Updated List Of Gorilla Families And Permits Available In Buhoma Region
Updated list of gorilla families and permits available in the Buhoma region of Bwindi. The Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not only the busiest gorilla safari area of this park but also has some of the pioneer gorilla families of Bwindi. The Buhoma area lies in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National, with five gorilla families open to public booking today. Note that the number of gorilla families in the Buhoma area can change as the habituation process is still going on for possible newer families.
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Mubare gorilla family opened for tourism in 1993 and is among the first gorilla trekking families to be extended to public visits in Uganda. The Habyinyanja gorilla family was opened for gorilla trekking in 1998. Rushegura was also opened to the public in 3002. There are still more potential gorilla families that may be opened to the public, although they are still under researchers’ watch.
With its unique history, many travelers first requested gorilla permits for Buhoma before other areas. However, this changed when the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was subdivided into four regions. Apart from the Buhoma area, other gorilla safari areas of Bwindi include Ruhija in the east and Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.
When booking accommodations for the gorilla trekking safari, ensure you reserve those within or closer to the Buhoma area to avoid getting into trouble as you try to catch up with briefing time. Connecting from one area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to another is challenging due to the different landforms that separate them, plus the dense vegetation cover that is not easy to penetrate. The roads connecting the Bwindi areas are sometimes messy from the regular fall rains.
What are the Gorilla families in the Buhoma area?
This gorilla family holds the gorilla trekking history of the Buhoma area as it was opened in 1993 when this Uganda safari activity was opened to the public. The Mubare family, which gets its name from the Mubare Hills in Kanungu, has several family members whose numbers change over time as many births and deaths occur. Visiting the Mubare gorilla family is like walking into the history of gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
3002, the Rushegura gorilla family was finally opened to public visits with ten mountain gorilla family members. The family has gone through evolution, and so far, over 16 members are registered under the Rushegura gorilla family but can expand or reduce according to the forest conditions.
In the history of gorilla trekking, the Habinyanja family was the second to be opened to public visits in Uganda. By opening this gorilla trekking family, 21 members are registered with two silverbacks. Over time, the number of the habinyanja gorilla family has been changing as birth, splits, grabbing, and much more are happening in the forest.
The Muyambi gorilla trekking family is split from the Mubare gorilla family as one of its silverbacks started its own family. By the time it was opened for gorilla trekking, this gorilla family had six members, but the numbers may change over time.
Katwe gorilla trekking family in the Buhoma area was opened to public visits in 2018. This family added to the number of gorilla permits available in the Buhoma area, which is awed by the habituation program. The gorilla habituation of the Katwe family took over three years.
How do you book gorilla families for the Buhoma area?
Although gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are no longer booked according to family, on trekking day, tourists are allocated these gorilla families to trek. The maximum number of people allowed to visit each gorilla family is eight.
If your preferred gorilla trekking area of Bwindi is Buhoma, suggest this right when you send the gorilla safari inquiry. If you plan the gorilla tour yourself, state this when you look for availability.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we assist our clients in booking gorilla permits, but you must provide us with the date and number of gorilla permits you wish to book. Since the age limit for gorilla safaris in Uganda is 15 years and over, you need to provide the ages of the participants. Our tour consultant checks for the availability of gorilla trekking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority list.
If Buhoma gorilla trekking permits are unavailable, be open-minded to other alternatives because the experience is unique and interesting in all the gorilla trekking areas. Buhoma has 32 gorilla trekking permits open to public booking each day.
Upon finding availability, purchase your gorilla permits as soon as possible before they sell out. The demand for gorilla permits worldwide is high, yet supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family. This is for conservation reasons, as bombarding the forest with so many people makes the mountain gorillas uncomfortable. Even the effects of mass tourism, like trampling on vegetation, may create food scarcity for the vegetarian mountain gorillas.
Forward us some personal details to add to the gorilla permits card, like your full name as presented on the passport, date of birth, nationality, and passport expiration date.
What accommodations are available for gorilla trekking in the Buhoma area?
The Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers the most extended list of accommodation facilities of various categories, such as Luxury, mid-range, and budget. During the peak season, that is, June, July, August, September, December, and January, demand for these facilities gets high, creating scarcity.
Some of the Buhoma accommodations include Gorilla Forest Camp, Marasa Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Resort, Buhoma community Campsite, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge.
How do you get to the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
The Buhoma area lies in the north part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park but can be reached from different routes:
Kampala or Entebbe to Kabale, Kanungu, And Buhoma is a distance of about 534 kilometers, driving for about 9 to 10 hours. The roads are winding and get messy sometimes, so you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle for better navigation.
