Composed of 321 square miles of both montane and lowland forest, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda bordering the Virunga National Park along the Democratic Republic of Congo Border. In 1994, UNESCO declared Bwindi as a World Heritage Site.
The park is listed among the most diverse forests in East Africa providing habitat to half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. Since 1993, 19 gorilla families have been habituated for gorilla tracking. These families are located in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla Tracking & Gorilla Habituation.
Tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga is one of the most sought-after experience in the world. At the trailhead of the forest, you will be led by ranger guides and only 8 visitors are allowed to view a particular gorilla family for one hour per day, participants must be aged 15 or over.
Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening.
In all sectors of the park, trackers who sign on for the gorilla habituation experience will spend four hours with the gorillas and only 4 people daily can join track this group.
Gorilla Research Clinic
Spend a portion of your day in the life of a gorilla doctor at the Gorilla Research Clinic. Conservation Through Public Health is a grass roots, Uganda based Non-Governmental Organization in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority, established a field clinic for mountain gorillas and other animal species in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 2005.
This was an initial step in the effort to establish a long-term wildlife health-monitoring system in Uganda. This wildlife health-monitoring system is to act as an early warning system for disease outbreaks. The clinic primarily analyzes gorilla fecal samples for parasites and since its establishment in 2005, has grown to include in its remit livestock, park staff, and symptomatic humans from the Bwindi community.
Village walks are conducted around the park communities and visitors immerse in the customs and practices of the local people. The tour takes in varied activities such as farming, brewing local beer, dispensing traditional medicines and concludes with cultural dancing performances by members of the Batwa community.
Gorilla tracking is the biggest drawcard of Bwindi. If you don’t have limited time, daily guided nature walks are available inside the park. Other inhabitants to tick off your list include; 27 species of frogs, 163 species of trees, 1000+ flowering plant species, 104 species of ferns, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 120 species of mammals and other primates like the monkeys and chimpanzees.
Weather permitting, daily guided hikes ranging from 3hours to 8hours are conducted from Buhoma to Nkuringo offering the opportunity take in the surroundings. If you are lucky you may even cross paths with duikers, monkeys, sitatunga, mountain gorillas and birds.
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