Primate Holidays

Buhoma Sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Buhoma Sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park : Buhoma Sector is a particular region in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where gorillas are habituated and it is among the 4 gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi. Situated in the southwest of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to half of the world’s gorilla population. One of the four sectors of Bwindi National Park that is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas is the Buhoma Sector. Located in the Kanungu region of Bwindi National Park, Buhoma is the most well-known and significant safari attraction.

The first habituated gorilla family, Mubare, is the oldest gorilla family that was habituated in 1993 and was the first gorilla group to be opened for gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Forest National Park. Buhoma sector is well-known as the first stop for visitors entering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector.

Buhoma sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park is the residence of four habituated gorilla families namely Mubare family, Habinyanja family, Rushegura family and Katwe family where everyone gorilla family is trekked on an ongoing schedule with an authorized number of 8 people per group consequently meaning there are 32 gorilla trekking permits available every day in Buhoma sector.

Mubare gorilla family, this is the most elderly and the first group to be habituated in Bwindi national park in 1993 just after the park was declared into a national park. Since the group was first spotted in the stunning Mubare hills, the Mubare family has taken its name from these slopes. Ruhondeza Silverback led the Mubare group, which grew to over 12 members during the habituation process. The group had tragedies like attacks and deaths, among other things, and Ruhondeza lacked the power to defend the family, leaving the family with just five members before to his passing. After Ruhondeza passed away in 2013 at the age of fifty-nine, the family welcomed additional members, bringing the total to nine, including the group’s leader, Silverback Kanyonyi.

Habinyanja gorilla family, Habinyanja family was habituated in 1997 and became accessible for trekking in 1999.  The Habinyanja family got their name from the marsh that they were originally observed in Bwindi National Park. After habituation, Mugurusi Silverback a local term meaning “old man who later died” became the group’s dominant figure. After his passing, the two brothers Mwirima Silverback and Rwansigazi Silverback led the Habinyanga family. Their dissimilarities Mwirima preferring to remain in one location while Rwansigazi enjoying traveling caused them to split up in 2002, with Mwirima founding the Rushegura family. The Habinyanja family now consists of 17 individuals, including one black back, three juveniles, four newborns, and eight adult females. Makara Silverback, the family’s nickname, means charcoal in the local language.

Rushegura gorilla family, the group broke from Haninyanja gorilla family and became available for trekking in 2000. Because the Rushegura group is close to the park headquarters in Buhoma, it is the gorilla family in the Buhoma sector that is easiest to visit. Led by the serene and calm Mwirima, the Rushegura family is one of the most hospitable and friendly families in Bwindi National Park. Occasionally, the family members travel outside the park’s boundaries, giving visitors an early morning opportunity to see them after a day of gorilla trekking. Rushegura family consists of 21 members including one black back, 2 sub-adults, 5 adult females, 6 juveniles, 6 infants and one silverback Mwirima the leader.

Katwe gorilla family, this is the newest gorilla family in the northern side, Buhoma sector that has been included to make four gorilla trekking families in Buhoma sector. The arrival of these gorilla families boosted the number of gorilla trekking permits in Buhoma and Nkuringo sector, drawing more people to Bwindi National Park. The Katwe group had become used to the Christmas family in the Nkuringo sector. One silverback, three black backs, four adult females, and two newborns make up the Katwe gorilla family; however, the precise number of members is unknown at this time due to occasional group members entering and leaving.

Gorilla trekking in Buhoma sector provides you with unforgettable safari experiences in that just like other sectors in Bwindi national park a single gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non- residents and $600 for foreign residents that enables you to spend one hour in the midst of the gorilla family taking photos and capturing the moment of the safari and a gorilla permit is only issued to adults above the age of 15 years.

In addition to being close to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Buhoma Sector is also near Ishasha Sector, which is known for its lion climbing. This makes it possible to combine gorilla trekking in Buhoma with game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It also takes about two hours to drive to Mweya, where you can take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel.

You can additionally travel from Buhoma to Ruhija sector in the East, meaning that one can sleep in Buhoma sector and trek mountain gorillas in Ruhija sector and relate from Buhoma sector to Nkuringo sector via nature walk in the heart of Bwindi forest that lasts about 3 hours and is curious in that you will be capable to observe distinctive wildlife including bird species, primates, animals among others.

Aside from gorilla trekking, the Buhoma sector provides a variety of activities for tourists to partake in while on a safari in Bwindi, such as

Mountain biking/cycling, this is a thrilling and adventurous safari activity which is carried out in and around Bwindi national park. The Buhoma Community Rest Camp organizes a cycling group named Ride 4 Women, which travels 13 kilometres to reach the Ivi River. Renting a bike from the organization is the first step in the early morning mountain riding activity; the money you pay for this service goes towards aiding the local residents in the Buhoma district. Cycling begins at Buhoma headquarters, where you ride on paths such as the forests trail and explore the forest accompanied by a skilled guide who can assist you find the trails and identify various wildlife and birds along the way. It is recommended that you bring snacks and enough water for the short breaks during the mountain biking tour. The activity takes approximately 6 to 7 hours, during which you will see a variety of bird species, primates like Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, and Chimpanzees, as well as animals like Duikers, Bushbucks, and Squirrels.

