Buhoma Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the four gorilla trekking sectors in the Park. This sector was the first to be opened for trekking activities in the park and is the most trekked part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to this day. The sector located in the northern part of the Bwindi National park in Kanungu district is the nearest to access for all tourists visiting Bwindi Forest National Park.
Other gorilla trekking sectors in the park include Ruhija in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Buhoma sector happens all through the year; however, gorilla trekking permits to the sector are acquired at least 3 or months in advance. Because the sector is the most trekked, it’s usually booked to capacity compared to other sectors, so travellers are advised to really book their permits at least 6 months in advance.
Buhoma, since it was the first visited sector in Bwindi Forest National Park, is it home to the oldest habituated mountain gorilla family – Mubare gorilla family, which was habituated between 1990 and 1992 and first trekked in 1993.
Buhoma sector is currently home to four gorilla families including Mubare gorilla family and three others.
- Mubare gorilla family is, of course, the oldest and has 9 members including 1 silverback.
- Habinyanja gorilla family was habituated in 1997 and has 18 members including 2 silverbacks
- Rushegura Gorilla Family was habituated in 2002; it currently has 19 members including 1 silverback.
- Katwe gorilla family is the newest family in Buhoma; it was habituated over a period of three years and has 7 members with 1 silverback.
Each Gorilla family in Buhoma receives eight people for an hour every day and trekking in Buhoma starts at 7:00 am with a briefing at the Buhoma offices, then by 8:00 am, you enter the forest with the trekking ranger for your trekking experience. The whole trekking experience takes 6 to 7 hours.
You should know that on your trek, the different gorilla trekking rules apply; especially keeping a distance of seven meters between you and the gorillas, avoiding flash photography and avoiding any behavior that will irritate the gorillas or threaten their wellbeing.
For your trekking attire, you can get advice from your tour operator but it includes things like hiking shoes, long sleeved clothes, gloves, a snack and water for the trek among other things.
Buhoma sector is the easiest sector to access in Bwindi National Park and it can be accessed by road from either Kampala or Kigali and by air from Kihihi.
From Kampala, one can either go through Kabale town in south western Uganda through to Kanungu and then to Buhoma sector or through Mbarara, Ntungamo Rukungiri and then to Buhoma. Whichever route you use, the entire journey from Kampala to Buhoma takes about 8 to 9 hours.
From Kigali, one will go through Kigali, Katuna, Kabale and then to Kanungu and from Kanungu to Buhoma sector. This whole journey from Kigali takes 5 hours making it shorter than the journey from Kampala.
By air, you will fly from Kajjansi airfield in Entebbe, next to Entebbe International airport to Kihihi airstrip which is one hour away from Buhoma. When you land in Buhoma, you will take a one hour drive to Buhoma sector; the flight from Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip 1 hour and 45mins.
Also if you are doing a wildlife tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can connect to Buhoma sector through Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This route gives an opportunity to see the unique tree-climbing lions.
Apart from gorilla trekking, you can engage in other activities in Buhoma that include birding, nature walks, community tours to the Batwa and Bakiga communities where you engage in several community activities like dancing, garden tending, fruit harvesting among other things.
While you visiting Buhoma sector, you don’t need to worry about your accommodation, there are several options accommodation facilities you can choose from that meet both your feeding and sleeping needs. The range of choices is overwhelming for budget, midrange, and luxury. The choices include but not limited to:-
- Buhoma Haven
- Buhoma lodge
- Mahogany springs lodge
- Bwindi view bandas
- Bwindi forest lodge
- Bwindi guesthouse
- Bwindi volcano lodge
- Gorilla forest camp
- among other facilities