Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the furthest southern part of Uganda along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The region is further protected by the neighboring Virunga National Park in the DRC. The park covers an area of 128 square miles (331 sq km).
The national park is comprised of dense montane forest and thick lowland forest. Some would call this the ultimate Tarzan-like terrain. The forested terrain is one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. The over 150 species of trees are accompanied by over 1,000 flowering species as well as over 100 different types of ferns.
This vegetation diversity creates an astounding ecosystem for a wide variety of wildlife. There are at least 120 mammalian species as well as almost 350 species of birds. There are hundreds and hundreds of species of insects including 220 species of butterflies.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the most remarkable places for experiencing a variety of primate species. The park provides opportunities to see chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and the king of them all, the mountain gorillas. There are 7 additional species of primates.
The park is ascribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the habitat diversity and protection of the endangered species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Highlights
One of the leading highlights of the national park is the chanced to see primates in the wild. Many people prefer the chimpanzees however the pinnacle attraction of the national park is the mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas are one of Africa’s most prominent endangered species. There are approximately 400 gorillas spread across the protected area accounting for about half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.
There are 14 different family groups that have been desensitized to human interaction allowing guided groups a chance to see them in the wild without startling them with your presence.
These mountain gorillas display thicker and longer hair than other gorilla species. The males can reach a weight of about 430 pounds (195 kg) which is about double that of the females. The typical height is about five feet (1.5 m), but they can get slightly taller when fully erect. The arm span can reach about 7 feet 7 inches (2.3 m), which assists in their navigation amongst the trees.
The adult males are affectionately referred to as silverbacks. This name is drawn from the silver or grayish hair that develops along the arch of the back as these males age.
Chimpanzees are more renowned for using rocks, plants, and sticks as tools to hunt or collect their food. Along with the mountain gorilla, the chimpanzee is also an endangered species.
Chimpanzees are one of the great ape species but much smaller than the mountain gorillas. Some people prefer them because of their more playful nature.
Chimpanzees typically weigh between 88 to 154 pounds (40-70 kg). When they are standing, they will usually be between 3 feet 3 inches to almost 5 feet (100 to 150 cm) tall.
Trails of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a thick dense jungle. The majority of trekking is by official guides who navigate with a limited number of travelers through the jungle searching for opportunities to see chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and other primates. The trails are typically moderate to difficult and represent true jungle trekking.
Kashasha River Trail: This trail takes about 5 hours while trekking up steep inclines and through dense jungle. You will experience an elevation gain of about 1,968.5 feet (600 m). There are chances to see varied plant and animal species.
Mubwindi Swamp Trail: This trail meanders through the rainforest with chances to see several of the primate species as well as vistas overlooking the Virunga mountains. The trail is rated moderate.
Bamboo Trail: This is a challenging trail with an ascent of 8,553 feet (2,607 m) to the highest point in the park. This journey is more about the views of Lake Bunyonyi and the Virunga Volcanoes than the wildlife. It takes about 7 hours to complete.
Ivy River Trail: this is an 8.70-mile (14 km) trek along the river and through the jungle. There are good chances of seeing wildlife while engaging in several different panoramic views. It is also a good selection for birdwatchers.
Bwindi Impenetrable Highlights
- Mountain Gorillas
- Africa Geographic Travel, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, https://travel.africageographic.com/destinations/uganda/bwindi-impenetrable-national-park/#information, retrieved July 2020.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Park Site, https://www.bwindinationalparkuganda.com/, retrieved July 2020.
- Discover Africa, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, https://www.discoverafrica.com/safaris/uganda/bwindi-impenetrable-national-park/, retrieved July 2020.
- Uganda Wildlife Authority, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, https://www.ugandawildlife.org/explore-our-parks/parks-by-name-a-z/bwindi-impenetrable-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- UNESCO, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/682/, retrieved July 2020.