Gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi
Bwindi has 4 gorilla trekking sectors located in different parts of the forest. Each sector of Bwindi has its own gorilla families. Bwindi gorilla trekking regions are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija. Buhoma sector is located in the north of the park, Nkuringo sector is located in the south, Rushaga sector is located in the south, and Ruhija sector is found in the north.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the Gorilla parks located in the southwestern part of Uganda. The park is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas left in the world. There are 19 gorilla families in Bwindi living in the four sectors of the park. There are also 2 semi habituated gorilla families in Rushaga and Nkuringo gorilla sectors.
Mountain gorillas are not the only animals in Bwindi gorilla trekking regions but also elephants, buffaloes, civets, golden cats, clawless otters, duikers, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, blue duikers, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, l’hoest’s monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys among others. The park is also home to more than 345 bird species of which 23 are endemic to the Albertine region and 14 are only found in Bwindi. The following are the 4 Gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park;
Buhoma gorilla trekking sector: Buhoma is one of the gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi situated in the northern region of the park. Buhoma is the oldest gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi where gorilla habituation was done on Mubare gorilla group. Mubare gorilla family was open for trekking in 1992 and this attracted lots of tourists from different parts of the world.
Buhoma gorilla trekking region is the most liked sector because it harbors the oldest gorilla family, it’s located near Kihihi airstrip and can be easily accessed from Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park. Buhoma sector has 5 fully habituated gorilla families open for trekking at any time of the year and these are Mubare gorilla family, Katwe gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla family, Muyambi gorilla family, and Rushegura gorilla family. Buhoma gorilla trekking sector. Buhoma sector has 40 gorilla trekking permits on a daily basis at Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Nkuringo gorilla trekking sector: Nkuringo gorilla family is located in the southern sector of Bwindi near Rushaga sector. The sector has the least number of gorilla families in Bwindi but what makes it famous is gorilla habituation. Gorilla trekking in Nkuringo region is done on gorilla families such as Nkuringo gorilla family and Christmas gorilla family while gorilla habituation is done on gorilla families like Bushaho gorilla family.
Ruhija gorilla trekking sector: Ruhija gorilla trekking sector is located in the eastern part of Bwindi harboring 3 gorilla families. Gorilla families in Ruhija gorilla trekking region include Oruzogo gorilla family, Bitukura gorilla family, and Kyaguriro gorilla family. Ruhija gorilla families can only be trekked by 24 people because each gorilla family has 8 trekking permits at Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Rushaga gorilla trekking sector: Rusha gorilla trekking region is one of the 4 sectors of Bwindi located in the southern part of the park. Rushaga sector is one of the sectors of Bwindi where mountain gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation can be done. Rushaga sector is home to gorilla families such as Busingye, Bweza, Nshongi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, Rwiigi, and Kahungye. Rushaga sector is home to one gorilla family undergoing habituation and this is Bikingi gorilla family.
In each of the trekking regions of Bwindi, mountain gorilla trekking starts early in the morning at the sector offices where trekkers gather to learn about the rules and regulations of the trekking activity. Trekkers must wake up for morning breakfast at their lodges and their driver guides must transfer them to the sector offices. At the sector offices, the wardens check if the trekkers have valid gorilla trekking permits and then brief them about the activity.
Later groups are made and armed ranger guides lead the treks while protecting the trekkers from dangerous wild animals. The trekking activity takes 2-7 hours of going through different trekking trails and meeting different park mammals, primates, and birds. The time taken to locate mountain gorillas depends on the speed of trekkers as well as the location of mountain gorillas.
The moment mountain gorillas are located, the armed ranger guides give trekkers 1 hour to be around these apes. The time given allows trekkers to learn about gorilla habits, take photos and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, nesting, breastfeeding, climbing, eating, and much more. Travelers habituating mountain gorillas are given 4 hours to be with mountain gorillas as they make them get used to human presence. Later the trekkers trek out of the jungle, pick up their gorilla certificates and drive back to their lodges or next destination.
How much is trekking gorillas in each sector of Bwindi?
The price of gorilla trekking permits in all the sectors in Bwindi is the same at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A single gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens. Gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and UGX750,000 for East African citizens. Travelers are advised to book the gorilla trekking permits in advance of 3-4 months to avoid inconveniences since the Uganda Wildlife Authority sells the permits on a first come first basis.
Packing list for a gorilla safari in Bwindi sectors
Packing list for a gorilla safari includes waterproof hiking shoes, cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, garden gloves, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, sweater, backpack, insect repellents, sanitizer, facemask, a camera, a pair of binoculars, drinking water bottle, and energy giving snacks.
When to visit Bwindi gorilla sectors?
Bwindi gorilla sectors can be visited at any time of the year but there are months of the year that are better than the rest. The dry months that occur from June to September and December to February are the best to visit any of the sectors of Bwindi. During that period, there is little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thin with good views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park sectors are passable.
Tourists most especially the budget travelers can visit Bwindi in the rainy season of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. During the rainy season, travelers should know that there is plenty of rainfall and this makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accessibility Bwindi sectors
All the four sectors of Bwindi gorilla park can be accessed using road transport or air transport. By air transport, travelers can get to Bwindi using Aero link Uganda from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi airstrip for those going to Buhoma or Kisoro airstrip for those going to Nkuringo, Rushaga, and Ruhija sectors. From the airstrips, travelers are transferred to the lodges and the journeys take a few hours.
Using road transport, travelers can access any of the trekking sectors of Bwindi by driving from Kampala/Entebbe to Masaka to Mbarara to Kabale or Kisoro. Driving from Kampala to Bwindi is 9-10 hours of enjoying roadside views and having different stopovers. Travelers from queen Elizabeth national park can access Buhoma region of Bwindi in 4-5 hours via Kihihi and Butogota.
Accommodation in four sectors of Bwindi gorilla park
Accommodation in Buhoma trekking sector: 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.
Accommodation in Rushaga trekking sector: Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Resort, and Wagtail Eco Safari Lodge.
Accommodation in Nkuringo trekking sector: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Centre, Nshongi Camp, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, and Virunga Campsite
Accommodation in Ruhija trekking sector: Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp, Agandi Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Cuckoo Land Tented Lodge, Ecomarvels Gorilla Lodge, and Trekkers Tavern.