Location: South – Western Uganda
Area: 331 km2
Nearest City: Kanungu District & Kabale Town
Land Features: Geology consists of Precambrian shale phyllite, quartz, quartzite, schist, and granite. The park is at the edge of the Western Rift Valley in the highest parts of the Kigezi Highlands, which were created by up-warping of the Western Rift Valley. Its topography is very rugged, with narrow valleys intersected by rivers and steep hills. Elevations in the park range from 1,190 to 2,607 metres (3,904 to 8,553 ft) above sea level, and 60 percent of the park has an elevation of over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The highest elevation is Rwamunyonyi Hill at the eastern edge of the park. The lowest part of the park is at its most northern tip.
Biome: Floristically, the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns.
Rivers: Major rivers that rise in the park include the Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha, and Ntengyere rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
Forests: The National Park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bird Species: 348 species are in abundance in the park and contains 90% of all Albertine rift endemics. Experienced birdwatchers can spot 100 species of birds in one day.
Animal Species: It provides a habitat for 120 species of mammals, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species. The main attraction being the rare, almost extinct, silver back mountain gorillas. Other animals include Chimpanzees, a wide net of other primates, elephants, rhinos, bush bucks among others
Local Tribes: Batwa People
Activities: Hiking, Nature Walks, Nature Biking, Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking, Wildlife Excursions, Bird Watching, Tribal Excursions
Interesting Fact: The areas bordering the park have a high population density of more than 300 people per square kilometer. Some of the people who live in these areas are among the poorest people in Uganda. Ninety percent of the people are dependent on subsistence agriculture, as agriculture is one of the area’s few ways of earning income.
Bwindi’s was gazetted as a national park in 1991 because of its rich biodiversity and threats to the integrity of the forest. Its designation as a national park gave the park higher protection status. Uganda`s state agencies increased protection and control of the park and adjacent communities’ access to the forest immediately ended.
This closing of access to the forest caused large amounts of resentment and conflict among these local communities and park authorities. The Batwa, a tribe that had relied on the forest for centuries, was badly affected. The Batwa fished, harvested wild yams and honey, and had ancestral sites within the park. Local communities think that the habituation of gorillas and their protection from human interactions may be the reason behind the increase in the damages the gorillas cause to local people’s farms and properties. It is believed that without the occasional attacks from humans, their fear of humans and their communities has greatly decreased.