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Buhoma Sector – Gorilla Trekking Destination in Bwindi Forest Park

Buhoma sector is one of the 4 (four) gorilla trekking regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to over 459 mountain gorillas. It is from Buhoma where gorilla trekking activity began in Bwindi and Uganda as a whole. It is the only gorilla trekking area in the Northern part of Bwindi National Park, Southwestern Uganda.

Buhoma Sector
Buhoma sector of Bwindi currently has 4 habituated gorilla families set for gorilla tourism. They include Habinyanja, Katwe, Rushegura, and Mubare gorilla families. Each of the 4 gorilla families is tracked by 8 visitors on a gorilla safari holiday in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi National Park. The 4 groups translate into 32 gorilla trekking permits that are available for booking each day for only the Buhoma gorilla trekking region.

Gorilla Groups in Buhoma Sector

Mubare gorilla group

Mubare gorilla group family is the first gorilla family to be habituated and also to open for gorilla tourism in Bwindi National Park. It officially opened for gorilla trekking in 1993 making it the oldest family and it takes its name from the lush Mubare hills. It was from Mubare hills where it was initially spotted.
After undertaking the habituation process, Mubare had about 12 gorillas and included Ruhondeza silverback being its leader. Unfortunately, Ruhondeza passed at 50 years and it was during this painful moment when the group was left by about 5 mountain gorillas. In 2013, some more 4 gorillas joined the group making it a group of 9 members consisting of Kanyonyi who took over the leadership of the family group.

Katwe gorilla group

Buhoma sector also has the newest gorilla group ‘Katwe’ currently open for gorilla trekking. Katwe and Christmas were officially set for gorilla trekking at the same period thus increasing the group members in Buhoma and Nkuringo regions respectively.

Habinyanja gorilla group

Also, most popular as the H-Group, the Habinyanja gorilla family features among the 4 interesting gorilla families that are officially open for gorilla tourism in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi. It underwent a habituation process between 1997 and 1999 then it was successfully opened for gorilla trekking. This group was originally spotted in a swamp and thus it was named Nyanja with the dominant leader being Mugurusi silverback. It takes holidaymakers about 5 hours to have a complete trek through the Habinyanja gorilla family group.

Rushegura group

Rushegura group broke away from the Habinyanja gorilla family group and it officially opened for gorilla trekking in 2000. The group can easily be reached in the Buhoma region since its members range just nearby Bwindi National Park head offices in Buhoma. This group boasts of about 21 family members and it can take holidaymakers not more than 5 hours to track it.

Things to do in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi

Gorilla trekking in Buhoma

Gorilla trekking is incredibly the most enjoyable activity holidaymakers on Uganda safaris can engage in while in the Buhoma sector in Bwindi National Park. With all the 4 groups, Buhoma sector can accommodate up-to about 32 visitors which translates into 32 gorilla permits. The groups to track in this region include Katwe, Rushegura, Habinyanja, and Mubare family groups. Like the rest of the sectors, trekking mountain gorillas in Buhoma region costs $700 per person when you travel as a non-resident, $600 foreign residents and shs. 250,000 for East Africa Community Citizens.

Hiking/nature walks

Nature walks/hiking offers a remarkable chance for holidaymakers to explore Bwindi’s endowments. There exist about 6 nature trails for nature lovers to explore, each of which introduces hikers into the park’s distinct habitats with unique attractions. They include Ivo river trail-this is Buhoma’s longest trail and takes almost the entire day to hike through it. Muzubijiro loop-known for its mesmerizing views of the lush Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Western Rift Valley, Virunga Volcanoes and others.
Rushura trail which takes about 3 hours but lets hikers enjoy great views of surrounding lakes especially, Lake George, Lake Edward as well as the Virunga Volcanoes and Rwenzori Mountains/Mountains of the Moon. The waterfall trail-this ushers hikers through the park’s 3 remarkable waterfalls; Ruisi, Rushura and Muzabajiro. The Munyanga river trail-this is set just outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and it is incredibly the shortest trail to trek through. The Buhoma village tourist walk-the 3 hours walk trail that introduces visitors into Buhoma community to enjoy cultural experiences in the Batwa and Bakiga community.

