Bwindi Forest National Park is much known for mountain gorilla safaris and, perhaps, it is the main reason why tourists come to East Africa, especially Uganda. Bwindi Forest national park is part of the vast Virunga conservational area which covers the other adjacent national parks like volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Virunga conservation area is a secret hideout for the rare golden monkeys and the mountain gorillas in Africa.
Bwindi forest national park was gazetted in 1991, the same year when Mgahinga National Park was gazetted and it was declared a UNESCO world natural and heritage site in 1994. Bwindi forest national park sits on a relatively large piece of area of about 321sq.km. This national park sits on an elevation of 1160m – 2607m above sea level. The variation in the altitude of Bwindi is attributed to the area in which it is located.
Bwindi forest lies in southwestern Uganda on the escarpment of the western great rift valley. The hillsides of Bwindi are covered with an old and extremely biological diverse rain forest which has been in existence for over 2500 years. The old tropical rain forest is home to over 400 species of plants, including ferns and ironwood trees among others.
This national park lies astride a series of steep hills and the adjacent valleys. The hills are the source of the five small rivers which drain into Lake Edward. This national park covers an area of both the montane vegetation on the hillsides however, the lowlands are occupied with tropical rainforests which can be easily accessed even on foot.
Wildlife of Bwindi Forest National park
The park is home to about 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies and frogs, reptiles plus many other endangered species of life. Bwindi impenetrable national park is among the floristically diverse forests in East Africa and other parts of Africa. Bwindi impenetrable national park has over 100o species of flowering plants, 163 species of trees and over 104 species of ferns.
The low lands in the northern part of bwindi forest, are dominated by the guinea-Mongolian flora such as the brown mahogany, brazzeia longipendicellata, and other plants similar to the vegetation of the Albertine rift valley region. The tall trees are awesome homes for many birds and primates such as monkeys like the colobus monkeys among others.
Bwindi forest national park is a refuge for chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and a lot of endangered bird species like the hornbills, beautiful turacos, among others. Despite, Bwindi is profound for a large number of mountain gorillas it holds. Almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas are found in the thick forest of Bwindi forest.
There are over 14 groups of habituated mountain gorillas that are located in the different parts of Bwindi impenetrable forest. The tourists are allowed to spend about 1 hour to interact with the mountain gorillas in the national park. The most visited gorilla group is in the Buhoma Sector. Others are found in Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. Mumbere gorilla group was the first one to be very available for tourists in Uganda. The first gorilla safaris in Uganda started in April 1993, however other 9 families of mountain gorillas are habituated and one is left for research purposes.
Alongside the mountain gorilla in Bwindi forest national park, there are other primates like the chimpanzees which are commonly found in the national park, l’hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys among others. The national park is also a home for the African elephants, giant forest hog and carnivores such as the side-striped jackal, African golden cat, and he African civet among others.
Climate and weather
Bwindi forest national park experiences a tropical kind of climate all through the year. It is characterized by an annual mean temperature which ranges from 7 °C to 15 °C, which is the lowest, and 20 °C to 27 °C, which is the maximum.
Bwindi impenetrable national park receives relatively much rainfall in the wet season, about 1400mm to 1900mm in the peak rainfall season. The peak rainfall season occurs from March to April and the second season is experienced from September to November. The rainfall in the national park is greatly influenced by the forest in Bwindi.
The dry season is the best season to carry out the park activities in Bwindi Forest national park. This is because the dry season is characterized with clear skies that are favorable for bird watching in Bwindi and also the dry trails make hiking such a fun and easy activity. However, the wet season brings a lot of coldness in the highland area, which forces the mountain gorillas to shift to the low lands, so this makes it easy to find the mountain gorillas.
Getting to Bwindi National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is easily accessed by road from Kampala which is about 520km form Kampala the capital city of Uganda. You can reach Bwindi impenetrable national park via the Kampala-Kabale route that takes about 5-8 hours’ drive over the distance of 141 km. From kabala, you can drive for another 3.5 hours over a distance of 120 km via Kanungu- Kanyantorogo and then Buhoma where the park headquarters of Bwindi forest national park are located.
You can also connect from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi impenetrable national park which is like a 2 hours’ drive to Buhoma Visitors Center in the northern sector of the park. However, the distance to Bwindi impenetrable national park depends on where you are coming from. You can trust your tour company to help you plan for your trip to Bwindi impenetrable national park. To note, most of the tour companies will transport you to Buhoma in Bwindi forest national park.