Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is composed of four major visitor centres/ sectors which include Nkuringo and Rushaga (Southern sectors), Buhoma (Northern sector and Ruhija (Eastern region). It is from these sectors or regions also often referred to as trailheads where visitors gather to meet the tourism warden to get briefed about their gorilla trekking regulations. Briefing is always conducted in the morning before the actual trek to see mountain gorillas in the wild.
It is at the different Bwindi visitor centres where park guides and gorilla group families are allocated. In case tourists have heavy luggage and want assistance, the porters are also available for hire at the visitor centres.
Different Bwindi Visitor Centres
Buhoma is situated in the Northern side of Bwindi NP and from Kihihi Airstrip; it is easier to reach this park, especially for guests on fly in gorilla safaris to Bwindi. From Kabale, Buhoma sector is about 2 hours’ drive and takes you about 4 hours to drive from the Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
It is at Buhoma sector where the oldest gorilla group can be found –Mubare family group. In addition, this sector is composed of Habinyanja group, Rushegura, and Katwe family. Buhoma also attracts visitors who come for birding, cultural experiences (Bakiga and Batwa communities) and hiking experiences.
In the far Southern edge, there is Rushaga sector, a region with highest gorilla groups already habituated and open to trekkers. At the Rushaga visitor centre, tourists are allocated to gorilla families such as Kahungye, Bweza group, Nshongi, Mucunguzi group, Mishaya, Rwigi, Busingye, Bikingi group, and Kutu. Aside from normal gorilla trekking, this region also offers the most memorable gorilla habituation experience.
Still in the extreme Southern side, there is Nkuringo sector. This sector began with Nkuringo group, a gorilla family that was launched in 2004 and comprised of 19 members. Currently, it is comprised of other groups including Bushaho and Christmas gorilla groups.
Ruhija area is not only visited for gorilla trekking but also for birding safaris. This sector is in the Eastern side of the park and has groups including Kyaguriro, Bitukura and Oruzongo. Visitors interested in hiking, there are many trails worth conquering while in Ruhija including Mubwindi trail- the best place to start your birding expeditions.
Bwindi lodges are distributed across the 4 main visitor centres/regions and range from budget to luxury. They include among others Gift of Nature Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Mahogany Springs, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, and Bakiga Lodge.