Planning A Gorilla Safari Tour To Buhoma Sector Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
If the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is your desired gorilla safari area, you must reserve its gorilla permit in advance. Amongst all the four gorilla trekking areas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the Buhoma area still holds the highest tourist demand. This may be because of its historical factor, as it holds some of the first fully habituated gorilla families in this forest:
- Mubare opened in 1993.
- The Habinyanja family opened in 1998.
- The Rushegura family opened in 3002.
Most Popular Safaris
Suppose you are interested in gorilla trekking in a particular Bwindi Impenetrable National Park area. In that case, you must book your gorilla permit in advance, at least 6 months to a year prior.
This is because gorilla permits are sold off seasonally, and a first come, first served basis is used to secure the scarce gorilla permits. At the moment, the Buhoma area has only 24 gorilla permits belong to Buhoma area only, so the chances of missing out at the last minute are high.
Although the Buhoma area has a variety of accommodations to choose from for all budgets, they get filled up early, too, so those hoping to secure a room at last, especially during the peak season, may never find one or are limited with choice.
How To Plan For A Gorilla Safari In Buhoma Area
Book A Gorilla Permit
Buhoma has a limited number of gorilla permits, although it is the juicy area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, as the main administrative office of this park is here. Currently, only three gorilla families are residents of this park: Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, and Rushegura Gorilla Family. Only 24 gorilla permits are opened daily to public booking in the Buhoma area.
Suppose you do gorilla safari in the peak season. In that case, June, July, August, September, December, and January, book your gorilla permit for Buhoma at least 6 months to a year in advance. By this time, you may be allowed to make the choice of which area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park you wish to secure, unlike in the future.
Select a day when you hope to do gorilla trekking, check for availability through a tour operator or directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority. If gorilla permit availability is positive, secure your gorilla permit as soon as possible.
Last minute gorilla permit for Buhoma may be available during the wet season; however, this is only guaranteed some of the time.
Book Accommodation In Buhoma Area Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Securing accommodations for Buhoma is the best choice if your gorilla permit is booked for this area. This is to avoid having to wake up early to drive to the ranger station early and catch up with briefing in case you are overnighted in another area. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is vast, with a poor road network connecting the different areas.
Buhoma area accommodations are categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities.
Buhoma Accommodations: Gorilla Forest Camp, Mahogany Springs, Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge, Engage Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Resort, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp And Several Others.
Reserve Transport To Buhoma Area
Road transport is the main means of getting to the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with different routes available. As the conditions of the roads in this area are in a poor state, using a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle is the best.
When it rains, the roads become slippery, and a car getting stuck is possible. Hiring a driver guide with experience may help you navigate through the journey to and from the Buhoma area safely.
Some of the routes to Buhoma area include:
Kampala To Ntungamo To Rukungiri To Kihihi To Buhoma
As this is the most direct route from Kampala or Entebbe to Buhoma. The drive to Rukungiri is about 390 kilometers, then 82 kilometers on a Murram road to Buhoma.
Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
Driving from Kampala or Entebbe to Kabale is 414 kilometers, then continues for 150 kilometers to Kanungu and Kanyantorogo.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kihihi to Buhoma
When you pass the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the drive is 64 kilometers to the Buhoma area. From the Mweya area of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the distance is 160 kilometers to the Buhoma area.
Kampala to Kabale to Ruhija to Buhoma
This route goes through the Ruhija section, which needs to be in better condition. From Kampala to Kabale, the distance is 414 kilometers, then 95 kilometers to Ruhija and Buhoma.
Daily domestic flights depart Kajjansi airstrip and Entebbe airport to Kihihi airstrip, but one needs a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to the Buhoma area, which is about 2 hours drive.
Charter flight services are available from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport for those wishing exclusive gorilla safari treatment. Their reservation must be made upfront to make all necessary aviation clearances.
Select The Number Of People To Travel With For Gorilla Trekking To Buhoma
Knowing the number of tourists you hope to travel with for gorilla trekking saves you time by moving back and forth with checking permit availability. Even when making reservations for other safari amenities like accommodation, hiring a vehicle, and others, you need the number of people.
Do Pre-Tour Gorilla Safari Exercises
Keeping your body fit for the gorilla safari experience saves you from getting muscle pulls in case you are required to hike where the mountain gorillas are. The terrain where Bwindi forest is located is volcanic, with remains of volcanic action like ridges, valleys, and valleys covering most of the area.
Sometimes the mountain gorillas feed from these highlands, necessitating tourists to hike. Your fitness level supports you through the trek to where the mountain gorillas may be lounging or feeding. You do not have to keep in the gym all day but do exercises that stretch your muscles a lot more than normal.
