Featured Park: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda

A curious gorilla assesses photographer  Petra Kilian-Gehring, who took this picture in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park while on an Ujuzi safari to Uganda.
A curious gorilla assesses photographer Petra Kilian-Gehring, who took this picture in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park while on an Ujuzi safari to Uganda.

Spanning the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley, Bwindi is one of the few rainforests in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age. It is now regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa, with at least 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, and is ranked as one of the best parks in Uganda for forest birding, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is renowned for its mountain gorilla population. An estimated 340 individuals live in 15 groups, making up about half the world’s mountain gorilla population. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants is an unparalleled encounter.

Seven gorilla families in the park are habituated and open to trekking by tourists. The Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura family groups live in the Buhoma area; the Bitukula group lives in Ruhija region of the forest; and the Nkuringo, Mishaya and Nshongi family groups live  on the southern Kisoro side.

Daily permits are available for tourists to trek and share in the lives of these amazing and endangered apes.

Besides gorilla trekking, other options in the Bwindi area include nature hikes, bird watching, trail cycling, community service projects, tribal visits and cultural activities with the local Batwa people, who have lived in the forest for thousands of years. At the Bwindi Experience outside the park, the Batwa share their culture with tourists and with Batwa children who now live in cities and want to learn about their people’s traditional way of life.

The Batwa people rely on the forest ecosystem for honey, fruit and other foods. Photo taken by Petra Kilian-Gehring on an Ujuzi safari to Uganda.
Visitors can learn about the Batwa culture at the Batwa Experience on 100 forested acres outside the national park. Here, two Batwa men show a traditional method for climbing smooth-trunked trees to reach harvests of honey and fruit. Photo taken by Petra Kilian-Gehring on an Ujuzi safari to Uganda.
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