Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is most famously known as the home of half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and is one of the most visited parks in Uganda. The park is a dense primaeval forest located in the remote southwest of Uganda, on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley across from the DRC.
The oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest in Africa, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a well-preserved slice of nature that has remained largely undisturbed to date. It is believed that Uganda’s first people, the Batwa have inhabited this forest for 400,000 years, and many continue to do so.
The Park was first designated as Crown Forest Reserves in 1932; it changed name to Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve in 1964, and was finally designated as a national park and renamed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1991. In 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bwindi means impenetrable in the local dialects; a fitting description for the thick ground cover of ferns and vines and extensive bamboo and forest hardwoods that hinder direct access to the forest on foot.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a complex ecosystem within the forest that is inhabited by 120 mammal species of which 10 are primates, 346 bird species and over 200 butterfly species. Forest hogs, forest elephants and numerous primates roam beneath the thick canopy of trees. The park’s afro-montane forest has more than 200 tree species, over 1,000 flowering plants and 100 species of fern, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa.
Still, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains best known for her gorillas, gorilla trekking and since 2016, gorilla habituation experiences. A gorilla encounter in Bwindi, where half of the worlds total gorilla population; about 400 gorillas live, is undoubtedly the absolute highlight of any trip to Uganda. The Park is run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and is split into four sectors.