Book International Flight To Entebbe Airport In Advance
If your gorilla trekking experience is at the start of your safari days in Uganda, you must book your international flights in advance. If you do not get a flight within the necessary time frame or miss flights, gorilla safari has to kick off, and on your trekking date, you are not in the Buhoma area; you are counted as a no-show. You may be required to purchase another gorilla permit if you do not show up on the day of trekking.
To avoid facing challenges like missing your gorilla safari day, you must pre-book your international flights and try to keep up to date with travel times just in case flight time changes. Gorilla trekking is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure experience not worth missing.
Pack The Right Gorilla Safari Gears
Remember the gorilla trekking gear as you pack for your safari holiday to Uganda. You do not have to overpack but have the necessary safari items. You can check on the list of items to carry for gorilla trekking.
When you carry your gear, you feel comfortable and protected from the rough surfaces in the jungle. Remember to pack items like your safari attire, insect repellant, safari hat, first aid kit, and more.
When Is The Best Time To Book Buhoma Gorilla Permits?
Buhoma gorilla permits are open all year round. However, the dry season is most preferred. The dry season of Bwindi’s impenetrable national park is often June, July, August, September, December, and January.
The forest is full of life as the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers are freely merry-making in a less humid forest. The precipitation of Bwindi impenetrable national park is very high as rains fall anytime without warning. Even the dense network of Rivers that run in the forest because it is the water catchment area of this place keeps the forest wet no matter the season.
Although precipitation in the Bwindi forest is lower, more sunrays penetrate the dense canopy to the ground during the dry season to reduce the sogginess.
The mountain gorillas move in the forest, searching for vines and foliage to satisfy their huge bodies throughout the day and night. Even other forest dwellers may be easier to spot in the dry season.
The wet season has its goodness, too, as chances of having a solo gorilla trekking day are high, even if you do not pay extra to close off a gorilla family. The wet season of Bwindi forest usually is March, April, May, and November. If you have a limited safari budget but want to do gorilla safari, the low season, usually the wet season, is suitable.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority may sometimes forward discounted gorilla permits, but this depends on management decisions and is only guaranteed for some years.
Even service providers may offer discounts on facilities like hotels and lodges, vehicle hire, driver guides, and others.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla Trekking?
15 years and above is the age limit for gorilla trekking because of the nature of the topography where mountain gorillas live, which is mountainous and challenging at times. All tourists must follow the rules of gorilla trekking religiously, but a child below the age limit may violate them once accepted to join the rest of the trekkers, which may cause a stampede in the wilderness.
Children may not be able to withstand the conditions of the Bwindi forest, so the age limit for gorillas trekking was set to 15 years and above.
What Assurance Can I Have To See The Mountain Gorillas In Buhoma Area?
Seeing the mountain gorillas in the Buhoma area is 99% a sure deal once you have a gorilla permit for this area. The mountain gorillas are often tracked early morning by a team of rangers to establish where they may spend the day. Mountain gorillas do generally not feed or spend the day far from their night nesting point.
The clue provided by the early trackers is what is used by ranger guides escorting tourists to do gorilla trekking. You will only sometimes locate the mountain gorillas in the same area where the trackers traced them; however, even when they move, they may not be far away.
Mountain gorillas often occupy a particular area for Some time and move to a new location when factors like food are exhausted, in case of a fight with another gorilla family, the death of a family member, or the adventurous nature of the gorillas.
If you ever fail to find the mountain gorillas, you are refunded according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund policy.
How Easy Or Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Buhoma Area?
- Gorilla trekking, in general, is strenuous depending on where the mountain gorillas are spending the day. The terrain of Bwindi’s impenetrable national park is ragged, resulting from volcanic action, so expect to hike some ridges and plateaus often tangled with draping creepers.
- A ranger guide uses a machete to trim the creepers to create a way for tourists to access the mountain gorillas.
- It is hard to determine the easiest gorilla family to trek in the Buhoma area because a gorilla family feeding closer today may be the furthest the next day, depending on factors prevailing in the forest.
- Before gorilla trekking, you can keep your body fit and ready for hiking if required to.
- Those who are physically impaired may hire sedan chairs to transport them where mountain gorillas may be relaxing on the trek day.
- Wearing the right gorilla trekking gear is often one of the things that make you comfortable while you trace where the mountain gorillas are. Apply insect repellants, wear a long-sleeved safari shirt in wilderness-friendly colors, and others.
- Making plans for the gorilla trekking safari, no matter which destination you are traveling to, gives you comfort and keeps you safe. Gorilla trekking is unlike other game safaris, where you can ride in a vehicle. You walk in the jungle until you reach where the mountain gorillas may be feeding or lounging. Following the rules of gorilla trekking is key in this experience.