Buhoma sector is located in the northern part of Bwindi National park in Kanungu district featuring various attractions in south west of Uganda. Bwindi gorilla park is one of the national parks in the world harboring mountain gorillas in the southwestern part of Uganda. Buhoma sector is one of the 4 trekking sectors of Bwindi gorilla park famous for being the first region where mountain gorilla habituation took place. Buhoma region is where mountain gorilla habituation started in 1991 on mubare gorilla family and it ended in 1993. Other sectors in Bwindi gorilla park are Nkuringo in the south, Rushaga in the south, and Ruhija in the east.
Gorilla families in Buhoma sector
All the gorilla families in Buhoma sector are habituated and open for gorilla trekking at any time of the year. Buhoma sector of Bwindi gorilla family has five habituated families that give the same gorilla trekking experience. Gorilla families of Buhoma sector include Mubare gorilla family which was the first to be habituated in 1992, Habinyanja gorilla family which was habituated in 1997, Rushengura gorilla family which was habituated in 2000, Muyambi gorilla family habituated in 2017, and Katwe gorilla family that was habituated in 2016.
Gorilla permits in Buhoma sector
Buhoma sector has five fully habituated gorilla families and each group is trekked by 8 people. Buhoma region of Bwindi gorilla park has 40 mountain gorilla trekking permits and these can be got from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or any trusted local tour operator at the same fee. Gorilla trekking permits for Buhoma region cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for East African citizens. Travelers interested in trekking mountain gorilla families on Buhoma sector must book their trekking permits in advance of 3-4 months.
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma sector
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma region starts early in the morning at the sector offices. The briefing is done to teach the trekkers about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity as well as grouping. 8 trekkers are able to trek a single gorilla family in Buhoma region and the armed ranger guides led the treks.
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma is done in 5 gorilla families and the activity takes 2-7 hours of searching that depends on the location of the gorillas as well as the speed of trekkers. During the search, trekkers are able to meet different park mammals, primates, and birds. When the gorilla family is found, trekkers will spend 1 hour with the gorilla family, watch the members do daily activities, learn about their behaviors and take photos.
Birding in Buhoma sector
Birding trails in Buhoma region are done using the famous trails which are bamboo zone trail and Buhoma waterfall trail. Birding activities are guided by armed ranger guides in Buhoma region and they do start with a briefing like any other activity. Birders to Buhoma region should come with a pair of binoculars to see distant birds.
Birding in Buhoma region introduces you to birds such as yellow-eyed black flycatcher, collared apalis, handsome francolin, Rwenzori nightjar, bar-tailed trogon, broadbill, red-faced woodland warbler, grey cuckoo shrike, grey crowned crane, black bee-eater, dwarf honeyguide, collared apalis, short-tailed warbler, dusky twin spot, montane oriole, regal sunbird, strip-breasted tit, and blue-headed sunbird among others.
Nature walks in Buhoma sector
Nature walks are the best way to explore Buhoma sregion of Bwindi gorilla park while on foot. Nature walk activities in Buhoma region are guided by armed ranger guides and take place on different hiking trails of the park. Nature walks in Buhoma give you an opportunity to encounter park animals such as chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, buffaloes, elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, bush pigs, and different bird species among others.
Cultural encounters in Buhoma sector
Cultural encounters in Buhoma region take travelers to Batwa group of people who are believed to be the first inhabitants of this park. Bwindi forest was a home of Batwa before the government decided to evict them and gazetted the forest as a national park. The Batwa were poachers who used to hunt animals for meat, fruit gathers and honey collects. They used and still use local plants as local medicine and on a visit to their community, you will take a visit to some of the traditional healers that still use these plants to cure illnesses. A visit to Batwa people is led by local guides that take you through different homesteads watching how people live their day to day life, get entertained by the traditional dancers, and support their local business.
The appropriate time to visit Buhoma sector
Buhoma sector can be visited all year round however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months of June to September and December to February are the best to have a safari in Buhoma region because during search months there is little or no rainfall that lives the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the roads leading to the sector are passable and the vegetation is short with clear views of the park wildlife.
Tourists especially budget travelers can visit Buhoma region of Bwindi gorilla park in the rainy season to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. The rainy season occurs from March to May and October to November but during search months there is plenty of rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the sector are impassable.
Accessing Buhoma sector
Buhoma sector can be accessed using road transport from Kampala/Entebbe. Travelers will use Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri road where you branch off and use kihihi route to access Buhoma sector. The journey from Kampala to Buhoma region takes 9-10 hours of stunning beautiful views of the roadside areas and stopovers. Travelers can also access Buhoma region from Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park using Kabale-Kanungu road and that takes 3-4 hours.
Buhoma region of Bwindi gorilla park can also be accessed using air transport organized by AeroLink Uganda. Travelers can access Buhoma sector of Bwindi gorilla park from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip which is found in Buhoma region. Aero Link Uganda organizes flights to Buhoma region as well as other park sectors every day morning and evening hours.
Accommodations in Buhoma sector
There are several accommodation facilities to use in Buhoma region of Bwindi gorilla park and where to stay depends on your budget and choice. The sector has some of the best accommodation facilities ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options such as Buhoma Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Forest Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Ride 4 women Guest House, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Rest Camp, Haven Lodge, and Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge.