Bwindi Impenetrable national forest where Gorilla tracking is majorly done in Uganda, is located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Western Rift Valley with an area of 331 sq. km. Bakiga and Bafumbira people neighboring the park influence the densest settlements in Uganda. Few Batwa pygmies are also found.
The Park is home to approximately 400 mountain gorillas and live 10 different gorilla groups for trekking like Rushegura with 10 gorillas and 1 silverback, Mubare with 16 gorillas and 1 silverback and Habinyanja with 23 gorillas and 2 silver backs all in Buhoma Sector, Nkuringo group with 19 gorillas and 2 silverbacks, Ruhija with 2 gorilla groups Bitukura and Oruzogo, Nshongi with the highest number of gorillas in Bwindi i.e Bweza, Busingye, Kahungye, Nshogi, and Mishaya
Other animal species include the chimpanzee, elephant, Colubus monkey, antelope species: golden cat, civet, bush pig, giant forest hog, black-fronted duiker, clawless otter, genet bushbuck and forest duiker, buffalo plus many species of bats and rodents. There are over 350 species of birds. Visitors always observe Kivu Ground Trush, Grauers Wabler, Bar Tailed Trogon, Brown Necked Parrot, Black Billed Turaco, White Bellied Robin Chat, Frazer’s Eagle Owl Yellow Eyed Black Flycatcher, Black Bee Eater and 200 species of butterflies and over 324 tree species, 14 of which are nowhere else found in Uganda.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
* Gorilla trekking due to the presence of Mountain gorillas.
Hiking and guided walks: Four beautiful hiking trails are available in the park:
* Munyaga river trail is a good way to see, in a short time, birds and primates leading to the popular waterfall with many tree and epiphytic ferns, orchids and butterflies.
* Rushura trail leads along the border of the Congo’s Virunga Park giving wonderful views on the western rift valley floor.
* Muzabajiro loop trail offers breathtaking views of Bwindi forest, Virungas NP and western rift valley passing through hundreds of prehistoric tree ferns.
* River Ivi trail is the longest trail of the park, taking a full day, and highly recommended to bird watchers.
Also these trails it is possible to go to the Buhoma village visiting a local bee keeping venture, Batwa traditional dancing group, observe banana beer brewing, a medicinal healer, a Butterfly pool and end at a handicraft site, a primary school, Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga National Park, Uganda
Uganda Gorilla Tours
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situated in the far south western part of Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It occupies an area of 33 sq km and it is one of the smallest national parks in Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northern most Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Sabiny (3,645 m) and Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m).
Despite of its small size, Mgahinga national park is of great significance because it is a home to the endangered mountain Gorillas that attract gorilla trekking tours or safaris to this region. This park plus other two parks in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo: that is to say Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively form the 434-sq. km ‘Virunga Conservation Area’. Given that Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, it is just 8% of the Virunga Conservation Area and the whole Park is found in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District. The park’s vegetation is partly forested and the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes that dominate the landscape contribute to the great scenic view of the area.
Other Tourist Attractions in Mgahinga National Park
Though mountain gorillas form the major attraction to the park, the park also supports other various wildlife which include
- 76 mammalian species like golden monkeys a localized and distinctive race of the Black and White colobus monkey, leopard, forest elephants, and giant forest hogs, Blue Monkeys as well as a number of bird species. Also the park is arguably the most scenic park in Uganda, offering panoramic views that stretch northwards to Bwindi and a southern skyline dominated by the steep volcanic cones of the Virungas, surely one of the most memorable and stirring sights in East Africa.
- Local communities like the Pygmy Batwa African tribe which in the past lived by gathering fruits and hunting from Bwindi Impenetrable forest. They shifted after the Park was established to protect the Mountain Gorillas. They now sing and dance for visitors also sell their handmade crafts as souvenirs.