Entebbe or Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma is known to be the shortest route. The distance you drive is about 472 kilometers.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is from Kihihi to Buhoma, about 160 kilometers from Mweya and 60 kilometers from the Ishasha sector. While driving through the Ishasha area of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Entebbe of spotting the tree climbing lions are more open.
From Kigali in Rwanda, cross into Uganda via Cyanika or Gatuna borders to Kabale, Kanungu, and Buhoma of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The drive is about 5 to 6 hours.
From Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield, you can get on the daily domestic flights to Kihihi airstrip. You need to hire a transfer vehicle to your lodge in the Buhoma area. The drive time from the Kihihi airstrip to the Buhoma area is about 2 hours.
Charter flight services are available at Kajjansi Airfield or Entebbe Airport for private gorilla safaris. You must secure a transfer vehicle, too.
What is the easiest gorilla family to trek in the Buhoma area?
It is not easy to identify the easiest gorilla family to trek in the Buhoma area because the moods of the mountain gorillas keep changing. The mood in the forest shapes their characters, the weather conditions of the day, the proximity of their food source, and others. Even the pace of fellow tourists determines how easy or long it takes to find the mountain gorillas.
The gorilla family close the previous day may be the furthest the following day due to prevailing circumstances in the forest.
Some patience is required before locating the mountain gorillas, but you can also keep an open mind as there is plenty to see in this eco-forest park. Look for other primates like the black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest’s, olive baboons, and others.
How long is gorilla trekking in Buhoma?
The length of the gorilla trekking safari in the Buhoma area is determined by the time you locate the mountain gorillas, the weather conditions of the days, the pace of fellow tourists, and others. When you find the mountain gorillas, only one hour is allowed with them during gorilla trekking for conservation reasons.
Human presence tends to disrupt the daily life of mountain gorillas, which is why the time spent with them is minimized.
Some tourists have located the mountain gorillas in one hour while others have spent over three-quarters of the day, but you need patience to complete the entire experience.
What is the cost of a gorilla safari to the Buhoma area?
The gorilla trekking permit for the Buhoma area is $800 for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents, and 300000shs for East Africans.
To make a quotation for other gorilla safari costs, we consider the number of people on the safari, the number of days on the gorilla tour, the tour package you choose, the time of booking the gorilla safari, other additional activities to combine with the gorilla tour, and others.
Can I Reschedule the gorilla permits for the Buhoma area?
If you cannot honor the day for your booked gorilla safari, you may apply to reschedule it if you are sure to travel in the future. Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts gorilla permit rescheduling if you follow the procedure below.
Write to the Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting that the gorilla permit be moved to a future date. State why you cannot do the gorilla trek on the booked date. In case you have evidence, attach it to it as backup.
Upon approval, your gorilla permit is moved per the prevailing availability status.
The gorilla permit to be rescheduled must be fully paid for and moved to a date within the year for which the rescheduled permit was booked.
How safe is gorilla trekking in the Buhoma area?
Buhoma area is safe for gorilla trekking safaris because there are ranger guides that conduct each gorilla tour. They are professional and experienced ranger guides who aim to protect the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers. Each of the ranger guides is equipped with a defense item: one holds a rifle and another a machete for any emergency.
The ranger guides also carry a radio call to communicate with security on the ground in case backup is needed.
Each morning, the ranger guide patrol team wakes up early to monitor where the mountain gorillas may have spent the night or possible hangout points for the day. They also look out for traces of unfamiliar visitors, like other wild animals that may be dangerous, like lions, hyenas, and others. In case they trace set snares, the rangers disable them.
Even the mountain gorillas are first habituated to human presence before opening the family to public visits. This helps reduce the animosity between the mountain gorillas and humans without altering their nature.
As a tourist, you must mind personal security by entering the forest only with an escorting ranger guide. Stay close to the group you trek gorillas with to avoid being lost in the jungle.
How Tiresome Is Gorilla Trekking In the Buhoma Area?
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma is tiresome because of the nature of the terrain of the Bwindi forest. The volcanic action that affected this area led to the formation of several landforms like ridges and plateaus covered with lush vegetation.
When the mountain gorillas spend part of their day on the slopes, tourists have to find them by hiking. This is quite tiring, and you need some fitness to complete the gorilla trek. Wearing the right gorilla safari gear protects you from getting hurt, as the forest has some irritating surfaces that you may come across, like biting nettles.
Cary, some energy bites to snack on while you trek to find the mountain gorillas.
Hiring a porter before starting the gorilla trek saves you from exhaustion while carrying the gorilla safari gear. A porter is a local person who has your belongings while you trek to find the mountain gorillas. The porter can also give you a push when you are tired. Hiring the porter during gorilla safaris is at a friendly cost.
In case you wish to give back to the community during the gorilla safari, hiring a porter is one of the direct ways to do so.
Contact our team for more information.