Administrator

Administrator

Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.

Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.

History

Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a Controlled Hunting Area and upgraded to a Game Reserve in 1963. The Banyankole Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the Reserve until it was upgraded to National Park status in 1983. The Obote government's decision to upgrade the Park was reportedly in part intended to weaken the Banyankole, who supported anti-Obote rebels. As the evicted pastoralists were not compensated for lost grazing land or assisted with resettling, many remained hostile to the Park's formation. The rangeland outside the park was subsequently subdivided into small ranges and subsistence farming plots.

In 1985 the second Obote regime fell and the previous residents of Lake Mburo re-occupied the Park's land, expelling park staff, destroying infrastructure and annihilating wildlife. Less than half of the Park's original land area was eventually re-gazetted by the NRM government in 1986.

Geography and Climate

Pre-Cambrian rocks underlie Lake Mburo area, with the rocks comprising of a mixture of Cenozoic Pleistocene to Recent rocks, wholly granitized–Granitoid and highly granitized rocks, and Karagwe – Ankolean system. Argillite rocks predominate but are more arenites and silty rocks, which are regularly, distributed as thin bands throughout the area. The area is predominated by ferrallitic soils which are mainly sandy loams and sandy clay loams.

Lake Mburo National park contains a wide variety of habitat types, which gives it a surprisingly high diversity of animals and plants for its size. The system is a unique habitat, which lies at the convergence zone of two biological zones. It supports globally threatened species of birds, supports two of the endangered cichlid fish species which have gone extinct in the main lakes and it is the only system in Uganda in which the Impala is found. The system also provides refuge to 22 species of Palaearctic and Afro-tropical migrant birds during adverse conditions.

The Lake Mburo wetland system is of immense socio-economic value. It is a source of water for domestic use, livestock and wildlife. The system is source of pasture for the local herds during droughts, a source of fish and source of materials for crafts and thatching. The park's location near the Masaka-Mbarara highway makes it easily accessible from Kampala.

Lake Mburo National Park has a tropical climate found in the Ankole-Southern climatic zone. Lake Mburo National Park lies in a rain shadow area between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains. The park has two marked seasons, the rain and dry seasons and receives a bi-modal low rainfall ranging between 500 and 1000 mm. But the rainfall tends to be erratic and unreliable, causing shortage of pastures and thus affecting the behaviour of wildlife, including birds, and creating demands on the park by local Pastoralists. Temperature ranges between 23 – 25 degrees Celsius. Evapotranspiration of areas northwest, north, and north east to east, ranges between 1450 – 1600 mm. However, areas south and south west of the park experience a much lower evapotranspiration ranging between 1300 – 1450 mm.

Biodiversity

                                          
Lake Mburo National Park is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.

Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.

Lake Mburo National Park supports globally threatened species of birds, including two of the endangered cichlid fish species which have gone extinct in the main lakes and it is the only area in Uganda in which the Impala is found. The park also provides refuge to 22 species of Palaearctic and Afro-tropical migrant birds during adverse conditions, within the wooded Savanna with Acacia/Commiphora thicket and grasslands.

The Flora is Acacia hockii which is one of the dominant tree species. Fivespecies of wetland dependent plants belonging to 5 genera have been recorded in the Lake Mburo area.

Tourism

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season. Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Mihingo Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Arcadia Cottages, Rwakobo Rock, Mburo Safari Lodge, Mpogo Lodge, Eagle’s Nest Lodge, Rwonyo Camp Site, and many other options in the nearby towns of Mbarara and Lyantonde. The Park is well situated on the Kampala – Mbarara highway and is a great stop over while connecting to the attractions of the further western part of Uganda.

Activities in Lake Mburo National Park include; Game drives in the rolling hills and open grasslands, Boat trip along Lake Mburo, Nature walk, sport fishing, Forest walk in Rubanga which offers an opportunity to view different bird species, as well as adventure activities like horseback riding and quad biking. Seek advice from your local Uganda safari operator on how best you can access the park and also how best to book a particular activity for some of these activities require prior booking.

Park at a Glance

Size: 370km2

Altitude: 1,220m - 1,828m above sea level

Wetland habitats comprise 20% of the park's surface

The parks' precarious past has seen wildlife virtually eliminated several times: firstly in various attempts to rid the region of tsetse flies, then to make way for ranches, and finally as a result of subsistence poaching.

20% of the park's entrance fee is used to fund local community projects such as building clinics and schools.


