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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. It comprises 331 square kilometers (128 sq mi) of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest and is accessible only on foot. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
The forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, and the diversity of species is a feature of the park. The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. Floristically Bwindi is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognised as endangered, Brown mahogany (Lovoa swynnertonii) and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift.
The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many birds (such as hornbills and turacos). It is perhaps most notable for the 340 Bwindi gorillas, half the world's population of the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/ff/Mountain_gorilla_toddler.KMRA.jpg/220px-Mountain_gorilla_toddler.KMRA.jpgMountain gorillas

The park is inhabited by a population of over 340 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga National Park. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006. Disease and habitat loss are the greatest threat to the gorillas. Poaching is also a threat.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, with an estimated total population of about 650 individuals. There are no mountain gorillas in captivity. In the 1960s and 1970s, mountain gorillas were captured in order to begin a population of them in captive facilities. No baby gorillas survived in captivity and no mountain gorillas are known of that are currently in captivity.

Location:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda. The Democratic Republic of Congo borders the western side of the park. It covers an area of 331 square kilometres (128 sq mi). Kabale town to the southeast is the nearest main town to the park, 29 kilometres (18 mi) away by road. The park comprises two blocks of forest that are connected by a small corridor of forest. The shape of the park is a legacy of previous conservation management, when the original two forest blocks were protected in 1932. There is agricultural land where there were previously trees directly outside the park's borders. Cultivation in this area is intense.
The park's underlying geology consists of Precambrian shale phyllite, quartz, quartzite, schist and granite. The park is located at the edge of the Western Rift Valley in the highest parts of the Kigezi Highlands, which were created by up-warping of the Western Rift Valley. Its topography is very rugged, with narrow valleys intersected by rivers and steep hills. Altitudes in the park range from 1,190 to 2,607 metres (3,900 to 8,553 ft) above sea level, and 60% of the park has an elevation of over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The highest elevation in the park is Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge of the park. The lowest part of the park is located at its most northern tip.

Activities
Gorilla tracking: Bwindi has 7 habituated gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists. Three of these (Habinyanja, Mubare & Rushegura) are tracked from Buhoma while other three i.e. Nkuringo, Mishaya and Nshongi are tracked from Nkuringo (Rushaaga). Bitukura Group is tracked from Ruhija tourism area. Note that other two new gorilla groups for tourism under habituation (Oruzogo - north and Kahunge - south) will soon be opened for tourism.
On gorilla groups and compositions i suggest we avoid specifying number of gorillas in the groups due to population dynamics but include as follows;

Mishaya Group is an off shoot from Nshongi Group (2010)
Kyaguriro Group is dedicated for Research opened (1999)           
Visitor registration for gorilla tracking is between 7:30 – 8:00am at various protected area tourism centres of Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga while briefing is strictly at 8:00am.

Gorilla tracking in detail
Besides gorilla tracking, the park offers a wide range of recreation and adventurous activities including:

  • Guided Nature Walks: One of the most popular nature walks winding through the impenetrable forest under the tranquil canopies is the trail to Munyaga waterfalls. Others focus on monkey viewing and birding.
  • Birding: Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa, a key destination for any birder visiting Uganda. Offers 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics including globally threatened species such as African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimson wing. Other birds include the Francolin, Cinnamon-chested Bee eaters, Green Tinker bird, Mountain and Yellow –streaked Green buls, Mountain Masked and Chestnut –throated Apalises, Red faced Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Ruwenzori Batis and White tailed fly catcher among others.
  • Batwa Cultural Experience: With experience Batwa guides, learn about the rich history of the former forest inhabitants, Batwa, who were largely hunter-gatherers and relied on the forest for medicine, food, shelter. The Batwa are also experienced artisans in wood carvings, basketry and traditional dance.
  • Bicycle Riding: Mountain bicycles are available for riding through well maintained trails to Ivi river and other exciting destinations while viewing the rich fauna and Flora

ACCOMMODATION

Buhoma Area: Up-market lodges: Mahogany Springs Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi lodge and Gorilla Forest Camp, community-run budget rooms and camping facilities are available near the Buhoma entrance gate. Medium range accommodation; Buhoma lodge, Silverback lodge, Lake Kitandara Camp, Engagi lodge, Gorilla Resort.
Budget accommodation: Buhoma Community Rest Camp.

2. Nkuringo/Rushaga

Up market; Clouds Eco-Lodge, Medium range accommodation; Wagtail and Gorilla Safari Lodge with Budget accommodation at Nkuringo gorilla Camp site

3. Ruhija

Medium range accommodation; Ruhija Gorilla Lodge and Trackers Traven
Budget accommodation; Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort and a self catering ITFC
Guest House at Ruhija park office.

GORILLA PERMITS CANCELLATION POLICY:
These terms of sale are set by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Adventure Natural African Safaris (U) Ltd, the owners and its employees will not at any one time be held liable. These Gorilla permit cancellation terms can change without notice.

0-8 days to trekking date, no refund

9-45 days to trekking date, 75% (25% refund to client)

46-90 days to trekking date, 50% (50% refund to client)

91 days and above to trekking date 25% (75% refund to client)

For further questions please e-mail us on safaris.adventure@gmail.com

 

 

   

 

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