Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is arguably the greatest wildlife reserve to be found not on the plains but in the confines of the massive rainforest that constitutes the center of the African continent. This prehistoric landscape of steep mountains, active volcanoes and dense jungle is home to an exceptional ecosystem, and is famous for its population of primates, most notably the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located close to the heart of Africa on the fringe of the massive Congo Rainforest, the area around Bwindi was one of the last parts of the continent to be explored and settled by Europeans. A large part of the area was set aside as crown forest reserves in the 1930s. Unfortunately this did little to protect the region’s primates from poaching. During the 1960s, the area was designated as a sanctuary and greatly expanded. It became a full-fledged national park in 1991, and subsequently the world’s premier destination for gorilla watching. Bwindi was named a world heritage site in 1994.
Bwindi is an incredibly diverse area, with large populations of animals more associated with the rainforest than with the savannah. There are some elephants and mid-size predators here, but the big stars are the primates, notably the monkeys, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas. There are approximately 340 of the latter in the park, about half the population in the world, making Bwindi a true ecological treasure.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, approximately 240 miles from Kampala. Due to the park’s proximity to Rwanda and East Congo, where there is ongoing rebellion and violence, the area around Bwindi has become dangerous in recent decades, and tourism is down. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.bwinditrust.ug (official website).