Habinyanja Gorilla Group
Habinyanja mountain gorilla family / group can be trekked from the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Apart from Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, mountain gorillas can be trekked from volcanoes national park Rwanda, Virunga national park DR Congo as well as Mgahinga national park Uganda. The word Habinyanja is derived from the local word Nyanja to mean water and this is because the gorilla family was first spotted near a swamp in Bwindi national park.
Habinyanja gorilla group was habituated in 1997 and was open for trekking in 1999, the group was led by a silverback Mugurusi at the time of habituation and after some years Mugurusi died and left leadership to his two sons Rwansigazi and Mwirima.
Rwansigazi loved exploring new places while Mwirima loved to move around within the same area so the two silverbacks decided and separated peacefully in 2002, the members that stayed with Rwansigazi remained as Habinyanja gorilla family and the members with Mwirima came to be called Rushegura gorilla family.
Habinyanja gorilla group faced a challenge in 2011 when it was attacked by poachers and one black back known as Mizano who passed away because of spear wounds. Silverback Rwansigazi left his leadership to silverback Makara who now leads the group. Other gorilla families in Buhoma include:
Rushengura gorilla families
The Rushengura gorilla family derives its name from the Rushengura area in Bwindi where Mwirima separated from his brother Rwansigazi to form his own gorilla family. Habinyanja gorilla family was at first led by Mugurusi who passed away and his two sons took over the family leadership but couldn’t get along because one was adventurous while the other loved to be in the same place.
Mwirima moved away with 7 members and formed the Rushengura gorilla family while Rwansigazi remained with the Habinyanja mountain gorilla family. The two gorilla families are always seen along with each other and no fights have been recorded ever since the separation.
Mubare gorilla family
The popular Mubare gorilla family is the oldest habituated gorilla family in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the gorilla group was dominated by a silverback Ruhondeza at the time of habituation with 12 members.
Mubare gorilla family derives its name from Mubare hills in Bwindi where the group was first sighted by a group of trackers. Mubare is one of the easiest gorilla families to trek as they sometimes are seen at human park headquarters. The group is now dominated by Makara the silverback and it comprises 17 individuals.
Gorilla permits for Habinyanja Gorilla Group
Gorilla permits in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park cost $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and East African citizens pay shs250,000. Gorilla habituation permits are $1500 and the habituation is only done in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi. Gorilla trekking gives visitors a chance of spending 1 hour with gorillas while gorilla habituation gives you much more time of 4 hours with mountain gorillas.
Where to get gorilla permits In Uganda
In Uganda, the gorilla permits are purchased from the Uganda wildlife authority a government body in charge of tourism and wildlife conservation. Similarly, gorilla permits can be accessed through any trusted tour operator such as Africa Adventure vacations who will help you contact the Uganda wildlife authority for availability, buy and deliver gorilla trekking permits on behalf of clients. Buying a gorilla trekking permit can also be done online.
When to buy gorilla permits in Uganda
Tourists are always advised to buy a gorilla permit at least 4 months earlier before the actual trekking dates. Visitors are also required to make full payment of the gorilla trekking permits once they have confirmed the safari dates. Time early booking is to ensure proper planning and timely allocation of the gorilla permits since gorilla families live in different sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park- Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo and buying your permit early enough helps in selecting the best accommodation in that particular sector where the gorilla permits are allocated.
Activities done in Buhoma sector
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most done activity done in Buhoma sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This activity involves hiking through trials looking for the mountain gorillas. While in Buhoma sector you track three gorilla families that is Rushengura gorilla family, Mubare gorilla family and Habinyanja gorilla group where you will happy in the presence of the gorillas which is an amazing experience. Mountain gorilla trekking is done by people above 15 years of age and is done by people who have gorilla trekking permits and this costs USD 700 per person and USD 1500 for gorilla habituation experience permits.
Buhoma sector is covered with thick forest which is a perfect habitant for a large number of bird species and most of these are forest and migratory bird species. while on a bird watching safari in Buhoma sector many birds are spotted such as chapin’s fly, strange weaver, African jacana, grey crowned crane, red throated alethe, handsome francolin, collared apalis, kivu ground thrush, grey guckoo shrike, western green tinker bird, African wood owl, rwenzori batis, tit hylia, dusky twin pot, montane oriole, handsome francolin and regal sun bird among others.
Dry seasons March to September and then June to July is the best time to go for birding in Buhoma sector. These are nesting periods and many migratory birds come to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in these months giving you a chance to spot many birds in Buhoma sector.
These are the best ways to enjoy nature in Buhoma sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, these takes you on a walk through the forested area in Buhoma sector using different trails in the sector. Through nature walks you get to see animals such as colobus monkeys, olive baboons, colobus baboons and birds i.e. grey crowned crane, white headed saw wing, pink footed puff back, antepecker, Waller’s starling and crested guinea
Community walks in Buhoma sector give you a chance to see traditional and cultural ways of the people living in communities on the borders of Buhoma sector and also Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The communities in here include the Bakiga and these get you to participate in cultural activities i.e. cultural songs, dances, drama getting of local herbs from traditional healers among others.