A Uganda safari experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park isn’t entirely on trekking to view mountain gorillas in the wild alone but also to explore and experience unique floral species in and around this pristine protected area’s habitats. Bwindi National Park is tucked in southwestern Uganda and expands up to 331 square kilometers. It is comprised of a dense rainforest, which today remain very few in Africa. It is one of the few destinations in Africa where the lowland vegetation zones meet the montane vegetation zones. Unlike other forest protected areas, Bwindi is exceptional the fact that it managed to thrive even during the ice age when Africa never had such dense vegetation cover. It played and still plays a significant role by offering refuge to variety of wildlife species that depend on it for different reasons.
While on Uganda safari, exploring flora in Bwindi National Park should be a must-do thing. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is prides herself as major water catchment area which for long has supported several farming activities in most of the nearby local communities. It is also a source for most water bodies that flow in the park, especially Rivers like River Ivi, Ihihizo, Ishasha, Ntengyere and Munyaga that also drain into Lake Edward. Other rivers such as Shongi, Kanyamwabo and Ndego flow southwards to Lake Mutanda.
Over 400 plant species are confined in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It consists of lush, dense rainforest where most of its diverse and iconic wildlife species thrive including over 350 bird species, butterflies, 11 primate species including the rare mountain gorillas as well as several mammal species. A guided nature walk in this park involves exploring not bird species but also identifying different plant species, especially those that are of medicinal significance. The unique flora is reason behind the lush beauty of Bwindi National Park. A nature walk along River Munyaga takes you the scenic part of the park with beautiful waterfalls, trees, orchids, epithetic ferns.
The flora/vegetation type in Bwindi National Park widely range depending on the elevation that from medium to high altitude. At higher elevation, mostly afro montane forest thrives. Bwindi consists of thick herbs, shrubs and vines and because of its dense vegetation cover, it is best described as an impenetrable forest.
About 50 percent of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is comprised of mixed forest including Newtonia, red stinkwood, East African yellow wood, strombosia scheffleri and symphonia globulifera. Below the forest, there are mainly Neoboutonia, Xymalos, Myrianthus holstii, Monospora and many others.
At elevation of about 1500m, about 10 percent of the area is covered by Parinariexcelsa, 11 percent at 2-00m is occupied by Newtonia buchananii; at 2200m, 8 percent of the area is covered by chrysophyllum gorungosanum while the bamboo trail is endowed by distinct vegetation including over 14 distinct vegetation types.
The northern side of the park lies in the lower elevation and consists of Parinari, especially on the Ishasha and Ihihizo River Valleys. This area supports mainly the Newtonia buchananii and African mahogany. As you get to higher ridges, there are podocarpus among others.
In the southern side, you will get chrysophyllum species, especially the Newtonia, prunus and entandrophragma. On Uganda safari in Bwindi, visitors can explore over 1000 flowering plant species, 110 fern species among others.
Other tourist attractions explore in Bwindi National Park include bird species that make up a total of about 350 including among others the African green broadbill, dusky crimson, white tailed blue catchers, bar tailed trogon, rusty faced woodland, yellow eyed flycatchers, western green tinker bird, black faced rufous warblers; primates including mountain gorillas, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons.