Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a haven for over 400 mountain gorillas, stands as a remarkable destination for gorilla trekking enthusiasts. The vastness of this forest led to its division into four distinct sectors, each catering to gorilla trekking: Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. In each of these sectors, habituated gorilla families await, ready to provide an unforgettable trekking experience. As we delve into this discussion, we aim to scrutinize these sectors, seeking to identify the ultimate region for the ultimate gorilla trekking adventure, all the while acknowledging that the underlying trekking procedures remain consistent across all sectors.
Considering the road accessibility aspect, the Ruhija sector, nestled in the eastern expanse of Bwindi forest, emerges as the most suitable hub for embarking on a gorilla safari. The well-paved road connecting Entebbe to Kabale significantly reduces travel time, setting it apart from the other sectors—Rushaga, Buhoma, and Nkuringo. It’s worth noting that the Ruhija sector falls short in terms of proximity to an airstrip, a drawback that affects travelers arriving via air. The regions offering favorable conditions for fly-in safaris encompass Buhoma, facilitated by the Kihihi airstrip, and the Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors, supported by the Kisoro airstrip. However, the latter two regions witness morning flight operations due to the weather patterns prevalent in the southern reaches of Bwindi forest.
When it comes to the abundance of gorilla families and trekking permits, the Rushaga region prevails as the pinnacle choice within Bwindi forest. A remarkable tally of 8 habituated gorilla families in Rushaga eclipses the numbers found in Buhoma and Ruhija, each boasting 5 families. This surplus of gorilla families firmly establishes Rushaga as the premier destination for those seeking a diverse array of gorilla encounters.
Navigating the realm of accommodation and lodges, the Buhoma sector emerges as a prominent contender for the title of the best region for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Buhoma is home to a plethora of esteemed lodges, including Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, and Silverback Lodge. These lodgings offer impeccable services and are meticulously maintained, catering to various traveler preferences. The Rushaga sector follows suit, housing lodges like Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, and Foru Gorillas Lodge, all of which provide commendable amenities. While other sectors also present lodging options, Buhoma’s lodges, coupled with its exquisite services, position it as a prime choice for a memorable stay.
For many tourists, the Buhoma region holds an undeniable allure, entrenched in historical significance. It was in Buhoma that gorilla trekking commenced in 1993, with the opening of the Mubare gorilla family to tourists. Over time, other trailheads and sectors have unfolded, yet Buhoma continues to shine as a quintessential hub, renowned not only for lodging excellence but also for the enriching Batwa experiences and engaging community interactions it offers. This historical foundation, combined with its multifaceted offerings, cements Buhoma’s status as the premier region for an unparalleled gorilla trekking experience within the captivating expanse of Bwindi forest.