Bird watching, Buhoma sector is a premier safari destination for bird watching where birding activity takes place along the main trail, along the bamboo zone, Mubwindi swamp in Nkuringo and Buhoma waterfall. Jameson’s anti-pecker, Barred long-tailed cuckoo, Ruwenzori Batis, Klaas’s cuckoo, Dusky twin spot, White-throated green bull, Crested guinea fowl, Yellow-fronted canary, Cape wagtail, Common Bulbul, African blue flycatcher, Red-headed bluebill, African cuckoo, African goshawk, Blue-headed Sunbird, Short-tailed warbler, Tambourine dove, and Great blue turaco are just a few of the many bird species that can be seen during the early morning hours.

Batwa trail experience, this is a fascinating endeavour that takes place outside Bwindi national park in Buhoma community where the visitors connect with the Batwa people .The Batwa Trail experience begins with a hike through the forest led by a pygmy guide. During this hike, visitors will learn about the Batwa’s traditional means of subsistence, which included gathering honey and fruits, hunting small game for food, building huts out of grass and trees, practicing archery techniques, and showcasing plant species that were used as medicine to treat various illnesses. The adventure continues at the Batwa craft store and offices at the Buhoma Trading Centre, where they offer a variety of goods including textiles, candles made from beeswax, and wood sculptures. Cultural performances including songs, dances, poetry, and storytelling that discuss the Batwa people’s way of existence in the forest will conclude the event.

Buhoma Sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Buhoma Sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Nature walks / hiking, Buhoma sector has six the natural world developed trails, where the visitors can enjoy the guided nature, walks in Bwindi forest, the trails include;

Ivo river trail which is the longest trail in Buhoma that requires a whole day walk is great for bird lovers in that they will be able to identify different bird species.

Muzubijiro loop trail which is an excellent view of Bwindi forest, Virunga volcanoes, western rift valley, historic tree ferns among others, on top of the hike it’s a good area for having lunch after long hiking.

Rushura trail, this trail takes 3 hours and provides excellent panoramas of Lake Edward, Lake George, Rwenzori Mountains, Virunga volcanoes among others on a clear day.

Munyanga river trail, can be found outside the national park and is the shortest contrasted to other walks in Buhoma where visitors can walk without a guide and the visitors will be capable to recognize primate species, bird species, see different tree species like ferns, orchids among others.

Waterfall trail, this trail leads you to the three waterfalls namely Ruizi, Muzabajirro, and Rushura and during the walk, you can see tree species like orchids, ferns, epithetic and butterflies.

Buhoma village tourist walk, this trail requires about three hours through Buhoma community during which you will visit the Batwa and Bakiga people, acquire about the activities carried out in the community including farming, brewing local beer, visit traditional healers, take part is cultural dances by the Batwa, visit the art and craft shops where they sell baskets, huts, bags, sandals among others which provide you with more knowledge on other cultures.

Where to stay in Buhoma Sector.

Buhoma sector is the most prevalent safari destination for gorilla trekking due to the oldest and first habituated gorilla family Mubare. Buhoma sector provides luxury, midrange and budget accommodation where tourists on a safari can stay including Buhoma community rest camp, Buhoma lodge, Silverback lodge, Volcanoes safari Bwindi lodge, Engagi lodge, Gorilla resort, Mahogany springs camp, Bwindi view Bandas, Gorilla friends lodge, Sanctuary gorilla forest camp among others which give relaxed dwellings, excellence services, prepare both local and international dishes, offer anonymity, wonderful views of Bwindi forest, primates among others consequently the visitors feel eased and cosy while on a safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park.

How to get to Buhoma Sector.

Situated in the northern region of Bwindi National Park, the Buhoma Sector is easily accessible by air or road transportation. By air: Kihihi Airstrip is reached by daily regular flights from Entebbe Airport; the trip takes around 90 to 120 minutes. From Kihihi Airstrip, there is a connection to Buhoma, the park headquarters. By road, it takes eight to nine hours to get from Kampala to Buhoma through Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, and Butogota. Buhoma Sector is easily accessible if you are travelling from Kabala Town; it takes two hours to get there through Kanungu.

Compared to the other three sectors of Bwindi National Park, the Buhoma sector receives a greater number of visitors for gorilla trekking safari since it is easily accessible and serves as a connecting destination.

Due to its easy accessibility, the Buhoma sector of Bwindi National Park is the ideal location for gorilla trekking safari. It also offers comfortable lodges and camps that offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences for those on safari in Uganda, as well as bird watching, cycling, game drives, and boat cruises in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

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