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3-day Uganda mountain gorilla trekking safari starts in Kampala and ends at Entebbe international airport in Uganda. It involves meeting eye to-eye with the magical mountain gorillas

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park from Ruhija sector

Ruhija sector is one of the best mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park found in the North-Eastern part of Bwindi Forest National Park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park from Ruhija sector

Ruhija sector is one of the best mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park found in the North-Eastern part of Bwindi Forest National Park.  Ruhija sector is located between the Buhoma sector and Kibale town to the south and it is one of the most accessible sector from Queen Elizabeth National Park famed for tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector for wildlife sighting game, Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi, the deepest lake in Uganda and second deepest in Uganda. Like other sectors of Bwindi impenetrable Forest National park such as, Nkuringo, Rushaga sectors in the south and Buhoma sector in the North. Seeing the mountain gorillas from Ruhija sector in Bwindi forest national park is 98% guaranteed.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern parts of Uganda on the edge of the East African Rift Valley. Bwindi impenetrable forest is one the Uganda’s most biologically diverse and oldest rainforests that dates back over 25,000 years, containing almost 400 plant species. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is more famously known as a home to approximately half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, including several well-habituated families for tourism. This biologically diverse forest, provides home to 120 recorded mammals including several other primate species like chimpanzees and baboons as well as forest Elephants and some Antelopes. There are around 350 bird species recorded in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Bwindi impenetrable forest was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and in 1994 was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Please note the Mubare gorilla family was the first to family to be habituation for gorilla trekking tourism in Uganda in April 1993.

Mountain Gorilla trekking from Ruhija sector

Mountain gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector is the best and most popular activity that people do. Ruhija sector is one of the best mountain trekking sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national mostly to people who are not good at hiking and less fit because its landscape is not too hilly and steep related to other sectors in Bwindi Forest National Park. Ruhija sector also has a variety of least expensive accommodation facilities but providing high class services and most of these accommodation facilities are very close to the park starting point of Gorilla trekking at Ruhija sector in Bwindi Forest National Park hence making it to be the most affordable sector for mountain gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Mountain Gorilla Families in Ruhija sector of Bwindi Forest National Park.

Ruhija sector has many well-habituated gorilla families that are open for gorilla tracking tourism experience, each gorilla family has its family members, and each gorilla family is headed and protected by the dominant male gorilla called Silverback. A gorilla family can be made up of 10 to 18 individuals. Each family is limited to 8 permits per day, this means, each family can be visited by only by 8 people per day. For anyone to do gorilla trekking, must have a valid gorilla trekking permit. Gorilla trekking permits are regulated and sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority only. To do gorilla trekking, you need book and pay for your permit at least 3 months in advance this is due to the increasing number of people who want to do the activity therefore, rising their demand. Ruhija sector has four Gorilla Families that is Oruzogo family, Bitukura family, Mukiza family and Kyaguriro family all families are available for Gorilla tracking tourism with 32 gorilla permits available each day for trekking gorillas in Ruhija sector. The price of the gorilla trekking permits for Ruhija is the same for all sectors gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Each gorilla trekking permit costs Shs.250, 000 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya) USD600 for Foreign Residents, and USD700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents. The gorilla trekking permit only allows one hour of viewing of the gorillas though it is such a lifetime experience wildlife encounter.

Kyagurilo Family, this Gorilla family has the fewest family members with only 9 individuals and two silverbacks and one is a dominant silver back currently. Below are the family members’ names.

  • Rukara-the Dominate Silverback of the family
  • Tindamanyire-the Adult Female of the family
  • Kabandize- the second Silverback of the family
  • Happy-the Baby born
  • Mazoora- the Sub Adult Female of the family
  • Korubaro- the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Kengongwe- the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Munaba-the juvenile female of the family
  • Bajurizi-IUNK

Bitukula Family, is the third largest gorilla family in Ruhija sector with two silver backs and one is a dominant and made of 11 individuals in total as listed by names below.

  • Mugisha-the Dominant Silver back of the family
  • Rukumu- the second Silverback of the family
  • Betina-the Adult Female member
  • Ruhara-the second Adult Female member
  • Kamuga-the third Adult Female member
  • Tursday- the forth Adult Female member
  • Kadogo-the Baby Born of the family
  • Rungo- the Sub Adult Male member
  • Kakuto the juvenile male of the family
  • Nyiguru- the Male member
  • Kirabo-the Infant Female

Mukiza Family, this is the second biggest family in Ruhija sector with twelve members and only one silverback as listed by names below.

