Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park was the first region to be visited by tourists in the park and it harbors the oldest gorilla family in Bwindi. This sector is located in the northwestern part of the park. Mountain gorillas are the largest primates in the whole world and share over 98% DNA with humans.
Mountain gorillas live in the Virunga massif region straddling across Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with half of the population living in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in southwestern Uganda. Mountain gorillas have thick and long fur that enables them to survive in cold temperatures of higher altitude ranges; they live in families of 5-30 individuals with a dominating silverback leading the whole group.
Gorilla groups in Buhoma sector of Bwindi
Mubare gorilla family
The Mubare gorilla family was the first gorilla group to be habituated in Bwindi national park in 1991 and visited by visitors in 1993, the name Mubare was derived from Mubare hills in Bwindi national park where the group was first sighted.
The family was dominated by Ruhondeza at the time of habituation comprising of 12 members. The group, later on, grew to 18 members but due to fighting with other gorilla groups it again lost more members including Ruhondeza living only 5 members in the family but more four gorillas joined in 2013 making it 9 members with 1 silverback.
Habinyanja gorilla family
Habinyanja gorilla family was habituated in 1997 and received its first tourists in 1999, the name Habinyanja is derived from a local word “Nyanja” to mean a place with water this is so because the group was first spotted in swampy areas of Bwindi.
At the time of habituation the group was led by Mugurisi the silverback who later on died and his sons Mwirima and Rwansigazi shared the dominance of the group but as time went by the two brothers had differences as Mwirima loved to stay in one direction and Rwansigazi loved traveling to far places.
In the year 2002 Rwansigazi and Mwirima decided to separate without any physical violence and the gorillas that remained with Rwansigazi maintained the group’s name Habinyaja while Mwirima formed his own family with some members and it was called Rushegura gorilla family.
Habinyanja gorilla family is currently led by Makara a local word to mean charcoal.
Rushegura gorilla family
Rushegura gorilla family is a splinter group of the Habinyanja gorilla family that was first led by Mugurisi meaning “old man”. When Mugurisi died the group leadership was shared by two of his sons that are Rwanzigasi and Mwirima.
The two sons had their own differences and couldn’t, therefore, continue living µtogether in that Rwansigazi was adventurers and Mwirima was not adventurers, the group splitting happened in 2002 with some members following Mwirima forming the Rushegura gorilla family.
Rushegura gorilla family had only 7 members when it separated from Habinyanja gorilla family but the family grew with 20 members today.
Community and village walks
Community walks can be taken from Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park giving visitors’ insight to the local communities around the park, for example, the Batwa people who lived with gorillas in the park for over 500,000 years until it was made a park.
The Batwa people are original people of the forest who used to survive on it for shelter, medicine and so much more they can show you their hunting and fruit gathering skills, visit a traditional healer and get entertained with local traditional songs and dances.
Bwindi forest lodge, Buhoma lodge, Buhoma community haven, mahogany springs lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Bwindi volcano lodge, Gorilla mist camp, Gift of nature lodge and many others. Your choice of accommodation will depend on tourist’s budget and choice.
Buhoma sector of Bwindi is the most easily accessible sector of the park; tourists can reach Buhoma at 550 kilometers from Kampala taking about 9-10 hours, 4 hours drive from Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park or use an aircraft from Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe international airport.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be visited all year round but the best time is from June to September and December to February when its dry season and the roads leading to the park are in good condition plus hiking trails are not muddy.
When visiting Bwindi impenetrable national park, tourists should bring the following; good hiking boots, raincoats, warm clothing, garden gloves, energy snacks, insect repellents, drinking water and so much more. potters will also be available to help tourists with luggage at a cheap price.