Mountain Gorilla Trekking In Buhoma Sector

Mountain gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector

Mountain gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector – Uganda’s premier gorilla destination

Mountain gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector  : Buhoma sector located in the northern section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the four (4) gorilla trekking sectors making up Bwindi. Buhoma is regarded as the premier site for gorilla trekking as it has the first trailhead ever established for gorilla trekking by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best place to do gorilla trekking in world located in Southwestern Uganda stretching on the rim of the rift valley, the park is at assize of 331 square kilometers and it is contiguous to Sarambwe Nature Reserve in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mountain gorillas live in two isolated sub-populations in East-Central Africa that is in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Mounatains straddling the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda borders (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DRC).

Following the gazetting of Bwindi as a conservation area in 1991, Uganda Wildlife Authority strategically set up the park’s headquarters at a small village of Buhoma, the first trail head to be opened for gorilla trekking in Uganda was in 1993 in Buhoma sector with only one habituated gorilla family.

Buhoma Sector is the most popular trailhead/ sector in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, the sector was opened following the civil wars in Rwanda and DRC which hit gorilla tourism pretty hard. In 1993 the first gorilla family (Mubare gorilla family) was availed in Buhoma sector, Bwindi impenetrable national park which paved way for gorilla tourism in Uganda, Mubare gorilla family went through a three-year habituation process before being opened for gorilla trekking.

Gorilla Groups in Buhoma Sector

Buhoma Sector has Five (5) habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking and these include

  • Mubare gorilla family
  • Habinyanja gorilla family
  • Reshegura gorilla family
  • Muyambi gorilla family
  • Katwe gorilla family

Gorilla Trekking Experience in Buhoma Sector

Since only 8 tourists are allowed to trek each gorilla family/group, Buhoma sector offers only 40 gorilla permits per day.

Note: Buhoma Sector only offers Mountain gorilla trekking (No gorilla habituation experience like Rushanga sector).

Gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector start as early as 8:00 am with briefing at the park’s headquarters, the briefing is conducted by a ranger guide who takes you through the rules and regulations to follow during the trek. Visitors are then assigned a gorilla family to trek in groups of 8 people.

Note: Gorilla groups in Buhoma Sector are assigned basing on the interest, general healthy wellness of the visitor, visitors are advised to communicate earlier to their guide who informs the park management about their desire to have either an easy trek or longer trek.

After the briefing, you head to the starting point for the particular gorilla family you are trekking then head into the jungle with armed rangers and guides, the trek takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the gorilla family you are trekking and where the group spent the previous night.

When you locate the gorillas, you are allowed to spend one-hour in their presence of the gorillas – the human’s closest cousins, it mind blowing and a sight to behold watching the gorillas in their nature habitant going on with their daily life. You will watch gorillas care for each other, watch the silverback protecting the family and babies jumping from one tree to another.

Note: You are allowed to take pictures as long as your flash light is off.

 Return to the park’s headquarters where you are rewarded with a gorilla trekking certificate to mark the end of the safari.

Met your safari driver guide and head either to your lodge or participate in any other activities to do in Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

 Other activities to do in Buhoma Sector, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

 Batwa Cultural experience

Batwa cultural experience takes you on a visit in the homes of the Batwa pygmy people who used to live in the forests of Bwindi thousands of years ago that is before the gazetting of the forest as a national park,  the Batwa still maintained their forest lifestyle and when you visit them, you will be entertained by their joyful songs and dances, visit the medicine man, interact with their chief, learn how to make coffee locally among others.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking tours in Buhoma sector are done on a well maintained trail from the park’s headquarters through the pristine jungle to Ivy River, this trail is approximately 13 kilometers and the experience starts at 08:00 am.

As you cycle along the trail you will catch sightings of some of the inhabitants of Bwindi forest such as bushbucks, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, forest elephants among others.

There is also a 2 hours village trail where you cycle through the local village and offers visitors the opportunity to visit schools, the batwa tribes and the local crafts center.

batwa cultural experience

Nature walking

The buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park offers amazing nature walking safaris, this activity is done on foot through which visitors get close to nature and enjoy sights of some creatures in the forest such as black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.

Nature walks in Buhoma sector are done using several trails including Kashasha River trail, Muzubijiro loop trail, Rushura trail, Munyanga water trail and waterfall trail.

Bird watching

Bwindi impenetrable national park is listed among the best birding destinations in Africa and buhoma sector is offers some of the best birding experiences in the park, there are over 350 bird species recorded in Bwindi forest including Albertine endemic species.

Bird watching safaris usually take 3-4 hours and are done along several trails such as Buhoma waterfall trail, Ivy River Trail and  Kashasha River Trail. Some of the birds to lookout for during this excursion include short-tailed Warbler, Blue-headed Sunbird, African Green Broadbill, Shelley’s Crimsonwing among others.

Where to stay in Buhoma Sector

Buhoma Sector has a wide range of accommodation ranging from budget, midrange to luxury. Buhoma sector is loved by many visitors because of its good choice of accommodation facilities range including best luxury lodges, tented camps and hostels.

Accommodations in Buhoma sector include

 Luxury Accommodation

  • Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
  • Buhoma Lodge
  • Mahogany Springs Lodge
  • Bwindi Lodge
  • Silverback Lodge

 Midrange accommodation

  • Engagi Lodge
  • Gorilla Safari Lodge
  • Lake Kitandara Camp
  • Buhoma Haven Lodge

 Budget Accommodation

  • Ride 4 A Woman
  • Bwindi View Bandas
  • Eco Marvel Gorilla resort
  • Gorilla Friends Lodge

 How to get to Buhoma Sector

Buhoma Sector is located in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwestern Uganda at the rim of the Albertine fit, most safaris to Buhoma sector start from Kampala City the capital of Uganda.

Buhoma sector is accessible by road and air means of transport.

By air – scheduled domestic flights are available from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip which serves Buhoma, these flights are offered by Bar Aviation and Aerolink.

By road – from Kampala or Entebbe, it is a drive of approximately 8 – 10 hours to get to Buhoma using several routes including Entebbe – Mbarara – Ntingamo – Rukungiri – Kihihi routes, Entebbe – Kabale – Kanungu – Buhoma Route, Entebbe – Kabale – Ruhija – Buhoma Route and Kasese – Ishasha Sector (QENP) – Buhoma Route.

It is also possible to get to Buhoma sector from Kigali City of Rwanda using Gatuna or Cyanika Borders, this is a drive of 6 hours.

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