Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Situated in the south-western part of Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest sits along the edge of the East African rift at an altitude of between 1,160 and 2,607 metres above sea-level. It forms part of the Bwindi National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The name Bwindi means ‘impenetrable’ in the local Runyakitara language. It certainly is a name not given lightly. The forest itself, which is over 25 000 years old, consists mainly of hardwood trees. These, however, are interspersed with bamboo, thus the reason for its name.

Biologically, this is a very diverse region. In fact, it contains close to 400 species of plants and other forms of vegetation. Although that is an incredible attraction for many tourists itself, no doubt the stars of the forest are the 320 mountain gorillas that live deep within it. In fact, this is almost half of the total population found on Earth. These majestic creatures do not survive in captivity, making it is essential that their habitat in Bwindi is preserved. These highly intelligent animals are very gentle and live in family groups with one leader, a male known as a silverback. He can weigh up to 120kg and will defend his family to the death if they are threatened in any way.

Other wildlife in the forest include many other species of primates, such as baboons and chimps. You can also expect to find buck, antelope and around 350 species of birds.

Bwindi Forest and surrounds offer a range of activities. Of course, tracking the mountain gorilla is top of the list, but others include chimpanzee tracking (in nearby Kibale Forest), bird watching, various cultural encounters with the local people and village craftsman, mountain biking as well as numerous hiking and nature trails both around and into the forest.

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