Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Uganda’s foremost tourist attraction, and indeed one of the world’s most remarkable wildlife encounters, is tracking mountain gorillas across the misty slopes of the remote Bwindi Impenetrable forest of southwestern Uganda.
These magnificent apes are rare and endangered; their total population numbers are less than 800 animals divided between the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable and the nearby Virunga volcanoes. The Impenetrable Forest is the world’s primary mountain gorilla tracking destination, with fifteen groups habituated for tourism.
Due to its great age, some 25,000 years, Bwindi’s forests contain an exceptional variety of flora and fauna. Species counts list 310 butterflies, 200 trees, 51 reptiles and 120 types of mammals. The latter includes several primates, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, and the mountain gorilla.
Birdlife is also exceptionally rich with 357 species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics such as the short-tailed warbler, Shelley’s crimson wing, African green broadbill, blue-headed sunbird, and seven IUCN Red Data List species. To protect this remarkable biodiversity, the 321km² Bwindi forest was gazetted as a national park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 1994.
What to Do
- Mountain Gorilla Tracking
- Excellent bird watching
- Nature walks
- Community walks – through forest edge villages provide insights into the lives of the local Batwa (Pygmy) and Bakiga peoples
- Flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala’s Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro
- By road – Long drive from Kampala
Best Time to Visit
Gorilla tracking is best when Bwindi’s tracks are not so wet, and there is more sunlight (June to August and December to February). Conversely, slippery paths and infrequent mist make wildlife watching more challenging during the rainy season of the year – April-May and November.