How to Get to Buhoma Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Buhoma sector is one of the four main sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, known for its population of mountain gorillas and its ecotourism opportunities.
To get to Buhoma sector, you’ll need to follow these general steps:
Travel to Uganda:
First, you need to travel to Uganda. Most international visitors arrive at Entebbe International Airport, located near the capital city, Kampala.
Arrival at Entebbe International Airport:
Entebbe International Airport (IATA code: EBB) is the main international gateway to Uganda. It’s situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital city, Kampala. The airport serves as the primary entry point for tourists and travellers coming to Uganda.
Entebbe International Airport is well-connected to various international destinations, with several airlines offering regular flights. Major airlines from different parts of the world operate flights to Entebbe. You can find both direct flights and connecting flights from major cities.
Visa and Entry Requirements:
Before your trip to Uganda, you’ll need to check the visa requirements for your nationality. Some countries are eligible for visa-on-arrival, while others might need to apply for a visa in advance from the Ugandan embassy or consulate in their home country.
Make sure to have a valid passport, visa (if required), and any other necessary travel documents.
Customs and Immigration:
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you’ll go through customs and immigration procedures. This involves presenting your passport, visa (if required), and possibly other documentation. You might also need to declare any items you’re bringing into the country.
- From the airport, you’ll find various transportation options to get to your destination. These include:
- Airport Taxis: Official airport taxis are available at the airport and are usually regulated and safe. It’s recommended to use authorized taxis.
- Ride-Sharing Apps: Some ride-sharing apps might operate in Uganda, offering an alternative way to get to your accommodation.
- Hotel Shuttles: Many hotels and accommodations offer shuttle services for their guests. Check with your accommodation in advance if they provide this service.
- Private Transfers: You can also arrange for a private transfer through your accommodation or a local tour operator.
Currency Exchange and Facilities:
Inside the airport, you’ll find currency exchange services, ATMs, and other facilities like restaurants, shops, and lounges.
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, there might be additional health and safety protocols in place at the airport, including health screenings, testing requirements, and quarantine measures. Make sure to stay updated on the latest travel advisories and requirements related to COVID-19 before your trip.
Remember that travel information can change, so it’s important to check with official sources, your airline, and relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information regarding your travel plans to Uganda and your arrival at Entebbe International Airport.
Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
From Kampala or Entebbe, you have a few options to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is located in southwestern Uganda.
- By Air: You can take a domestic flight from Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. From there, you’ll need to arrange ground transportation to Buhoma sector.
- By Road: The most common way to get to Buhoma sector is by road. You can take a long drive from Kampala to Bwindi. The journey takes about 8-10 hours and covers approximately 400 kilometres. You’ll pass through towns like Kabale and Kisoro before reaching Buhoma.
Transportation within Bwindi:
Once you arrive in Buhoma, you’ll need to arrange local transportation to reach your specific lodging and the gorilla trekking starting point.
Gorilla Trekking Permits:
If you’re planning to go gorilla trekking in Buhoma, you must have a gorilla trekking permit. These permits need to be obtained in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or authorized tour operators. They can be limited and are best booked well ahead of your planned visit.
Buhoma sector offers various accommodation options, including lodges and camps, catering to different budgets. It’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons.
Booking accommodation in advance is a crucial step when planning a visit to the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Here’s some more information about the accommodation options available and why it’s recommended to book ahead:
Buhoma sector offers a range of lodging options to suit different preferences and budgets. These options typically include:
Lodges: There are several lodges in and around the Buhoma sector that provide comfortable accommodations, often with amenities like en-suite bathrooms, dining facilities, and beautiful views of the surrounding forest and landscapes.
Camps: For a more immersive experience, some camps offer tented accommodations. These can range from basic to luxurious, allowing you to be closer to nature while still enjoying certain comforts.
Advantages of Booking in Advance:
- Availability: Accommodation in Buhoma can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons, such as the dry months of June to August and December to February. By booking ahead, you increase your chances of securing a spot at your preferred lodging.
- Choice: Booking early gives you a wider selection of accommodations to choose from, allowing you to find the one that best matches your preferences and budget.
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that your lodging is confirmed can provide peace of mind and make your travel planning smoother.
- Gorilla Trekking Permits: If you’re planning to go gorilla trekking, you’ll need to obtain permits well in advance. Having your accommodations booked can help you better plan your trekking experience.
Direct Booking: You can often book accommodations directly through the lodging’s official website or by contacting them via email or phone.
Tour Operators: Some accommodations work in partnership with tour operators who can help you arrange your stay as part of a larger travel package that includes transportation, activities, and more.
Location: Choose accommodations that are conveniently located near the Buhoma sector and the gorilla trekking starting point. This can save you time and make your experience more enjoyable.
Amenities: Consider what amenities are important to you, such as hot water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and dining options.
Reviews: Check online reviews and traveller feedback to get an idea of the quality and service of the accommodations you’re considering.
By booking your accommodation well in advance, you’ll have a smoother and more enjoyable experience during your visit to the Buhoma sector. It’s also recommended to keep your booking confirmation and relevant contact information handy, in case you need to provide them during your travels.
Gorilla Trekking Experience:
Gorilla trekking is the highlight of a visit to Buhoma sector. On the designated day, you’ll join a guided group to track and observe a gorilla family in their natural habitat. The experience is regulated to minimize disturbance to the gorillas and their environment.
Respect Local Regulations and Guidelines:
During your visit, it’s important to follow the guidelines and regulations set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to ensure the conservation of the gorillas and their habitat.
Remember that travel information can change, and it’s recommended to verify the current transportation options, permit availability, and any COVID-19-related travel requirements before your trip.
It’s also a good idea to consider using a reputable tour operator to help you organize your visit to Buhoma sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.