Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in south western Uganda, on the edge of the Western Rift Valley (Albertine rift) and is shared by Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro districts.
It is 331 sq km in size and on an altitude range of 1,160 metres (Ishasha gorge) to 2,607 metres (Rwamanyonyi Peak). The annual average temperature range is 7°C – 20°C with the coldest period being June and July.
Of the local people neighbouring the park, the majority are Bakiga and Bafumbira, constituting the most dense settlements in Uganda (350 people/sq km). A few Batwa are also found.
Species Diversity: Bwindi is home to 326 gorillas, almost a half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. There are also 346 species of birds and over 200 species of butterflies.
This afromontane forest has dense under storey of fern, vines and shrubs. About 324 tree species have been recorded here, 10 of which occur nowhere else in Uganda.
Bird Watching: Bwindi is the bird watchers haven! It holds 346 species of birds and contains 90% of all Albertine rift endemics, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa and seven IUCN red data listed species.
An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day! Visit Ruhija and Buhoma for this dream. Indicate your interest to the Park Management so that appropriate early morning departures can be arranged.
Gorilla Tracking: This is the major activity in Bwindi, with Ten Gorilla groups currently available daily for tourists.
Mubare group (5 gorillas, 1 silverback) was opened for tourism in 1993, Habinyanja group (18 gorillas, 2 silverback) opened in July 1999, Rushegura group (20 gorillas, 1 silverback) was opened in July 2002, while Nkuringo group (20 gorillas, 3 silverbacks) was opened for tourism in April 2004.
Bitukura group (14 members with Silverbacks) was opened up for tourism in 2008. Nshongi group was opened for tourism in 2009 and is believed to be the largest Gorilla family in the world with 25 gorilla members with 4 Silverbacks.
Mishaya group with 9 members and 1 Silverback was opened up for Tourism in 2011, Oruzogo group with 23 gorilla members with 2 silverbacks was opened for tourism in June 2011 and Kahungye with 13 members including 3 silverbacks.
The latest groups to be opened for tourism include Busingye which was opened at the beginning of the year 2013.
You need to book for your Gorilla Safari at least 6 months (but not more than two years) in advance to ensure that requested dates are available.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi can be challenging, therefore ensure fitness. The tracking experience starts at 8.30 am local time and can last from a few hours to a whole day! Registration at the gate commences at 7.45 am.
What to bring:
For conservation reasons, visits to the gorillas are tightly controlled. The following rules apply and must be strictly adhered to:
Group must not be more than 8 tourists and must all be over 15 years old