Mountain biking or cycling in Buhoma

Cycling adventures along Buhoma area are amazing and shouldn’t be missed while on Uganda safaris in Bwindi in general. Cycling experience is a community initiative arranged by Ride 4 a woman in Buhoma Community Rest Camp. Cycling is done along the 13kms Ivi River trial beginning from Buhoma head offices with a lead of a well-trained guide taking bikers up to 6-7 hours. On a cycling tour, cyclists should expect to enjoy the sight of birds, primates including the red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, plus other mammal species.

Birding in Buhoma Uganda

Bird watching is one interesting activity holidaymakers on a tour in Buhoma should expect to add on their bucket-list experiences. The region has amazing trails each introducing birders to amazing sites with interesting bird species. They include Bamboo zone, Buhoma waterfall, Mubwindi swamp in Nkuringo. The birds to expect to look out for on birding tour in Buhoma include among others the yellow fronted canary, Dusky twin spot, Jameson’s anti pecker, Klaas’s cuckoo, short tailed warblers, blue headed sunbird, common bulbul, Ruwenzori batis, barred long-tailed cuckoo, cape wagtail, great blue turaco, African blue flycatcher.

The Batwa trail experience

The Batwa trail experience entirely involves interacting with the Batwa pygmies in their community. Visitor experience begins with a trek through the forest with lead of an experienced Batwa pygmy guide. Your cultural experience covers a number of aspects including learning more about the various traditions, cultures and interestingly, you have a chance to enjoy the dances, music performances. The Batwa are popular forest dwellers who had over 500,000 years in the forest conducting mainly hunting and gathering, of which, the Batwa trail experience lets you discover the ancient hunting and gathering techniques these people used at the time.

When to visit Buhoma Sector

Tours to Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be arranged at any time of the year. But most importantly, whether it is a gorilla trek or bird watching you plan to engage in while in Buhoma, the dry and wet seasons are essential to bear in mind. The dry season is the best time for tracking mountain gorillas and every year, there are 2 phases of the dry season any holidaymaker should put into consideration when planning Buhoma safari holiday. The longest phase of the dry season runs from June to September and the shortest begins from December to February.

Where to stay in Buhoma

When you choose to travel to Buhoma for a holiday, it is important to book the nearby accommodation choices within the same area. They range from budget to luxury lodging options and they include Buhoma Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Mahogany Springs Camp, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Community Rest Camp.

Access to Buhoma sector Bwindi

Buhoma gorilla trekking sector of Bwindi is on the Northern side and it is reachable by road or by air. By road, the longest route takes holidaymakers from Entebbe/Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara-Ntungamo, Rukungiri to Butogota, and later, get to Buhoma which is estimated to cover from 8 to 9 hours. The short routes are available from Queen Elizabeth National Park for about 3 hours’ drive or from Kigali Rwanda via Katuna border to Kabale for 3-4 hours’ drive.
By air, the Buhoma gorilla sector can easily be reached starting from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip. From Kihihi, holidaymakers to Buhoma can be picked up by a 4WD safari van or land cruiser.

Frequently Asked Questions about Buhoma Sector

Where is Buhoma Sector Found?

Buhoma Sector is found in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. This is the southwestern part of Uganda and its one of the most visited regions in the country.

What is the best time to Visit Buhoma Sector?

The best time to visit Buhoma sector is during the dry seasons of June to September and December to February. This is because the roads to Buhoma are easier to use in dry seasons than wet seasons when the roads are muddy and slippery.

What tour activities can I do in Buhoma Sector?

The common tour activities to do in Buhoma sector are; gorilla trekking, birding, nature walks, cultural tours and butterfly watching.

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