BUHOMA SECTOR IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
Buhoma sector is one of the four gorilla trekking trail heads in Bwindi Impenetrable national park located on the northern part of the park which is considered the most popular. Among the 4 gorilla trail heads in Bwindi forest, Buhom sector is the easiest, amazing and with the oldest habituated gorilla family that was first to be opened for gorilla tourism. Buhoma sector is about 460km from Kampala city that takes up to 9-10hours using road transport with a 4×4 vehicle.
Buhoma Region is the most selling and developed sector among the four Bwindi gorilla sectors others being Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. It was opened in 1993 with Mubare family as the first habituated gorilla family to be opened for gorilla tourism. Currently there are four habituated families that are open for visitors to go for trekking and these are; Mubare, Rushegura, katwe and Habinyanja.
Mubare family was opened for trekking in 1993 after two years of habituation and was named after the Mubare hills where it was sighted first by trackers. It was led by the dominant silverback called Ruhondeza that died in 2013 after a fight and the group has 9 members currently.
Habinyanja family was habituated in 1997 and opened for trekking after two years in 1999 with 30 members under the leadership of Mugurusi. This family has up to 18 members with two silverbacks and its name is derived from the water pond (Nyanja) where it was first sighted. It was first led by Mugurusi the dominant silverback on whose death the two brothers Rwansigazi and Mwirima fought to take over leading to separation of the group into two. Mwirima formed its new gorilla group called Rushegura and Rwansigazi remained with Habinyanja family.
Rushegura family was formed from Habinyanja family led by Mwirima with 8members. Mwirima died in 2014 and Kabukojo the dorminant silverback took over. Rushegura is now one of the largest gorilla families with 16 members and it is liked by many tourists because of the huge number of gorillas. This group is common given that it feeds around the park headquarters and It’s an easier group to trek.
Katwe family as the newest group in Buhoma sector with 7 members which include 1 silverback, 2 adult females, 2 black backs and 2 young females. This family is led by Muhaane and it was habituated in 2018.
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma sector starts early in the morning with a general briefing about the expectations, rules and regulations and allocation of gorilla groups. With the four gorilla families there are 32 gorilla permits everyday given that only 8 people are allowed to visit one gorilla family per day.
Each gorilla permit costs $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and Uganda shillings 250,000 for East African citizens. This gorilla permit allows visitors to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas once found in their natural habitat but the whole trekking process lasts 2-8hours depending on the gorilla family trekked. Gorilla permits for Buhoma sector are more competitive and sell first so one needs to book early in advance in order to get opportunity to stay and trek in this beautiful section of the park.
There are other activities to do in Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable forest apart from gorilla trekking which include nature walks, bird watching, community walks, biking and more. Buhoma Bwindi can be visited at any time of the year but the best time is during the dry months of June to September and December to February when the area is not so slippery.
The Buhoma sector is well developed with all ranges of accommodation from budget, Mid-range to luxury. There are a number of upmarket lodges and camps that are located close to the park headquarters where gorilla trekking starts. Some of these lodges include Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Haven lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Lodge, Engagi lodge, Silverback Lodge and more.
Buhoma tourism zone in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is about 560km from Kampala city (9hour drive) and 230km from Kigali city (4hour drive). It can be accessed by both road transport and air transport. Visitors are advised to use a 4×4 vehicles since most roads connecting to Buhoma are not well maintained. Buhoma sector can be accessed from Queen Elizabeth national park via Ishasha sector well known for tree climbing lions. Every visitor should visit this beautiful place to engage in the amazing activities available for a life time experience.