Virunga National Park - Rwanda
The Mountain Gorillas spend most of their time in the hagenia woodlands and bamboo forests. During the rainy season when new bamboo shoots are growing, the gorillas forage at base altitude. The climb to the natural habitat of bamboo forest and Hagenia woodlands offers fantastic views.
The Mgahinga Forest National Park covers the slopes of the three northern Virunga volcanoes and gives the park its name. The volcanic soils are full of lava rocks and the area is inhabited by more than half the world's population of Mountain Gorillas. About the same size as Bwindi, 330 square Km, Mgahinga is a high-altitude savanna woodland, with rich forests of bamboo on the slopes and dwarf heath vegetation found near the summits.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - Uganda
As you walk along a forest path, you'll feel the cool shade of the trees, smell the rich blend of flowers, ripe fruits, damp soil. You'll see brilliant butterflies, hear the ever-present trickle of water and the calls of birds echoing in the depths of the forest.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which covers 331 square Km, is an exceptionally rich and varied ecosystem and is one of the most unique and important forests in Africa. The Park ranges from lowland to a moist tropical forest. It has remained a rainforest for millions of years, while most other African forest have come and gone through the ages. Thus, Bwindi has always been a refuge where forest species could survive.
The name" Bwindi" means a place of darkness. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the home to three gorilla groups which have been "habituated" to human visitors:
Bwindi is one of the richest areas in East Africa for birds (350 species), butterflies (310 species), and trees (325 species). The forest is home to at least 120 species of mammals, including ten species of primates.
Bwindi is important to local communities -- it supplies the area with building materials, medicine, food, and clean reliable drinking water throughout the year. Its cultural heritage features the history, folklore and traditional healing practices of the local peoples.
People from all over the world come to Bwindi to see the Mountain Gorillas, and while revenues generated through tourism are mainly used to maintain the Park, a portion is shared with people living in the area.
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