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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BNIP) is in the Kanungu district of south western Uganda. It is around 600km from the capital, Kampala.

Bwindi means muddy, swampy place full of darkness – or ‘impenetrable’. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a tropical rainforest largely contained within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). It is located in south western Uganda, within the triangle of mountains where Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) converge. It is about 25km north of the Virunga volcanoes and on the edge of the western Rift valley.

In 1991 the Ugandan part of the forest became a national park, ‘Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’ protecting 127 square metres of rainforest, home to around 340 endangered mountain gorillas – about half of the world’s mountain gorillas remaining in the wild.

Bwindi is also famous for “Albertine rift Endemic”, a group of Birds specific to the Western Rift valley. Bwindi Inpenetrable National Park (BINP) is found in south Western Uganda, about 600KM from Kampala (Uganda’s Capital).

The region has one of the richest ecosystems in Africa with more than 160 species of trees, over 100 species of ferns, and over 200 butterfly species. Bwindi is also famous for the “Albertine rift Endemic”, a group of Birds specific to the Western Rift valley. Over 346 species of birds have been recorded in the region. Amongst the many species of mammals are a number of other primate species including red tailed guenon, blue guenon, L’Hoest’s guenon, black & white colobus, ververt and baboon, as well as nocturnal prosimians. The chimp population is estimated at 300-400. Bwindi is the only place in the world in which mountain gorillas and chimpanzees still co-exist. Other animals found in the region include elephants, duiker, bushpig, giant forest hog and several small cat species.

Quick Facts About Bwindi

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was first gazetted as a forest Reserve in 1942. Later it was upgraded to the Bwindi Impenetrable National park in the year 1992. Today Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular of all national parks in Uganda. It has been recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the western Rift Valley.
  • Bwindi National Park comprises 331 Sq Kms of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest. It has series of hills ranging from 1000-2000 meters.
  • The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is most famous destination for gorilla trekking safaris in Africa.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for its thriving mountain gorilla population. Almost half of the remaining gorilla population resides here and this forest has become a conservation value site for the great mountain gorillas in Africa.

Geography and location

It is located in Kigezi Highlands of southwestern Uganda overlooking the western rift valley, covering an area of 331 square kilometers with in the Districts of Kabale, Kisoro and Kanungu. The Park borders Rwanda Democratic Republic of Congo on the west. The nearest main towns is Kabale 29 kilometers by road to the south east and Kisoro.

Bwindi is characterized by steep hills and narrow valleys, with a general incline from the north and west to the high deeply dissected south and southeast. 60% of the Park is over 2,000 m high. Together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary, the Park is an important water catchment area serving surrounding agricultural lands. It has rivers and swamps inside like the Nsongi river, river Rushaga and Mubwindi in the central of the south.


The climate is tropical with two rainfall peaks from March to May and September to November. Bwindi is chilly in the morning and at night with average temperature. The coldest period in Bwindi is June and July, while wet seasons are March-May and September-November with total annual rainfall of up to 2390mm.


Current evidence indicates that for trees Bwindi is one of the most the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 200 species, and for ferns with more than 104 species. In recognition of this, Bwindi was selected by IUCN’s Plant Program me as one of Africa’s 29 most important forests for conserving plant diversity.

Bwindi is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane vegetation communities meet. It is representative of the Afromontane Centre of Plant Endemism and the northern sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. It is also a Pleistocene refugium, all of which have resulted in extremely high biodiversity.

Local community

The National park lies in one of the country’s most densely populated rural areas, with figures ranging between 160 and 320 people/km2 at different locations around the forest. The local people around the area are Bakiga, Bafumbira and Batwa. They cultivate the land immediately surrounding the park. Batwa families live as landless laborers following their eviction from the forest in 1964. They were completely dependent on forest resources. Initially there was strong opposition to the loss of forest resources from the local people who were also excluded from decision-making about the forest, but most now appear to respect the Park and show constraint in their use of its resources. Though large numbers do extract wood, bamboo, honey, bush meat and gold and only about 10% of the forest remains free from human disturbance. Some percentage of the money for gorilla permit goes to cater for well-being of these people like building for them schools and hospitals. More so, the local people are working at park headquarters as rangers, guides and porters. This has created a lot of wareness among people around the importance of conserving the forest and the mountain gorillas. Increased conservation measures has led to improved number of the great primates.