Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is probably Uganda’s leading tourist destination. The visit to this forest makes up part of most of the tour packages because it is home to probably half of the population of the existing mountain gorillas. According to Uganda Wildlife Authority, the number of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is about 459. This number is made up of various families, which families are scattered all over the forest. The natural distribution of the gorillas in various families, coupled with the action of tracking gorillas by specialized rangers makes it possible for visitors to trek for a limited time and encounter the gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is located in Southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. The Park is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park. The park has a size of approximately 332 sq. km. This park is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization designated World Heritage Site.
The park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa with more than 1000 flowering plant species
including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern sector (low elevation) has many
species of Guineo-Congolian flora including two endangered species, the brown mahogany and
Rivers and streams
The forest is an important water catchment area. With a generally impermeable underlying geology where water mostly flows through large fault structures, water infiltration and aquifers are limited.
Much of the park’s rainfall forms streams. The forest is the source of many rivers that flow to the north, west and south. Major rivers that rise in the park include the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha, and Ntengyere. Some of these rivers flow into Lake Edward, while other rivers flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi.
Bwindi has one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa. There are an estimated 120 mammal species in the park of which 10 are primates and more than 45 are small mammals. While tracking gorillas, you may also spot white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, African golden cats, antelopes, and giant forest hogs. The Park has more than 350 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species.
Other activities to do in Bwindi
In addition to tracking gorillas, one may opt to go birding, one may opt for nature walks, community interactions with the locals such as the Batwa or even opt to relax at the lodges.