Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park is situated in the northern sector of Uganda and it is the easiest sector to trek in Bwindi impenetrable national park. It was a pioneer to the gorilla trekking activity since it is the first sector to be trekked when the Mubare gorilla family group hosted its first group of tourists for trekking in 1993.
Buhoma sector is the leading gorilla trekking group located in kanungu district with the oldest habituated gorilla family in Uganda, buhoma sector is suitable for mountain gorilla trekking as it is easy to access from Kampala if compared to other gorilla trekking sectors (it is 550 kilometers that is 8-9 kilometers). And also this section is closer to queen Elizabeth national park especially the Ishasha southern sector where you can view wildlife and favors boat cruise on Kazinga channel that is filled with hippopotamus, crocodiles and 600 bird species, Rwenzori national park, and Kibale national park for chimpanzee trekking.
Buhoma sector has gorilla families which attract a lot of tourists to this sector which including
Mubare gorilla family: Mubare group is the simplest group to trek in Buhoma to trek consisting of only 12 members initially under the leadership of Ruhondeza a silverback. This group is one of the oldest ancient gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park formed and habituated in 1991. Mubare gorilla family derives its name from Mubare hills and was the first tracked group which took place in 1993. After the death of Ruhondeza in 2012 the group faced a group feud leaving the group only with 8 members. Currently, the group consists of 9 family members with one silverback, 1 black back, one adult female and two juveniles.
Rushegura gorilla group: Rushegura gorilla group is a larger group consisting of 21 members with one silverback, a blackback, five adult females, two sub-adults, six juveniles, six infants and trekking in this group take fewer hours, i.e. less than 5 hours. It was habituated in the year 2000 purposely for tracking and in 2002 the group received its first trekker. This group split from the Habinyanja gorilla family. Currently, it is led by Kabukojo the dominant silverback with 4 blackback, 4 adult females, 3 juveniles, and 4 infants. The tragic death of Ruhondeza leads to the killing of an infant mountain gorilla by Mubare because he was threatened by any threat of any growing up alphas.
Habinyanja gorilla family: Habinyanja gorilla family is a group of 17 members led by the silverback alpha Makara, a silverback alpha with 1 black back, 5 adult females, 1 sub-adult, 3 juveniles, and 6 infants. The trekking expedition of this group takes 5 hours or maybe a whole day. The group derives its name from Nyanja meaning water as it was discovered around a swamp in Bwindi impenetrable national park, and was habituated in 1997. It was successfully trekked by tourists in 1999.
Buhoma sector has many tourist trekking trails which are used by tourists guided by a professional guides which include.
- The Munyaga river trail: this is the easier trail to trek found in the valley along the Bizenga creek joining to munyaga river, this trail is best for bird viewing and primates in the thick forest and a short trail of half an hour
- The waterfall trail: waterfall river is one of the most popular trails of 3 hours longer full of mysteries that is various flora, butterflies and many species of birds
- The Rushura Hill Trail: this trail of 3 to 4 hours leads to Rushura hill the highest mountain in Bwindi impenetrable national park beginning at buhoma park office, while hiking on this trail you to see terraced fields and forests, once on top of the hill you get to see the western rift valley and Virunga volcanoes and Bwindi impenetrable forest
- Muzabajiro Loop Trail. Muzabajiro loop trail of buhoma sector is of 6 kilometers going through the hill, on this trail you get to encounter different tree species, numerous primates including golden monkeys and also you get to enjoy the beautiful intoxicating view of Virunga volcanoes
- The River Ivi Trail. River Ivi trail is the longest trail of 14 kilometers taking 8 hours in the Buhoma sector. This trail goes up to the southern bounder of Bwindi impenetrable national park leading to place known as Mukempunu meaning a place full of wild pigs. On this trail, the tourist gets an opportunity of viewing birds, monkeys, duikers, and colorful butterflies.
Other activities to do in buhoma trail include:
- Community walks and cultural encounters: including Batwa culture experience, the Batwa forest people are the early occupants of Bwindi forest who were driven out of the forests as the government of Uganda was declaring the reserved area as a national park. Activities to witness during cultural walks include banana beer brewery, black smiting visiting homesteads, traditional healers and picking of herbs for medicine. Community walks involve visiting the neighboring communities of bakiga.
- Bird watching: buhoma sector found is a home to numerous bird species approximately 346 bird species making it one of the bird havens in Uganda, these birds species include ameson’s Antpecker, Pink-footed Puff back, Waller’s Starling, Crested Guinea fowl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Grey Crowned Crane, White-headed Saw-wing, Yellow-rumped Tinker bird .these birds are always seen sitting on the trees and making wonderful sounds.
Other activities include nature/ forest walks
While tourists are on gorilla trekking in buhoma sector accommodation in Buhoma sector can be got from Bwindi guest house, Bwindi view bandas, buhoma lodge, top-notch gorilla forest camp, luxury buhoma lodge, Silverback lodge, and Buhoma community rest camp. These facilities are close to buhoma gorilla trekking sector offer comfortable beds and delicious food at varying prices considering the season
Buhoma gorilla trekking sector is easy to access either by road or air, by road this sector can be accessed using Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Ntugamo-Rukungiri-buhoma route and by air you can use a chartered flight to Kihihi and drive to buhoma sector. From Kabale town its two hours’ drive and 4 hours from Ishasha the south sector of Queen Elizabeth national park.
While embarking on gorilla trekking there are essentials which are must-haves for tourists and these include:
- insect repellents
- Long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts
- Long trousers
- Hiking shoes
- Hiking stick
- a porter
- a camera with reserve batteries
- waterproof jackets
There are also rules and regulations to critically be followed by mountain gorilla trekkers as they interact with mountain gorillas in the forest. These include
- do not throw liters in the forest
- do not make noise while in the forest
- do not use cameras with the flashlight on while taking pictures
- a group going for trekking only consist of 8 people
- sick people are not allowed to go for trekking
- do not feed the gorillas
- do not mimic mountain gorilla action
- stay a distance of 7 meters from mountain gorillas