Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwest Uganda is one of the two homes of mountain gorillas in Uganda together with Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The park was gazetted in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. Bwindi protects more than half of the global population of mountain gorillas with over 500 individuals living within its boundaries.
More than 15 gorilla groups in Bwindi have been habituated and are being trekked by visitors who come from all over the world for the incredible gorilla safaris. The Mubare gorilla group was the first to be habituated in Bwindi and it has been trekked since April 1993. Today the park is divided into four sectors including Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija with each hosting independent gorilla trekking safaris. This has been helped by the even distribution of the gorillas in all these sectors and visitors to any sector are assured of a 100 percent chance of seeing them on their trek.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi and other habitats including Mgahinga (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), and Virunga National Park (DRC) are endangered animals and trekking is highly regulated to promote their conservation. Each gorilla group is trekked by a group of 8 visitors per day who spend one hour in their presence and leave them to continue with their activities in the wild. Although gorilla trekking is a bit costly compared to other wildlife safaris, it has been described as one of the best wildlife experiences in the world by many past travelers. Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi requires you to buy a gorilla permit which is sold at $600 for each foreign traveler, $500 for foreign residents and Shs250,000 for East African residents.
In addition to mountain gorillas, Bwindi is also a home to several other wildlife species including over 120 mammals including primate species like baboons and chimps as well as forest elephants and antelopes. The forest has also got over 350 bird species which include 23 Albertine Rift endemics. The steep ridges and valleys of of Bwindi are a source of five major rivers that flow into Lake Edward.
Cultural tours are also popular in Bwindi as visitors are guided to the nearby Bakiga and Batwa Pygmies Villages to relax from their long-day gorilla trekking as they are entertained by some eye-catching cultural performances