 120 different mammals. Mammals such as 11 kinds of primates such as L"Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkeys, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzees in sizeable numbers are found in Bwindi. You can also find forest duiker antelopes and bush buck
antelopes and a few others.
In Bwindi you can find over 350 different species of birds, some of which are found nowhere else. Keep your eyes wide open while you are tracking (trekking) gorillas at Bwindi. Besides all the birds there are 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species all found in the park.
Besides Gorilla tracking (trekking) you can take day trails from 30 minutes to 8 hours from the Buhoma Area enjoying the peaceful forest and birders can find over 190 bird species in the area of Buhoma. The three hour waterfall trail is one of the best and of course wherever you walk there are lots of butterflies that will meet you on your path.
Bwindi is the place to visit for a memorable encounter with Mountain Gorillas in the Mist.
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