Bwindi impenetrable forest ranked Uganda’s number one tourist attraction in financial year 2018-2019 with 36,341 tourists annually according Uganda Tourism Centre.
According to World Bank 2019, in the financial year 2018-2019, tourism earned Uganda’s GDP 5.6 Trillion Ugandan shillings (US$1.60 billion) as of December 2019 from 1.6 million tourists. Foreign nationals were the highest number of tourists in Uganda, trailed by foreign residents and east African residents, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities report 2019.
The report shows that the most visited place was Bwindi impenetrable national park with 36,341 tourists. This was followed by other places like Kidepo valley, Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth in that order. The national park lies suitably in south western Uganda in districts of Kisoro, Kabale and Kanungu.
Ecologically, Uganda is where the Eastern savanna meets the West African jungle which offers tourists the best of these fantastic worlds. Among these attractions is meeting the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla on the bamboo-clumped slopes of the Virungas.
According to UNESCO, Bwindi Park covers 32000 hectares and is known for its exceptional bio diversity, with more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Many types of birds and butterflies can be found there and endangered species but particularly the mountain gorillas that institute the main tourist attraction in the park.
Bwindi is a host to a rich fauna including a number of endemic butterflies and one of the richest mammalian assemblages in Africa. Home to almost half (340) of the world’s mountain gorilla population.
According to Bwindi impenetrable national park tour guide 2022, Mountain gorillas share 98% DNA with humans making them people’s closest relatives in the wild. These are found in 3 countries in Africa including Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
The leaders and aged mountain gorillas are called Silverbacks who are in charge of leading families which includes females and young ones. These will fight to protect their young ones in their nests that are built both on trees and ground using leaves and branches.
Mountain gorillas live in the group of 10-30 members including females and young ones. The female gorillas produce at the age of 10 and they carry 1-2 babies in their womb through a gestation period of 8 and a half months bearing 2-6 off springs in a lifetime.
These are mainly herbivores feeding on bamboo forest, leaf plants and fruits. An adult can feed to about 30 Kilograms a day and these are intelligent mammals that communicate in various ways including sounds. The silverback weighs 220 Kilograms with a height of 1.7 meters while the female has a height of 1.5 meters and weighs 97.7kgs and have a lifespan of 30-40 years.
Bwindi was inscribed as a UNESCO heritage site in 1994 which renders it vital to the country’s beauty as well as economy through attracting more tourists. Therefore, these are protected under various provisions of national laws such as Uganda wildlife act cap 200 of 2019 which provides for the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife. Illegal possession of wild life body parts or direct encroaching of wildlife animals attracts a fine of 20 billion Uganda shillings (US$5.4 millions) or life imprisonment under the act.
According to the minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities, in order to reduce and eliminate threats to such places with species and fauna, the ministry has spearheaded formulation of Uganda wildlife policy of 2015, the tourism policy of 2015 and also strengthened the legal and institutional framework of the Uganda wildlife act 2019 through review and subsequent enactment.“I call upon all partners and stakeholders to continue working and supporting the Tourism Ministry for it to enhance protection and sustainable utilization of Wildlife resources”