Facts About Bwindi National Park; Bwindi is remarkably known as a prime destination for critically endangered mountain gorillas. Located in the southwestern region of Uganda, that lies along the Democratic Republic of Congo bordered next to the Virunga National park in Congo and on the rim of the Albertine Rift valley.
Bwindi National park comprises of 321 square kilometers of both montane and lowland forest which can only be accessed on foot. The park was designated as a world Heritage Site in 1994 and has been gazette as national park to protect the diversity of species of the park all to thrill while on Gorilla Trekking tours and safaris.
The park is habitant for over 120 species of mammals ,350 species of birds and over 220 species of butterflies ,27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park is listed among the diverse forests in East Africa with more than 1,000 species of flowering plants including over 163 species of trees and 104 fern species. The park’s northern sector has various species of Guineo-Congolian flora, including two endangered species such as the brown mahogany and Brazzei longipedicellate. Above the park shares in the high levels of endemism of the Albertine Rift.
In spite the fact, the park is sanctuary for numerous primates such s colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and birds like hornbills and turacos. Though is most famous for the half remaining world’s population of the great mountain gorillas in the wild with more than 600 individuals of the total of 1064 individuals that still exists.
Bwindi has 21 habituated mountain gorilla groups already open for tourism which are stipulated in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and the Nkuringo in the Districts of Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro respectively. The park is under the management of ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Historically, there was two blocks of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. Of which the northern block was designated as the Kayonza Crown Forest Reserve and the Southern block designated as the Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve. And later it was renamed as Impenetrable Central Crown Forest which was under the protection of the Joint control of the Ugandan government’s game and forest departments.
Later in 1964, the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary to provide tight protection for its endangered mountain gorillas and had to rename it the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve. Then 1966 the two reserves become part of the major reserve thus increasing its area to almost 321 square kilometers. However, the park continued to be protected as both a game sanctuary and forest reserve.
Eventually, in 1991 the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve along with the Mgahinga Gorilla reserve as well as Rwenzori Mountains reserve were designated as a national park hence renamed the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, covering an area of 330 square kilometers favoring gorilla trekking tours.
This national park was declared to protect a range of species, mostly the unique mountain gorillas.
Furthermore, the park before it was also a large impact on the Batwa pygmy people who were evicted from the forest and no longer permitted to enter the park to access its resources.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest being a home of gorillas, it was declared as a national park in 1990. Then in 1993 Gorilla tracking was open as a tourist’s activity to the travelers and Bwindi became a popular tourist’s safari destinations.
In 1994 part of the land was incorporated into the park and it was inscribed on the World Heritage Site list.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority a body that manages all the ten and other reserves in the country.
Moreover, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a supportive water catchment area, generally that flows its water through large fault structures water infiltration.
The forest is also source of many rivers that flow to the north, west and south. The major rivers that rises in the park include the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihiza, Ishasha and Ntengyere rivers that flows into Lake Edward. Other rivers flows into Lake Mutanda and Bunyonyi. The park also supplies water to the agricultural areas.
Climate and weather; Bwindi has a tropical climate with annual meaning temperature ranges from a minimum of 7 to 15 degrees Celsius to a maximum of 20 to 27 degrees Celsius.
The park also experiences annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. The peak season of rainfalls happens from March to Aprils and from September to November.
However, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest plays a great role in regulating the surrounding area’s environment and climate.
The facts that why Bwindi became an UNESCO World Heritage site because of its ecological importance. More so, the park has the richest population of tree, birds, small mammals, reptiles, butterflies and moths. Meaning the park’s rich in species as resulted of the large variations of elevation and other habits types in the park.
The park is located where the plains and mountain forest meet, therefore is a continuum of low attitude to high altitude primary forest in the park. It is truly a gifted nature where one of the few large tracts of East African forest occurs.
Bwindi estimates to inhabits over 120 mammal’s species of which 10 are primates and over 45 are small mammal species. Apart from the mountain gorillas, the park has other species namely common chimpanzees, cream-banded swallowtail, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervet, L’Hoest monkeys, African elephants, African green broadbill, red tailed monkeys, giant forest hog and small antelope species.
In between 2002 to 2008 the number of mountain gorillas decreased due to poaching, diseases and habitat loss were the greatest threat to decline of gorillas.
In 2019, Bwindi inhabited more than 500 individuals of mountain gorillas were recorded Gorilla census. But the number kept on increasing since 2019 as we talk the park has a total of 600 individuals of the estimated total population of about 1064 individuals.
Bwindi gorillas feed on the diet of fruits than that of the Virunga population. The park’s silverback usually climbs trees to feed on foliage, fruits and epiphytes.
Gorillas in Bwindi are most likely to build their nest in trees during evening hours for night stay thus Facts About Bwindi National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park can be visited any time of the year though it might be difficult during the rainy season.
The park has classic and comfortable tourist’s accommodations such as a lodge, tented camps and rooms are catered for by the locals located near the Buhoma entrance gate.
Bwindi’s main key selling activity is the Gorilla tracking which generate much revenues of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
To any tourists wishing to track gorillas in one of the gorilla sectors is recommended to first obtain a permit which can be booked in advance before your arrival for the activity.
In Bwindi there are several selected gorilla families which have been habituated to human’s presences and number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent risks to the gorillas.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority updated a strict rule for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases that might transmission to the gorilla.
Mountain gorillas are only found three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo and are the only places to visit mountain gorillas.
Bwindi’s gorilla trekking permit costs USD700 per person per day for foreign nonresident, USD600 foreign resident and UGX250,000 East African members and gorilla habituation experience ‘’ a whole day activity ‘’goes at USD1,500 the same amount to Rwanda’s gorilla trekking an hour.