Deep in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda, half the mountain gorillas left in the world live and co-exist with chimpanzees.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was established in 1992 and recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Bwindi actually means impenetrable in the local Rukiga language. It’s appropriately named as it encompasses 203 miles of tangled vegetation draped over a deeply fissured landscape of steep, slippery valleys, and high, windy ridges. Despite the challenging terrain, it is well worth the effort. It is an ancient rainforest, the ideal habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. Bwindi has seven habituated gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists. Three of these are in the vicinity of Buhoma and one at Nkuringo.
The mountain gorillas are up to three times the size of the average man and males can weigh around 430 pounds. A fully erect males may reach six foot three inches in height with an arm span of eight feet six inches long. Their thick fur enables them to live in colder climates like Bwindi which can be quite cold in the mornings and evenings. Adult males are called silverbacks because a saddle of gray or silver-colored hair develops on their backs with age. They primarily stay on the ground unless a tempting fruit tree can bear their weight. In addition, they are diurnal and most active between six a.m. and six p.m.