Uganda’s National Parks , each has its uniqueness and it is in, most cases known for that as seen below in this document.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The name Bwindi is derived from a Runyakitakara word Mubwindi and means “a place full of darkness”. This name comes from the extensive stands of bamboo interspersed amongst the larger forest hardwoods. it is one of the most famous Uganda’s National Parks.
It is a home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, it is one of the Unique Parks in the country. It represents a conservation frontline as an isolated forest of outstanding biological richness surrounded by an agricultural landscape supporting one of the highest rural population sensitives in tropical Africa
The forest is very significant as a home to more than half of the endangered mountain gorilla population (more than 470). With over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region make the forest their home, and 22 of the 36 endemics
Overall, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest hosts numerous globally threatened species, including high-profile mammals such as mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, I’Hoest’s monkey, and African elephant; birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher, and Shelley’s crimson-wing; and butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail.
The main trailhead at Buhoma is about 460kms from Kampala
Air, travelers can fly from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro (for Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhija)
Activities and Attractions
Mountain gorilla tracking, contact time with the gorillas is restricted to one hour and participants must be aged 15 or over
Birding, Bwindi’s four trailheads all offer excellent birding opportunities with the prospect of checking the forest’s rarest.
Nature walks, forest trails lead to exploration of tropical rainforest, scenic waterfalls, Albertine Rift valley, and the Virunga volcanoes.
Community walks, through forest edge villages, provide insights into the lives of the local Batwa (pygmy) and Bakiga peoples.
Birding and bird species found in Bwindi
Bwindi is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with 347 bird species. It is home to 24 of the total 25 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. It’s also a dwelling place for 76 of the144 Guinea-Congo-forest biome bird species in Uganda. The area also qualifies for the Afro-tropical-highland biome bird species with 68 of the total 86. The Lake Victoria biome has 4 of the 12 species.
The main birding trails where birders can catch sight of these fantastic creatures are the Bamboo zone, the Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija, and the waterfall trail in Buhoma.
Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The gorilla population is approximately 400 individuals with more than 100 habituated. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit.
- Mubare group (named after the Mubare hills)
- Was the first group habituated in 1991 and received its first tracking visitors in 1993
- Habinyanja group
- This was habituated in 1997 and received tracking visitors in 1999
- Rushegura group
- This was habituated in 2000 and received tourists in 2002. Split from larger Habinyanja group. These gorilla families crisscross each other’s territories and co-exist peacefully.
- Katwe group
- Bushaho group- its original members were part of Nkuringo and now with 8 members forage around Bushaho area led by silverback Bahati
- Nkuringo group- has 19 members and it’s the most challenging hike, although worthwhile, as it is the most pleasing. Habituated in 2004.
- Christmas group- also started by a former member and son of Nkuringo, Christmas, with 9 members.
Eight families and two are under habituation (48 permits and 4 habituation permits issued per day)
- Busingye group- led by Rumanzi silverback, from the Kahungye family, with 10 members.
- Bikingi group- habituated in 2012 with 18 members
- Kahungye group- reviewed as one of the best to track in this region, with 12 members.
- Bweza group- habituated in 2011
- Shongi group- this is the biggest habituated group in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with 25 members.
- Mishaya group- following a family dispute, ten members of this group split from the biggest group, the Shongi group.
- Rwigi group- newly available for tracking and a break away from Kahungye with 10 members.
- Mucunguzi group- a break away from the Bweza family with 10 members.
- Oruzogo group- habituated in 2011
- Mukiza group
- Kyaguliro group
- Bitukura group- habituated in 2008
Other animals that can be sighted in the park include elephants, giant forest hogs, black-fronted duiker, yellow-backed duiker, clawless otter, civet, side-striped jackal, numerous bats, rodents, etc.
Mgahinga national park. It is only here among Uganda’s National Parks where mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys co-exist deriving its slogan where gold meets silver. It hosts a single mountain Gorilla family called the Nyakagezi gorilla group, others include bush pigs, African porcupines, forest buffaloes, forest elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, and others.
Kibale national park. The world’s primate capital with 13 primate species including man’s closest relative the chimpanzee. It is the single natural habitat with the largest number of chimps hence its slogan. Other animals include elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs, warthog, bush pigs, and bushbuck, blue, red, and peters duiker
Kidepo national park. It is one of Uganda’s national parks with the best Scenery . The park has wilderness endemics including the fastest land animal- the cheetah and Bat-eared fox, carcal, and Klipspringer. And the best park for buffalo herds, other animals include elephants, zebra, bush pigs, Rothschild, giraffes, eland, buffalo, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and others.
Queen Elizabeth national park. With the highest population of hippos in Uganda’s National Parks about 5000 and classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by birding international, other Animals include African elephants, African buffalo, Uganda cob, hippos, topi, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, lions, spotted hyena and others.
Lake Mburo national park. The only park with the largest number of Impalas, Elands, and antelopes and the topis and home to the largest population of Zebras, others include leopards, reedbuck, oribi, hyena, genet, bush pigs, and white-tailed mongoose.
Semuliki national park. It is very known for its rare forest bird species like the Rwenzori Turaco, malabar pied Hornbill, Sempaya Hot springs, the male and the female and unique Vegetation. some Primates like Monkeys, mammals including giant forest, leopard, hippos, Mona monkey, water, chevrotain, bush babies, African civet, African elephants, and the pygmy scaly-tailed flying squirrel.
Mt Elgon national park, animals found here include defassa waterbuck, elephants, oribi, bushbucks, buffaloes, and spotted hyena, also black and white monkeys, colobus monkey.
Rhinos in ziwa where you can see rhinos in the wild, there are 5 crashes living in the sanctuary alongside bushbuck, leopard, honey badgers, armadillos, waterbuck, warthogs, and vervet monkeys