Buhoma, a little known place then, and very remote, located deep in Bwindi forest, emerged as one of the most known areas in the world and centre for gorilla tourism.
Buhoma and Nkwenda villages are found in Mukono parish in Kayonza Sub County Kanungu District in south western Uganda in the forest (later to be called Bwindi impenetrable national park after it was gazetted in 1991.)
Buhoma has since been elevated to town board status by the Kanungu district local government following several developments that came with gorilla tourism.
On April 1, 1993, the first gorilla tracking was allowed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park following gazetting of the park on August 13, 1991 by the National Resistance Council.
Several activities followed the gazettement of the park including the habituation of the first primates of the Bubare family led by the deceased Ruhondeza Silver.
Other two groups Habinyanja and Kateregwe were later habituated making the three groups the only habituated then, till 2003. This caused a great development to the area making it an absolutely tourist site.
Several locals were attracted to doing business as craft makers, traditional dancers, transporters, and agriculturalists for food supply to the expanding businesses.
With the aid of a Peace Corp Volunteer, John Dubois, who led a team to habituate the first gorillas, the communities in Mukono parish’s 12 villages were brought together and started up a camping site with modern lodges later known as Buhoma Community Rest Camp, the first tourist camp at Buhoma.
Since 1993, 12 other camps and local lodges and hotels have been set up with the growing hospitality industry. They include Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Bwindi View Lodge, Lake Kitandara and Silver Back Lodge.
Others are Volcanoes Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Bwindi Guest Home, Gorilla Friends Lodge and Jungle View lodge.
At Buhoma, everything changes if you are used to the Ugandan way of life. The dollar is the currency used, bandas (semi permanent tents) is where you sleep, English is the main language and you subscribe to the norm of silence and no interruption.
The whole camping area and local community around, described as the business centre by Uganda Wildlife Authority (Uwa), is silent and you would not know that more than 2,000 people stay in the area.