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|Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is situated in south western Uganda on the edge of the western Rift Valley with an area of 331 sq. km.
The Park is home to around 340 mountain gorilla, almost half of the world's population of mountain gorilla. At the time of writing (october 2007) there are 4 gorilla groups available for gorilla tracking: Mubare and Rushegura group with 10 gorillas and 1 silverback; Habinyanja group with 18 gorillas and 1 silverback; Nkuringo group with 19 gorillas and 2 silverbacks.
But Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is not only about gorillas.
There is a lot more like 350 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 324 tree species 14 of which are nowhere else found in Uganda. This is one of the richest areas for flora in Africa.
Bakiga and Bafumbira people neighbouring the park constitute the most dense settlements (350 people for sq. km) in Uganda. Few Batwa pygmies are also found.
Gorilla tracking is strictly controlled to ensure no disturbance to the gorilla families as such only a limited number of visitors is allowed in one day, making it advisable to make reservations at least three months in advance.
This is one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa with 11 primates species. Half of the world's population of the endangered Mountain Gorillas is here. Other animal species including the Colubus monkey, chimpanzee, elephant, 6 antelopes species: bushbuck and 5 types of forest duiker, buffallo, golden cat, civet, bushpig, giant
forest hog, black-fronted duiker, clawless otter, genet and many species of bats and rodents.
Bird life in Bwindi is prolific with more than 350 species recorded and is one of the best birding locations in E. Africa. Of particular interest for birdwatchers are 23 species endemic to the albertine rift with at least 14 species recorded nowhere else in Uganda. Visitors can see Brown Necked Parrot, Black Billed Turaco, Yellow Eyed Black Flycatcher, White Bellied Robin Chat, Frazer's Eagle Owl, Black Bee Eater, Kivu Ground Trush, Grauers Wabler, Bar Tailed Trogon and really too many more to mention. The Ruhija area of Bwindi is home to the Green Broadbill, a very rare but ever present bird.
Bwindi NP is also renowned for its 200 species of butterflies, including 8 Albertine Rift Endemics. Butterflies watchers can spot up to 50 species in a single day.
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.
Additional to these trails it is possible to go to the Buhoma village visiting a local bee keeping venture, a Batwa traditional dancing group, a primary
school, see banana beer brewing, a medicinal healer, a Butterfly pool and end at a handicraft site.
A challenging but rewarding car trail will lead visitors to Uganda's finest vistas of deep undisturbed forests with a chance to observe primates and both forest and grassland bird species.
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