Gorilla Express – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Kigezi Highlands, Bwindi Impenetrable NP
This park is home to more than half of the world’s wild mountain gorilla population and was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in December 1994. World Heritage Sites are internationally recognized as natural features of outstanding beauty or scientific value.
The landscape here is rugged, with deep valleys running between steep sided hills and ridges with barely a square kilometer of the park flat. There are continuous stands of both lowland and montane rainforest with a dense undergrowth of herbs, vines and shrubs (hence the name impenetrable).
This area is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa with the richest faunal community in East Africa. There are estimated to be 120 species of mammals (more than any other national park in Uganda except Queen Elizabeth) and is the only park where chimpanzees and gorillas co-exist together. There are an estimated 360 species of birds, including 23 localized species found only along the Albertine Rift Valley and 14 found nowhere else in Uganda.
The pristine rainforests of this park, one of the largest natural forests in East Africa, are home to approximately 300 species of butterfly (including two endangered species of swallowtails), 200 native tree species and many species of reptiles and amphibians (including one species of frog that may be new to science). The rugged terrain makes gorilla trekking strenuous work and visitors should be prepared for up to 8 hours of hiking (good physical condition is a must).
An early morning start from Kampala takes you southwest and across the Equator. You drive through savannah grasslands seeing banana plantations and herds of Ankole cattle with their incredibly long curving horns. You then ascend into the Kigezi highlands, known as the “Switzerland of Africa”, with terraced farming and mountain scenery. Drive through to Bwindi (ten hour drive).
After an early breakfast and a briefing by a ranger guide, enter the gorilla sanctuary for your adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but criss-crossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of these great primates. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is an awesome, exciting experience to be long savored. Many find it to be a rare and moving opportunity.
This morning, end your stay in the “Land of the Mountain Gorillas” and depart with great memories of the moments spent with the fascinating Mountain Gorillas. Transfer back to Kampala with lunch en-route.