Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the Bwindi Rainforest, over 25,000 years old (one of the oldest in the world), is one of the largest reserves of biodiversity in the world. It is a majestic and dense forest that is home to about 400 types of plants, 350 species of birds (90% of the endemic species of the Albertine Rift are present), 51 species of reptiles and 202 butterflies, many of which are also endemic. On the mammalian side, there are some 120 species, including 11 primates and 6 antelopes. Among the protected species are the chimpanzee, the forest elephant (smaller than its savannah counterpart), and especially the mountain gorilla, of which Bwindi is home to almost half the world's population and which is very popular with tourists. In the local language, Bwindi means 'impenetrable' because its 331 km² of dense vegetation lies within a deep fault line of steep slopes, slippery valleys and wind-blown ridges that form the eastern boundary of the Albertine Rift. Bwindi was proclaimed a forest reserve in 1942 and, like Mgahinga, became a national park in 1991. In the past, before farmers began to clear the Kisoro region, it was part of a large forest belt that extended to the Virunga Mountains. Five major rivers originate in Bwindi to feed Lake Edward. Located between 1,160 and 2,600 m above sea level and with an annual rainfall of nearly 2,400 mm, Bwindi is a rainforest. These are concentrated particularly from March to May and from September to November. Although it is necessary to be well equipped, it is possible to go all year round to meet the gorillas. Please note that the park is divided into several sectors. In the north, Buhoma is the most important tourist centre where accommodation is grouped together and from where most trackings start. Real village life, with local grocery stores and bars, enlivens the only picturesque street with views of the forest and tea and banana plantations. Following the habituation of new groups, Ruhija (eastern part of the park) is increasingly visited. The southern sector (Nkuringo and Rushaga) is much calmer but has been under development in recent years, and authorized access to new groups of gorillas is attracting a large number of tourists, especially to Rushaga.

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