Areas of Interest

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    Lake Mburo
  • floralakemburo
    Rubanga Forest
  • Game-Tracks
    Game Tracks


Wildlife and birding

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    Birds
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    Wildlife

Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.

Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.

During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.

History

Dodoth pastoralists and Ik farmers lived in the area before it was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958. The purpose was both to protect the animals from hunting and to prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly control. The game reserve was converted into the Kidepo Valley National Park in 1962.

The first Chief Warden of the National Park was Ian Ross, a Briton. In 1972 Paul Ssali, a Ugandan, replaced him. Their handover and training was the subject of the 1974 American documentary film, "The Wild and the Brave."

Geography and Climate

The park consists of the two major valley systems of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. The valley floors lie between 910 m and 1,200 m above sea level.

Kanangarok is a tepid hot spring in the extreme north of the Park, beside the South Sudanese boundary. This spring is the most permanent source of water in the park. The park predominantly has clay soils although in the Kidepo Valley, black chalky clay and sandy-clay loam predominate, while the Narus Valley has freer-draining red clays and loams.

Kidepo Valley National Park’s climate is divided into one short wet season and a long dry spell. The wet season falls between April and October and the dry season fills the remainder of the year. On average 800 mm of rain is received annually. The dry season is characterised and dominated by very hot north-easterly monsoon winds which results in extreme drought with no green vegetation. At this point temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius and average 30 degrees Celsius. Water is primarily a temporary phenomenon, flowing only during the wet season. However, throughout the length of the Narus River Valley, surface water flow alternates to subterranean flow and emerges at few permanent water points throughout the year. The climate can be summarised as arid but changes to semi arid towards the Narus Valley, which is the only region of the park containing water during the dry season.

The relief of the park rises dramatically from 900-1200m above sea level. on the border with Sudan, to 2750m above sea levell. at the top of the forested mountains of Morungole and Zulia. It comprises of semi-arid plains intersected with hills, rocky out crops and mountain ranges. Two great valley systems divide the park into almost two equal parts. The Narus Valley in the south and west of the park occupies one third of the park and is much favoured by wildlife due to the permanent availability of water. The Kidepo valley system in the east and north-east occupies the remaining two thirds of the entire park. Nyangea-Napore hills and Morungole and Zulia hill ranges hold the sources of most rivers in Karamoja, including River Nalakas and River Kidepo.

Biodiversity

The vegetation of the park can be categorised into four associations; the Narus Valley contains grey-haired acacia (Acacia gerrardii) savannah woodland that emerges in the south and into a fire climax grassland, tree and shrub steppe and slowly graduates into bush lands with forests on the higher mountain slopes. The borassus palms (Borassus spp.) follow ridges that are associated with water and sand alluvial soils, and are common along the major rivers of Kidepo, Lopirpir and Kulao. Much of the park is composed of open savannah grassland, dominated by a mixture of acacia and other perennial grasses, such as Themeda, Chloris, Panicum and Seteria species. Dry thickets composed of numerous short trees and shrubs also common. This vegetation is usually dry for more than a half of the year and antelopes such as Guenther’s dik-dik (Madoqua guentheri), which is found nowhere else in Uganda, are common in such habitats.

Kidepo Vally National Park has high biodiversity, with at least 86 mammal species, 475 bird species and 692 plant species, second only to Queen Elizabeth NP in terms of its known plant diversity and third behind Queen Elizabeth and Murchison for its mammal and bird diversity. Twenty-eight of the 86 species of mammals in KVNP are not found in any other of Uganda’s national parks. Some of the animals unique to this park include striped hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), aardwolf (Proteles cristata), caracal (Caracal caracal), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), greater and lesser kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros and Ammelaphus imberbis), klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), dik-dik, Bright’s gazelle (Nanger granti brighti) and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chandleri). The beisa oryx (Oryx beisa) and the roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) are believed to have been extirpated from the region. African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) have been observed to come into the park from Sudan occasionally but are not resident in the park. Many of the other large mammals found elsewhere in Uganda such as African elephant (Loxodonta africana), zebra(Equus spp.), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Jackson’s hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni), lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), and both black-backed and side-striped jackal (Canis mesomelas and C. adustus), are found here.

The park is outstanding for its birds of prey, of which 58 species have been recorded including lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Verreaux’s eagle (Aquila verreauxii), the pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus), and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). Fourteen raptors are unique to this park in Uganda. Of the hornbills (Bucerotidae) which are characteristic of the savannah habitat, five species are represented. Some of Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds occur in KVNP, including the the Karamoja apalis (Apalis karamojae) and black-breasted barbet (Lybius rolleti).

The Narus valley is very important for the elephants in the park and also holds a population of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus), which, during the dry season, is restricted to a 10 km long section of the Narus River that retains water intermittently in depressions or pools. Perhaps due to limited availability of food, water and space, the crocodiles have a diminutive size with a maximum length of 2.5 m. (Nile crocodiles regularly exceed 4m in other parts of the species range).

Tourism

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season (Jan to May, and Oct to Dec: It is Quite hot and generally dry, where as June to Sept: Rain is more prevalent, temperatures still warm and storms generally don't last more than an hour) and it is usually advisable to use 4x4 vehicles while in the park. Available tourist accommodation in and around the park includes lodges notably Apoka Safari Lodge, Nga Moru Wilderness Camp, and alternative budget accommodation at Apoka Rest Camp managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing by vehicles on dirt roads that crisscross the southern and western parts of the park. A few trunk roads are improved with murram and are passable in all weather.

Seek advice from your local Uganda safari operator on how best you can access the park as well as how to pay for any of the activities you wish to get involved in. Note that you can book your activities from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or at any entry points of the park.

Kidepo Valley National Park is approximately 12 hours from Kampala by road. Regular scheduled flights by Aero Link take about 2 hours and fly into Kidepo from Entebbe airport. Charters can easily be arranged as well by Aero Link, Eagle Air, Kampala Aero Club, and Ndege Jju.

Park at a Glance

Size: 1,442km2

The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level.

The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife.

The local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.


Areas of Interest

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    Kidepo Valley
  • KVNPAI2
    Narus Valley
  • Apoka
    Apoka


Wildlife and birding summary

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    Birds
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    Wildlife

Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.

The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.

It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.

The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Geography and Climate

Kibale National Park is located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, approximately 320 kilometres, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. Fort Portal in Kabarole District is the nearest large city to the national park. The geology consists of rocks formed in the Precambrian period which are sedentary, strongly folded and metamorphosed. The Toro system overlaying these rocks forms prominent ridges of quartzite and sometimes schists and phyllites, which are intruded by amphibiolites, gneiss and granites. Some hills have layers of hard laterite exposed on them. About 90% of the Park is overlain by red ferralitic soils of which 70% are sandy clay loams in the North and 30% are clay loams in the South. These soils are deeply weathered, show little differentiation in horizon and are of very low to moderate fertility. The remaining 10% is where fertile eutrophic soil occurs on a base of volcanic ash limited to Mpokya and Isunga areas on the western edge of the park.

The park has a tropical type of climate with two rainy periods, March to May and September to November. The annual mean temperature range rises from 14° - 15°C, - minimum to 26° - 27°C maximum. The annual rainfall is 1,100 - 1,600 mm. There is a pronounced dry season in December to February. Rain falls more in the North than in the South.

Biodiversity

The forest cover in Kibale National Park is broadly classified into three. It is mid-altitude, moist evergreen in the north, gradually decreasing in elevation to moist semi-deciduous in the south and a mixture of deciduous and evergreens in the central parts.

Kibale National Forest has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey considered Endangered and the rare L'Hoest’s monkey that are considered Vulnerable. The park is also home to over 325 species of birds, 4 wild fellids, 13 species of primates, a total of at least 70 other species of mammals, and over 250 tree species.

There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae), the Ugandan red colobus (Procolobus tephrosceles) and the L'Hoest's monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza) and the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis). The park's population of elephants travels between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, warthogs, and buffalo. The carnivores that are present include leopards, african golden cats, servals, different mongooses and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park on occasion.

Bird life in the park is so prolific, boasting over 375 sited species of birds, including the western green tinker bird, olive long-tailed cuckoo, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted) and the African grey parrot, Imperative to note that the ground thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park.

The park boast over 229 species of trees found within the moist tropical forests of the park. Some endangered timber species of trees include; Lovoa swynnertonnii, Cordia millenii, and Entandrophragma angolense. The forest understory is dominated by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs, which include Palisota schweinfurthii and Pollia condensata, in addition to ferns and broad leaf grasses.

Tourism

Tourists can visit Kibale any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season. Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Ndali Lodge, Primates Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Chimps Nest, Kyaninga Lodge, Kibale Guest Cottages, Crater Valley Kibale, Chimpanzee Guest House, and many other options in and around Fort Portal town. The park can either be accessed following the Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese-Fort Portal road or a direct route from Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal.

