Exploring the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is among the significant destinations in Uganda considering its position as the main recipient of the gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
The Bwindi Impenetrable forest is popularly known to be among the few forests that survived the last ice age which explains its capacity to shelter a range biodiversity including the mountain gorillas that are critically endangered.
More to the gorillas, the Bwindi forest features Afro montane vegetation which is rare in the continent of Africa.
Initially the part of the land that was to become the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazetted as a crown forest reserve in the year 1932 where the north block was Kayonza Forest Reserve while the south was Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve.
These two extended to 207km2 combined and in the year 1942, they were merged and expanded further naming them as Impenetrable Central Crown Forest.
The new protected area extended to 298km2 and was managed jointly by the game and forest departments of the colonial government.
The forest became an animal sanctuary in the year 1964 providing additional protection to the mountain gorillas.
In 1966, other two forest reserves were also added to what was existing and the area increased to 321km2. It attained a national Park status in the year 1991 and a 10km2 land was incorporated into the park making it 331km2 in 1994 while in 2003 another 4.2km2 piece of land was bought and added into the park.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park currently stands as the only single habitat in the world that has the largest population of mountain gorillas explored on Uganda gorilla safaris. It is given that a minimum of 400 mountain gorillas thrive in Bwindi which is almost a half of the world’s population of the same species standing at 880.
The park which also stands as a world heritage site is remarkably known as the ancient home of the Batwa Pygmies who were evicted to pave way for the establishment of the park and the conservation of mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas began to be habituated in the 1991 and the actual gorilla safaris in Uganda commenced in 1993.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park features a mountainous terrain with a geological composition of the Precambrian shale phyllite, quartzite, quartz, granite and schist.
The topography is generally rugged featuring narrow valleys that are intercepted by steep hills and rivers with an elevation of about 2,000m featuring the Rwamunyonyi hill as the highest point on the eastern part of the park and the lowest is in the northern end.
The Bwindi Impenetrable features a range of rivers including Munyanga, Ivi, Ishasha, Ihihizo along with Ntengyere that empty into Lake Edward while others flow down to Lake Mutanda along with Lake Bunyonyi.
The ecology of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also impressive featuring the 220 species of trees with over 50% of Uganda’s species of trees and over 100 fern species.
The park features 120 species of mammals of which ten of these are primates and surprisingly the unique park where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are thriving in the same habitat.
The park features 350 species of birds and over 200 species of butterfly. It is surrounded by impressive cultures of the Batwa and the Bakiga that are impressive to encounter as part of the gorilla safari in Uganda.
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