Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has several sections where gorilla trekking takes place and one of them is Buhoma Area located in Kanungu District. Buhoma Section is popular with tourists as it was the first place in Uganda where gorilla trekking started from. The first group of tourists to see gorillas did it in Buhoma region of Bwindi National Park and this was in 1993. This therefore implies that Buhoma region has the oldest habituated gorilla family in the whole of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and this family is called Mubare group. The family currently has 9 members a factor highly attributed to the Late Ruhondeza (who died in 2013). Ruhondeza grew older and could not effectively defend the family leading to break ways that later weakened the family. By the time of Ruhondeza’s death, the family had only 4 members but after his death, then new silverback embacked on an aggressive campaign that has seen the group capture some individuals from other families to the tune of nine members. It is believed that with the ambition of the new silverback, the family is likely to grow on numbers.
Other gorilla families that can be trekked from Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Rushegura gorilla group which has 16 members and Habinyanja Group that has 19 individuals. In early 2013, a certain videa went viral showing a man with gorillas around him (this was rushegura group).
Why do people like Buhoma Region?
Easy to Access from Kampala
Buhoma Section is easy to access from Kampala compared to other regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Its approximately 550 kms from Kampala and 8-9 hours drive from Kampala to Buhoma.
Closer to Other National Parks
Buhoma is closer to Queen Elizabeth National Park more especially the southern sector populary known as Ishasha. From gorillas, one can take 2 hours to Queen Elizabeth National Park (Ishasha Sector) to have an opportunity of viewing wildlife which may include the popular tree climbing Lions or drive up to 4 hours to Mwey section of Queen Elizabeth National Park for the popular boat cruise on Kazinga channel that has been praised for having the highest concentration of hippos in the whole world, over 600 species of birds and the best place to view other wildlife as they flock the channel to drink water. Ideally Buhoma region remains the closest to parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori National Park and Kibale National Park for chimpanzee trekking.
Many Accommodation Choices
Buhoma region has several choices of accommodation compared to other sections of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. For upmarket Lodges, you can use Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Volcano Lodge, Buhoma Lodge or Mahogany Springs. For Mid Range, there is Engagi Lode, Silverback Lodge, Gorilla Resort while for Budget but descent accommodation, we do have Buhoma Community Rest Camp.
Connecting with other regions
From Buhoma section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one can connect to Ruhija which is in the East of Bwindi. This therefore means that one can sleep in Buhoma and trek gorilla groups in Ruhija. It is approximately 2 hours drive from Buhoma to Ruhija making Buhoma a favourite to tourists. You can as well access the southern side of Bwindi (Nkuringo) from Buhoma by taking a walk through the middle of the forest. This trail is called the Nkuringo safari walk and takes up to three hours.
So Many Projects for Volunteers and conservation
Being the first area where gorilla trekking started from, Buhoma has attracted several projects that one can engage in to support gorilla conservation efforts. As a conservationist or Volunteer, you can work with conservation through Public health (CTPH), Human, Gorilla Conflict organization (HUGO), Bwindi Hospital, Schools or spend some time with the Batwa (Pygmies) who used to stay in the forest before it was gazzatted as a National Park.
Other Activities apart from Gorilla Trekking
Apart from gorilla trekking, Buhoma is the best region to enjoy a forest/Nature walk as certain trails have been carefully developed that can take you into the forest to visit the different water falls (up to three of them), identify several butterfly species, birds, trees and other primates among others. These nature walks are fully guides and worth trying if you save sometime after gorilla trekking. Alternatively, you can go for the popular Buhoma Village walk