Chimpanzee tracking is the park's main tourist attraction although a number of forest walks can be arranged not forgetting the chimpanzee habituation experience. Tourists wishing to track the chimps must first obtain a permit to do so from the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters in Kampala. Chimpanzee tracking Safari in Kibale is done in two shifts including the morning and afternoon shift with permits allocated based on that too, and the number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent degradation of the habitat and risks to the chimpanzee. There are strict rules for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases passing from them to the chimpanzees as well as maintain their habitat.

The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Park at a Glance

Size: 795km2

Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.

351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old.

Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.

Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.


Areas of Interest

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    Bigodi Wetlands
  • chimps
    Kanyanchu
  • fungus
    Sebitoli


Wildlife and birding

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    Chimps
  • baboons
    Baboons
  • birds
    Birds
  • butter
    Butterfly

 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.

This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops and village walks.

History

In 1932, two blocks of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were designated as Crown Forest Reserves. The northern block was designated as the "Kayonza Crown Forest Reserve", and the southern block designated as the "Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve". These reserves had a combined area of 207 square kilometers. In 1942, the two Crown Forest Reserves were combined and enlarged, and renamed the Impenetrable Central Crown Forest. This new protected area covered an area of 298 square kilometers and was under the joint control of the Ugandan government's game and forest departments.

In 1964, the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary in order to provide extra protection to its mountain gorillas and renamed the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve. In 1966, two other forest reserves became part of the main reserve, increasing its area to almost 321 square kilometers. The park continued to be managed as both a game sanctuary and forest reserve.

In 1991, Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve along with Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve and Rwenzori Mountains Reserve was designated as a national park and renamed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It covered an area of 330.8 square kilometers. The national park was declared in part to protect a range of species within it, most notably the mountain gorilla. The reclassification of the park had a large impact on the Batwa pygmy people, who were evicted from the forest and no longer permitted to enter the park or access its resources. Gorilla tracking became a tourist activity in April 1993, and the park became a popular tourist destination. In 1994, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List and a 10 square kilometer area was incorporated into the park. The park's management changed: Uganda National Parks, since renamed Uganda Wildlife Authority, became responsible for the park. In 2003 a piece of land next to the park with an area of 4.2 square kilometers was purchased and incorporated into the park.

Geography and climate

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda covering an area of 331 square kilometers. The park is bordered by The Democratic Republic of Congo in the western side of the park; Kabale town to the southeast is the nearest main town to the park, 29 kilometres away by road.

The park is located 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. The topography of the park is very rugged, with narrow valleys intersected by rivers and steep hills. Altitudes in the park range from 1,190 to 2,607 meters above sea level, with 60% of the park having an elevation of over 2,000 meters above sea level. The highest elevation in the park is Rwamunyonyi hill at the eastern edge of the park and the lowest part of the park is located at its most northern tip.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has a tropical climate with the annual mean temperature ranging from a minimum of 7–15°C to a maximum of 20–27°C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. Peak rainfall occurs from March to April and from September to November. The park's forest plays an important role in regulating the outside area's environment and climate.

Biodiversity

The park is most recognized for the 340 Bwindi Mountain Gorillas, half of the world’s population of the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas, although it is sanctuary for the chimpanzees, many birds and the colobus monkeys.

This afromontane forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, and the diversity of species is an attribute of the park. The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals ten of which are primates and more than 45 small mammal species, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. In terms of fauna, the Bwindi area is amongst 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. The northern sector which has a lower altitude is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognised as endangered that is; Brown mahogany (Lovoa swynnertonii) and Brazzeia longipedicellata.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological importance. The park has a large variation of altitude and habitat types, there by supporting a variety of species of trees, reptiles, butterflies, birds, moths, and small mammals.

Mountain gorillas

The park is inhabited by a population of about 340 individuals of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), commonly referred to as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The major threat to these mountain gorillas is poaching, habitat loss and disease, however, since 1997; there has been a gradual increase in the mountain gorilla population in Bwindi from 300 individuals to about 340 individuals in 2006.

Recent research has shown that the Bwindi gorilla's diet is patently higher in fruit than that of the Virunga population, and that the Bwindi gorillas, even silverbacks, are more likely to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees. It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel further per day, particularly on days when feeding primarily on fruit than when they are feeding on fibrous foods. Additionally, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in, a small understory tree.

There are no mountain gorillas recorded in captivity explaining why they are indeed an endangered species with an estimated total population of about 650 individuals.

