Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazzetted as National park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO natural world heritage site in 1994. Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Bwindi is located in the south western Uganda on the edge of the rift valley and covers an area of 331sqkms. It is the source of five major rivers which flow into Lake Edward. Its major tourist attraction is gorilla tracking with 4 gorilla tracking trailheads, 9 groups that are habituated for tourism and one for research purposes. 8 tourists are booked per group per day.
The park is about 530km from Kampala and can be accessed on several roads. The Kampala –kabale-kanungu- Buhoma road is (5-6hrs journey) while the Kampala- Ntungamo_Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma road is (5hrs journey).
Bwindi with its mist covered hillsides, this impenetrable forest is the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest with over 120 mammal species, 346 bird species and 27 frog, chameleons and geckos among others. The species to expect in the park are the gorillas, birds like Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, and Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher and Ashy Flycatcher and Dusky-blue Flycatcher.
The park is blessed with forest trails that lead to various attractions that include rivers, waterfalls, wildlife concentration and swamps. Birding is another attraction in the park that provides a wide opportunity to venture in various Albertine rift such as the short- tailed warbler. Other activities are Mountain biking and Nature walks to the falls and part of the forest, wonderful hikes along the hills crest and rivers.
Bwindi Impenetrable main activities are:
Gorilla Tracking is an experience worth to remember since its challenging and one needs to be reasonably fit enough to go venturing. The activity commences at 08:00hrs with briefing at the receptions and then tracking begins at 8:30hrs and can last for 2hours to a whole day depending on where the gorillas were left the previous day.
The other activities are the Nature walks arranged to depart in the morning at 9:00am or afternoon at 1415hrs.the walks include Munyanga River trail, water fall trail, Rushura hill trail as well as Muzabajiro loop trail and River Ivi trail and this will give you an opportunity to see different bird species, trees and butterflies.
Buhoma village walks
The village walks are managed by the local community and lasts for three hours. It introduces the tourists to rural homesteads, traditional healers, banana beer demonstrations and cultural performances in the evening.
Bird watching is held at Bwindi Impenetrable NP since the park harbors over 346 bird species and 90% of the Albertine Rift species difficult or impossible to see in East Africa. The species available include African green broad bill, dwarf honey guide, kivu ground thrush, lagden’s bush shrike, yellow eyed flycatcher, the montane double-collared sunbird and the dusky twinspot.
Mountain Bike rides; these are available for rent with prior notice and are done around the forest and villages on well maintained bikes.
Peak periods for mountain-gorilla trekking are the 2 dry seasons of (Jun–Sep & Dec–Feb). Mandatory gorilla-viewing permits are often cheaply obtained during the quieter rainy seasons (Mar–May & Oct–Nov), though trekking conditions tend to be more difficult at this time.
While at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park you will stay at Buhoma lodge and Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge for luxury stay, Buhoma community rest camp, Bwindi guest house and Nkuringo Gorilla for a budget stay.