The 331 square kilometer piece of land is covered by green montane forests that make up Bwindi impenetrable national park. The park was declared in 1991 as a world heritage site for conserving mountain gorilla after the eviction of the Batwa people. Bwindi is a home to over 400 mountain gorillas including other several primate apes like red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and many others .The park is divided into four sectors each with several habituated gorilla families, in total Bwindi has 14 gorilla families, 12 fully are while other two are still undergoing habituation.
Each tracking sector in Bwindi is unique depending on the features and landscape terrain.
The sectors include;
Buhoma lies North West of Bwindi and is one of the pioneers of all the sectors. The first gorilla family to be habituated in 1993 was mubare in Buhoma that opened gorilla tourism in Bwindi national park followed by Habinyaja in 1997 and Rushegura in 2000, to date there are only three gorilla families in Buhoma. The terrace in Buhoma is at its lowest compared to other sectors because it does have those steep slopes that make it difficult to hike that’s why getting availability of permits for that sector is tedious.
A part from gorilla tracking there are other activities one can engage in like visiting the Batwa and Bakinga community for the culture experience, hiking among various water falls, village biking under the umbrella “ride for a woman”. Buhoma is also a birding destination for the endemic Albertine rift valley birds like Short-tailed Warble, Ruwenzori turaco, handsome francolin, strange weaver, African green broadbill and many others.
Being the first tracking sector, Buhoma is well developed with good accommodations, projects like Bwindi hospital, Human-Gorilla Conflict Organization for conservation and Conservation through Public Health. Buhoma can be accessible from Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma. Other routes are Kampala-Kabale-Kanungu-Buhoma, Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma. Tourists from Queen Elizabeth National Park can easily connect to Buhoma through Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth via Kihihi to Buhoma.
Rushaga was the second introduced sector in Bwindi, it is located south of Bwindi and one of the sectors with 5 habituated gorilla families and they include: Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye, Kahungye and Mishaya gorilla family for the habituation experience. Rushaga is at an altitude of 2000m above sea level that makes it strenuous to hike at the same time adventurous. Tourists can also engage in hiking trails to the waterfalls participate in village walks to the Batwa and Bakiga community apart from gorilla trekking.
Rushaga can be accessed easily through Kampala-kabale then Rushaga, it can also be accessed from Kigali, trek gorillas and cross back to Kigali.
Accommodation is improving and well developed from budget to the up market since it’s the only sector that takes a number of tourists per day.
Ruhija is in the east of Bwindi, a very diverse sector and rich in attractions apart from gorilla tracking. Only three gorilla families are in this sector i.e. Kyaguliro, Oruzongo and Bitikura. It is also a birding destination of the Albertine endemic species like Ruwenzori turaco, Handsome Francolin, Western Green Tinkerbird, Mountain and yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Mountain masked and chestnut-throated Apalises, Red-faced woodland Warbler, Rwenzori baits, and Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, white-tailed crested Flycatcher. There are also forest elephants, bush pigs though they are rare to find. Ruhija is very cold to say, it stands at an altitude of 2703m at Rwamunyonyi peak.it is very accessible from kampala-kabale to Ruhija as the easiest route ,accommodation is not a worry it caters for everyone from budget class to luxury clients.
Nkuringo is the only sector with least number of gorilla families, it has 2 in total, namely Nkurigo which is for gorilla tracking it is well known for fore ranging far near Nteko bridge 600m below the trail head, this makes it difficult to trek.Bikingi is also another gorilla family open for Gorilla habituation experience. You can also have the cultural experience of the Bakiga and Batwa in the evening from gorilla tracking. Accommodation facilities are in place to cater for your needs and they include Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Nkuringo Safari Lodge