Conservation

Managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), replaced Uganda National Parks (UNP) that was the management authority of the park at the time of designation), Bwindi is protected under the provisions of various national laws (The Constitution (1995), Uganda Wildlife Act Cap 200 of 2000, National Environment Act (2000), Local Government Act (1997), The Land Act (1998), the Forest and Tree Planting Act 2003 and the Uganda Wildlife Policy (1999). All these laws mentioned above were not in place by the time the property was inscribed as a World Heritage Site. However, the Uganda National Parks Act (1952), and the Game Act were already in place to support its creation) and international conventions (Convention of Biological Diversity 1992 (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Ramsar convention 1971 and the World Heritage Convention 1972). The park has an approved management plan and is highly respected and supported by local communities as a conservation site. The park attracts substantial support from a number of local and international NGOs. The Park has a permanent research institute located within the site which is engaged in research and continued monitoring of the site’s integrity. These factors as well as strong political support provide an assurance for the park’s long-term protection and conservation. The management of the park has developed ecotourism programmes that support community livelihoods, a major reason for community support. The Park is a model for integration of community sustainable resource management in the country and possibly in the East African Region. However, there are still strong long-term needs for greater primate protection given the new tendency of trafficking mountain gorilla babies and chimpanzees. As the mountain gorilla is so closely related to people, it is also threatened by transmission of human diseases as a result of tourism activities. UWA is closely monitoring these threats and working with stakeholders and NGOs to mitigate these threats. Continued enhancement of conservation is required in law enforcement and monitoring.

Tourism

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season. Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, all these serve the southern Bwindi with several habituated Gorilla groups, On the side of Ruhija, Gorilla Mist Canmp and Ruhija Gorilla Lodge stand out and on the side of Buhoma Northern side we have Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Mahogany springs, Silver Back lodge and many other budget options. The park is in a remote location, and reaching the park involves a long difficult journey. Roads are in a bad condition. But if driving to the southern Bwindi, the Road from Kampala to Kisoro is all paved and first class. The bad section of the road is only about 35 Kms to the forest.

Gorilla Tracking is the park's main tourist attraction. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit to do so. Seek advice from your local Uganda safari operator on selection of the gorilla permits based on which section of Bwindi you would be visiting. Otherwise gorilla permits are purchased at Uganda Wildlife Authority. Selected gorillas families have been habituated to human presence and the number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent degradation of the habitat and risks to the gorillas. Gorilla Tracking Safaris generate much revenue for Uganda Wildlife Authority and neighboring communities which is crucial for gorilla conservation. The gorillas seldom react to tourists. There are strict rules for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases passing from them to the gorillas.

  • TripAdvisor

Park at a Glance

Size: 321km2

Altitude: 1,160m - 2,607m above sea level.

Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994.

The Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one for research.

Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.

 

 


fishing-01656Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)has for the first time actively taken part in the Murchison Falls Invitational Fishing Tournament by lining three anglers namely George Atube, Yekodino Nyero and Wellborn Ojara.

The three day event that ran from March 1-3, attracted 48 competitions from different countries representing corporate bodies and others in their individual capacities.

As part of UWA rescue program, USAID STAR through USFS International Program is donating mountain rescue equipment to UWA. UWA will offer this equipment to Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS), a nongovernmental organization entrusted with a concession to provide trekking tourism services/support on the central circuit trail within the Rwenzori Mountains.

This equipment will be used to help support and integrate the Rwenzori Former Hunters in mountain rescue activities hence supporting community participation in wildlife conservation initiatives.

Uganda Revenue Authority has today handed over 176 pieces of Ivory weighing 162 kilograms, 189 pieces of Warthog and Hippo teeth weighing 38 kilograms, 19 Monitor Lizard skin weighing three kilograms and three animal bones totaling three kilograms.

Recovered in separate incidents, the items were yesterday handed over to Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) personnel at the URA head office in Nakawa, Kampala.

A multi-stake holder platform comprising eminent Ugandans from the public and private sector has been formed with the main aim of promoting tourism in Kigezi region and Uganda in general.

The Kigezi Tourism Multi stake holder platform was formed at the end of December, 2011 during the International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB) Convention 2011 held at White Horse Inn and was preceded by a Mountain Gorilla Marathon race flagged off by the Bank of Uganda Governor Professor Tumusiime Mutebile.

Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) and Igongo Cultural Centre (ICC) based in Mbarara district, have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the purpose of preserving , conserving and promoting of the natural and cultural heritage of south-western Uganda and Uganda in general.

The parties shall work together within the framework of this MOU signed on December 22, 2011 to fulfill various obligations. Under the memorandum, ICC shall

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