  • Mukiza-the Silver Back of the family
  • Mugwere- the first Adult Female of the family
  • Twijukye-the second Adult Female of the family
  • Korugyezi- the third Adult Female of the family
  • Mugenyi-the fourth Adult Female of the family
  • Bwebisha-the fifth Adult Female of the family
  • Mubwindi-the sixth Adult Female of the family
  • Kanywani-the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Kanoel- the Juvenile Female of the family
  • Tonvi- the Juvenile Female of the family
  • Gorodi- the Infant Female of the family
  • Nyakabara-the Infant Female of the family

Oruzogo family group:  is the most dominant and the largest group/family in ruhija sector and it has FOUR silver back males with one dominant silver back. It has nineteen members in total as listed by names below.

  • Bakwate- the Dominant Silver back of the family
  • Kaganga- the first Silverback of the family
  • Kasumali- the second Silverback of the family
  • Kakobe- the first Adult Female of the family
  • Nyangaro- the second Adult Female of the family
  • Mutesi- the third Adult Female of the family
  • Nyakina- the fourth Adult Female of the family
  • Mukwano-the third Silver Back of the family
  • Bwengye-the Baby Born of the family
  • Rukeija-UNK
  • Katoto-the Adult Female of the family
  • Bughura- the Adult Female of the family
  • Nyakashunju-the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Musenene- the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Ngabirano- the Sub Adult Male of the family
  • Muhumuza- the Infant Female of the family
  • Mufuruki- the Infant Male of the family
  • Musana-the Infant Female of the family
  • Paska- the Male

Allocation of Gorilla Family to track from Ruhija sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Above are the Gorilla families and their members found in the whole Ruhija sector of Bwindi impenetrable National Park as of now. Some time back, the allocation of Gorilla family to trek used was  based on the gorilla permits that were sold according to the gorilla families however, this changed and now Gorilla permits are sold depending on permit availability at each sectors ie. Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga. So, now the allocation of the Gorilla family to track is done on the tracking day during the pre-trekking briefing that is conducted at the starting point of each sector. The allocation of the gorilla family to be trekked by the guest, depends on the level of fitness, health status, and the interests of the visitor. During gorilla family allocation, you are given an opportunity to participate and select your best family depending on your trekking interests for example while at the starting point, you will be asked whether you want to track a gorilla family which is which is nearer from the starting point, the one that is far from the starting point, a family with baby Gorillas, a family with more than one silver back and a family with many family members. For your information, Gorillas trekking is so strenuous so, it requires maximum level of fitness, so physical exercise before you come for tracking is vital.

Gorilla permits for all sectors are sold at the Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters Plot 7 Kira Road in Kampala, Uganda and Africa Adventure Vacations is ready to carry on the entire process of booking and getting you the Gorilla trekking permit for Ruhija sector. To book a gorilla trekking permit, you will be required to pay USD700 which is the price of each gorilla permit per person and we immediately secure for you the gorilla trekking permit from UWA and send you scanned copies of your permit after it has been secured. Once you have confirmed your travel date and send through the payment, to proceed with gorilla permit booking process, we will need your full names, date of birth, Nationality and the passport number as they appear on your valid passport to get for you the permit cards. Gorilla permit cards are issued at least two-three weeks to the tracking date and when you pay for the Gorilla permit, the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues a payment receipt that you have to keep till the days of printing and issuing the cards. Your gorilla permit receipt has to bear a booking ID that contains all the details of the person booked the permit and it is this Booking ID that is more important.

What is the price of the gorilla trekking permit in Ruhija sector?

Like any other sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, the price of the gorilla trekking permits for gorilla trekking from Ruhija sector is Shs.250, 000 for East African Citizens (these include citizens of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya), USD600 for Foreign Residents and USD700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents. Ruhija sector has 32 gorilla permits available per day. The gorilla trekking permits are normally sell out so very quickly due to higher demand mostly during the high season (January, February, June, July, August, September, and December every year. Therefore, if you are planning do gorilla tracking in Ruhija sector and other tracking sectors, you will need to book and pay for your gorilla trekking permit in advance.

How to access Ruhija sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National park

Ruhija sector can be accessed by both road and air transport means from Kampala or Entebbe.

By road

Ruhija sector can be accessed by road from Kampala city or Entebbe city / international airport with the biggest part of the roads well-tarmacked. From Kampala city to Ruhija sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park it is approximately 460 km which is about 7- 8 hours’ drive including some stopovers like at the equator landmark and for lunch at Igongo cultural center or Mbarara city. The main road routes from Kampala City to Ruhija sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park are;

  • Kampala City – Masaka city – Mbarara city via Kabale and then to Ruhija sector off Kabale – Kisoro road. From Kabale to Ruhija sector, it is about 1½ hours’ drive and the road is straight.
  • Kampala City – Masaka city – Mbarara – Rukungiri via Kihihi, Butogota and then to Ruhija sector from Butogota. From Butogota to Ruhija sector, it takes approximately 2 hours’ drive therefore it is better to use the Kabale route.

Ruhija sector can also be accessed from Queen Elizabeth national park which is the second largest national park in Uganda via Ishasha sector where you can do a game drive to search for the tree climbing lions and then continue to Ruhija sector. It is about 4 hours’ drive from Queen Elizabeth national park to Ruhija sector.

Ruhija sector also is one of the most accessible sectors from Kigali Rwanda which is about 4-5hours drive via the Uganda-Rwanda border of Katuna and Kabale. This is the best road route that should be used when visiting Uganda for only mountain gorilla trekking mostly to the people who do not like long distance and hours’ drives.

By air

By air, there are daily scheduled and private domestic flights from Entebbe international airport and Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi airstrip which is the nearest airstrip to Ruhija sector and then connect by road to your booked lodge in Ruhija sector because there are no direct flights from either Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Ruhija sector. These flights are operated by Aerolink and Kampala executive Aviation. Aerolink operates from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip with 2 flights daily and Kampala Executive Aviation from Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi airstrip daily.  Flying for gorilla trekking from all the four gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park is the best option for visitors with limited time in Uganda and those who do not like long time hours’ drives but wish to do gorilla trekking. The Chartered flights to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park should be booked in advance at least 3 days prior.

Aerolink Daily Flight Schedule To Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park 2021

From               To                       Depart                          Arrive

Entebbe           Kisoro                0700                            0810 See note

Kisoro             Entebbe              0825                            1125 (a, b & h)

NB; Timings may change depending on aircraft routing

From               To                        Depart                         Arrive

Entebbe           Kihihi                   0700                           0845 See note (h)

Kihihi              Entebbe                0945                           1125

Entebbe           Kihihi                   1015                           1125 See note (c)

Kihihi              Entebbe                1140                           1330

Entebbe           Kihihi                   1200                           1440 See note (e)

Kihihi              Entebbe                1445                           1615

Where to Stay in Ruhija Sector of Bwindi Forest National Park.

Ruhija sector has several accommodation facilities ranging from Lazy Camping Sites, Budget accommodation, Mid-range accommodation and up-market / Luxury accommodation facilities where you can spend a comfortable night stay; these include Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Ruhija Safari Lodge, Trekkers Tavern, Bakiga Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Cuckoo Land Tented Lodge, Gorilla Close up Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp, Agandi Lodge among others. All these lodges provide quality services and comfortable facilities such as en-suite bathrooms, restaurant which serves both local and international cuisines, well stocked bar with beers, wines, gins and other soft drinks, laundry services, fireplace, free Wi-Fi in public areas, gardens for relaxation. Most of the lodges owns spectacular views of the forest, made using locally made materials in an African style which gives them a real African architectural outlook.

Other activities to do in Ruhija sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

In Ruhija sector there are other several activities to do besides the adventurous gorilla trekking experience, these include; Guided forest nature walks, Bird watching tours and community tours which gives you a chance to fully explore Bwindi forest from different Angles and more wildlife species. These activities can be done before or after mountain gorilla trekking adventure.

Bird watching tour in Ruhija sector

For bird lovers, Ruhija sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a best place to spot several bird species. The sector is a home base to nearly 23 endemic bird species which include grey bush shrike, yellow streaked greenbul, starred robin, Turacos, hornbills, Dusky Crimson Wing and yellow-eyed black fly-catcher among others. This therefore, makes Ruhija sector to be a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) for its global conservation importance in Bwindi forest national park. For the best birding experience, we would advise you to bring binoculars for easy spotting. Our experienced guides will help you to spot several bird species and explain the unique features for each spotted bird species, which will make your birding experience indeed an unforgettable.

Ruhija community projects

One of the top things to do while in Ruhija sector of Bwindi forest national park is to visit and support community based projects owned and managed by local communities around the park. There are different community projects especially craft, bee keeping and basket weaving that have been established to support local livelihoods. These projects were established with the help funds received from tourism and they are key source of employment for local people some of whom are former porters. When you visit these projects, you are given a chance to take part in these activities to feel part of the community. These projects have been source of occupation for women and youth where they earn a livelihood to improve their standards of living without any negative impact on the environment and wildlife conservation efforts in the park.